Breathing is the rhythm of life. With our breath, we exchange energy with the universe. We open and receive, exhale and give. Our breath is the energetic exchange with the breath of the universe. This energetic exchange is the the foundation of life and the foundation of our qigong practice.
In order to optimize this exchange, this dance of breath, our bodies need to be relaxed. In Wisdom Healing Qigong, we don’t focus on the breath, we relax deeply by focusing into our bodies with movement. That intentional focus and relaxation causes our breath to flow more deeply and then breath naturally flows with the movement. When we add sound to the movement, such as the Haola chant (all is well and getting better!), our breath becomes even deeper, our lungs open up and sing with the dance of our slow moving connection with the universe.
Our breath is made possible by plant life on this earth. During photosynthesis, plants produce oxygen. Plants are the only source of oxygen in our atmosphere. Of course, I learned this in grammar school, but as I just read this again, I was flabbergasted, I never really appreciated this fact! Good golly! No wonder we love plants so much, that we give flowers as a sign of love and appreciation, that we marvel at autumn leaves and get lost in the hug of a tree. I will go forth from this moment to even more appreciate and thank and sing praises of our beautiful gardens, forests, meadows, grasslands, prairies, deserts and the streams and lakes and rain fall that provide the water for sustenance of plant life. How much I’ve taken for granted, no more!
So breathing is a give and take rhythm with our universe, a reciprocity with nature. We take in the oxygen that plants produce during their photosynthesis, and we breathe out carbon dioxide that plants use in their respiration. Nature provides the model for reciprocity in the biological process of breathing in and breathing out. The rhythm of the breath, found in every life form as well as in every larger community in which living beings participate, provides a powerful model for human decisions and actions in every arena of life. By copying the rhythm of the breath, humans can learn from the wisdom of nature’s economy to revolutionize our relationships with one another and with the larger-than-human world (Journal of Sustainability Education).
We too often think of ourselves as individual beings with our own thoughts, feelings, politics, struggles, challenges and loves. On a much deeper level, this reciprocity of breath with the universe connects us all intimately whether we like it or not. In these challenging political times, how do we use the reality of this oneness to work for the good of this planet and all life and energy herein? This is an essential question for our times. I suggest that to begin with, we revolutionize the relationship with our own heart, body and mind, contemplate our soul and spirit connection to the universe, the source energy, the energy field of love and go deeper into what we have in common with all life on this planet. From there, we can take action to protect this precious life and planet, that action originating from a place of love and connection deep within us. With each breath.