The breath comes in and the breath goes out, effortlessly. We don’t even notice. Yet, without it, we would cease to exist. It is the marker of our birth and initiation into life and when it leaves us, our journey in this lifetime is surmised as complete.
Whether we call it chi, prana, life force, vital force, or the breath, its function is the same: to carry us on our journey in life.
Among the things in life that we take for granted, this has to be at the top of the list universally. It’s like that song that’s always playing in the background in the elevator that you tune out, the traffic noises outside your window that you don’t even hear anymore, the constant chattering of that friend that you tune out selectively during your talks.
There are many things in life that we don’t notice until they are gone. If our breath was gone, we would be unable to notice anything of course. We would have literally run out of time.
Have you ever taken a moment to stop and pause and feel the breath? To really feel it pulsating throughout your body. To acknowledge that it is doing exactly what it needs to do without being told once. And it does not have to be checked, like your cholesterol or blood pressure. It tells you when you are overdoing it and when you need to take a break. It graciously allows you to hold it, so that you don’t inhale those not so pleasant fragrances in select areas.
Every breath truly is a great blessing; it is the reason for our existence. The ancient yogis, or sages, said that each of us is born with a finite number of breaths in this lifetime. When we reach that magic number, our number is up. How do we make the most of this precious gift? By being present, by acknowledging the great job that it performs and by aligning yourself completely with your breath, and making it your best friend. Ancient wisdom says that when we control the breath, we can control the mind and then provide some guidance to those niggling thoughts and laundry lists that often plague us and cause us great consternation. Certain Vedic texts are devoted to the study of the breath.
Easier said than done, but certainly not impossible. Not for the weak willed or for those who throw in the towel easily. We can start slowly and simply and see where the breath takes us in all situations in life. From the large to the small. The choices are limitless.
Even Vedic astrology does not rule out free will; it goes hand in hand with fate. You were fated to be born and fated to die; that is given. Your parents, siblings, hair color, etc. – that is not a matter of choice at birth. But you can choose where to live, what job to take, what food to eat, what clothes to wear, how to treat others, how to react to the world news, and how to utilize your breath.