We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Hebrews 6:19 (TPT)
The Essence of Life – The Practice Series – Part 5
A practice that I’ve adopted lately, that's honestly changed my life has to do with breathing. Most days, I take ten minutes to sit or lie down, and I practice breathing in through my nose, deep into my belly, holding it for a couple of seconds, and then exhaling it all out through my mouth.
I know. It sounds weird. Can practicing breathing really change someone's life?
Specialists say we only need to breathe 4 to 5 times per minute to get enough energy and oxygen through our bodies. However, most of us breathe up to 26 times a minute (26,000 breaths a day on average!). Puffed, rushed, stressed, anxious, worried, afraid, pre-occupied, going, going, going… we’re too busy to stop and take a breath, to breathe our life in. And then, breathe it back out again.
We should be able to get 90% of the energy our bodies need from deep breathing, but most of us breathe too shallowly, expelling much of its goodness before it’s had time to work its divine wonders into our oxygen-starved bodies. We talk fast, eat fast, work fast, play fast, sleep fast… too fast. We miss out on the goodness of that breath in our bodies in more ways than one.
What’s the number one thing you’re told to do when you have a panic attack? When you’re anxious? Afraid?
Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself.”
The word ‘soul’ in this passage means “breath, the essence of life.”
The Ancients called God, ‘Lord.’ When we write the name in English, we write ‘L-O-R-D.’ But in ancient Hebrew, they wrote ‘Y-H-V-H.’ In many ancient traditions, people wouldn’t say the name of God out loud: it was/is too sacred and holy to voice. ‘YHVH’ means “the source of being and the essence of being itself.”
The Genesis story tells us that Adam laid lifeless, just a pile of dust and blood and bone until YHVH breathed his essence into him; filled his blood with oxygen, expanded his lungs for the first time, fired up his brain and shook his heart into its first beat. He became the carrier of the breath of God – the essence of the divine. We are dust buckets filled with the Divine: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels…” (2 Cor 4:7).
You pronounce the letters of Y-H-V-H singularly (Hod-Hey-Vav-Hey), and when you say them as they traditionally sound, it sounds like breathing in and out. The essence of ‘YHVH’ fills us all, from the day we take our first breath (Hod-Hey-Vav-Hey) until the day we spend our last (Hod-Hey-Vav-Hey).
John says that in the beginning, Jesus was there. Just as his breath filled Adam, his spirit ignites our bodies and gives us life. He has always been here, drawing us to himself, permeating the world with his breath, connecting us all to each other.
Not by might, nor by power… but by his spirit.
It’s just like God to take something that goes so easily unnoticed and make it holy, powerful, and the connecting fabric between us all.
My daily practice is this: I breathe deeply, and as I do, I imagine that I’m not just breathing for the sake of my body, but for my spirit, too. I breathe in the essence of life; spirit. It circulates through my blood, bringing wholeness and energy, and as it finishes its course, it skims up what muck it can and leaves my body through a mighty and deliberate exhale.
It’s not magic, it’s not a quick fix. It’s a practice. A daily discipline. Christ in me, this dust bucket, this earthen vessel; The hope of Glory.
Breathe him in
Join me in my practice today. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit. Relax your body, and close your eyes. Inhale through your nose and fill your belly first with air. When it seems full, move to your breath to your chest, and then finally your shoulders. Hold your breath for as long as is comfortable (a few seconds), and exhale through your mouth. Make that exhale loud and pushy. Repeat as many times as you want.
Written by Liz Milani. Find me:
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