I started to be aware of the breath when I was a child at 4 years old. My mother was gone forever, and my father was taking me to run trail tracks in the hills and mountains every weekend. These trail tracks are run by lots of people and meanwhile, my father likes just to walk and talk to his friends, he was pushing me to run and go by myself, following other groups of people till we will see each other again at the arrival line, which usually was in the center square of a village. During my time running, I found myself in a deep state of concentration where the only things existing were the sole of my feet, my breath, and my heartbeat.
My job with the brain was only to organize the rhythm of the sole of my feet with the breath, and the heartbeat, in order to not run out of power. Everything was following the rhythm finding the limits of my physical strength. I observe and directed the breath where was needed. In the ankles, knees, or hips if the limbs were starting to feel pain; or the inhalation was longer if I needed extra power from the lungs, and so on. The focus of my Attention was strictly inside the body for the run distance. Sometimes 5 kilometers but sometimes for 10 or more kilometers.
I run continuously almost every week till the age of 14 years old. I became a great runner. But I also became a great meditator and I was aware of the power of the breath.
The breath is the vehicle where prana, the life force, is traveling. In India, they say that with an injured or non-functional brain you are still alive, but with a body that is not breathing, then that is death! Indeed, the breath is the carrier of life (as a movement) and its powers.
Breath is wind, wind is mostly oxygen. Prana is stored in oxygen. Oxygen allows it to burn, generating heat and light. This light is responsible for the inner vision that allows us to see. The heat is the wave that carries the force of vibration into our cells, allowing them to wave and communicate and exchange with each other in order to heal and live with the fluidity of the rhythm of life.
The breath I experienced in that time, is a forced breath. Is a breath that is under the control of the brain-mind system. It is a healing breath, it is a restoring breath, and it is a wind that opens the channel of manifestation. With my breath, I can shape my body. I do not need to lift heavy weights to make my muscle stronger. I can practice inhaling and holding my breath in the part of my body that I needed (like the practice of QI-KUNG). Holding the prana there will expend the consciousness of love and energy and it will create a stronger and well-shaped muscle. So I can do the same for all the other parts of my body that needed healing, From organs to skin or bones.
So after running, sometimes for 18 kilometers, I could heal the pain in my muscle or joints much quicker than others. I could restore my energy in the body quickly by just controlling the inner breath and directing it wherever I needed it, in this case, the lungs. I cured my injuries (usually scratches or burns) very quickly, just in a few days instead of weeks.
The breath is the tool to direct our energy and control our thoughts, manifesting things. I could control also the rhythm of the heartbeats. paying attention to the heart muscle, I could Reduce the beats considerably. I was keeping less than 60 beats per minute when I was just resting or walking and going much lower when sitting still in meditation.
The proper technic of learning to control the breath and so the thoughts in the mind is called pranayama. This is a very strong technique of YOGA. I started to practice it around 20 years old when I start roaming the Himalayan mountains and climbing high to find a nice monastery where to sit and learn.
So the practice of “holding the breath" (pranayama), brings energy, love, healing, action, expansion of the force, or elimination of impurities into one’s life.
Meanwhile, the practice of learning concentration by observing the natural breath (as it comes and goes) is the vipassana meditation. This technique will bring you the awareness of mindfulness, taking you to a higher state of consciousness beyond the reality of this life. With this technique taught by the Lord Buddha, we can reach freedom from suffering, peace, and enlightenment. It all starts with learning concentration in the natural breath (anapana).
I enter the Buddhist temple in the north of Thailand at the age of 21 for the first time. After the first 10 days, I felt so enthusiastic but I also realized that I was still at the beginning of my inner journey, so I asked the abbot of the temple if I could stay longer and learn more. Of course, he was happy to hear that. So I stayed for 28 days (one cycle of the moon). Focusing the attention of the mind on the natural breath brings the agitated mind under control. My brain was always so fast, it wants to know everything and always asked for answers and reasons. That day I decided to enter the monastery because I had enough of the frenetic rush of my brain and thoughts. It was bringing me into a state of agitation and stress in searching for knowledge and the truth. But to know the truth the brain has to be put to stillness or quietness; its activity has to be reduced to almost complete zero! Completely relaxed basically: at sleep.
I remember very clearly that on the fifth day of vipassana meditation, I was feeling frustrated. Vipassana is a Nobel silence meditation and no one should speak during the retreat. But in those first days, I could hear people laughing, answering the phones, or chatting as if they were outside in the market, and of course, I was distracted and not finding silence inside my mind. So I reported to the abbot of the monastery asking quite angrily if there is a place in this temple where I can seat in silence! AHAHAHAHHA the abbot showed me a very good laugh.
At that moment the light of wisdom struck me!
Of course, was me that wanted to listen.
Of course, I was not diverting my attention to the inner silent breath, but to the voices and noises coming from outside.
Then I understood how the senses and external facts control our life instead of being me controlling my senses and my organ of senses. From that day I start to learn real observation of how the mind function. Again, everything starts with finding concentration in the breath, the natural wind that comes and goes in our body and mind. It brings awareness and knowledge of the Self, which is the source of our nature, which is a loving, kind, and conscious being.
written by Alex
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