Continually and consciously find your balance. Tune into your body, your central nervous system and your emotional state throughout the day. Notice what is going on inside. Are you calm? Centered? Feeling peaceful? Or are you the opposite of those states? Why? Suggest to yourself that as you tune in that you also close your eyes for a moment or two. Breathe. Let go of what is currently on your mind and just be in the moment. Breathe deeply a few times. Notice how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Self care can be as simple as that to begin with. Just pause, breathe, and let go with a sigh. Simple.
The blog I intended to write this week is not this one. This blog is the result of a profound synchronicity that Jan and I experienced and that I feel is my responsibility to share. My intent is to present it as it occurred, leaving all interpretations to the mind and heart of the reader.
In recent months, someone had sent me the book, Breath, by James Nestor. Jan started to read it alone and then informed me that we should read it together because, as she said, “it is a book that will change our lives.” That suggestion caught my attention!
We read the book eagerly over a couple of week’s time. One chapter was particularly challenging, dealing with the potential health benefits of carbon dioxide retention via slow exhalation. Though I regularly practice breath retention, as prescribed by ancient pranayama techniques, as well as practices suggested by Jack Schwarz, I never connected its benefits as stemming from the retention of carbon dioxide in the body.
A major collaborator of James Nestor in the exploration of breath is the Swedish researcher, Anders Olsson. Both have spent more than ten years researching the effects of breathing on the human body.
Independent of my knowing, Jan researched Olsson’s website and discovered and purchased a pair of breathing devices called the Relaxator. She presented me with one. It looked like a plastic whistle or pacifier, and it cost $35! Needless to say, I was not impressed. Jan said, for the second time, “it’s going to change our lives!”
In spite of my doubts, I began to experiment with its protocol, which is to place the Relaxator in the mouth, breathe in deeply through the nose and then exhale slowly through the Relaxator, which constricts the breath and elongates the exhalation.
After the first 15-minute session I was deeply calmed and, yes, hooked! Jan and I have been deepening our practice ever since. During our last shared breathing session, I had the thought that when we finished we’d reread the chapter in Breath that dealt with carbon dioxide, to further grasp its action in the body, and then move on to an unrelated spiritual book, entitled Letters From The Afterlife, which we had been reading.
To backtrack a little, when we had previously finished reading Breath and pondered what to read next, Jan quickly breezed through our library and knew that Letters was the book we should read. She plucked it off the shelf and declared that we hadn’t read it yet. It’s part of our modest collection of Spiritualist books from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
Letters is a channelled book by Elsa Barker, published in 1915. The character she channelled was the prominent judge, spiritual seeker and noted author, James Patterson Hatch, whom Elsa had known while he was alive in human form. From his place on the other side of the veil, he made contact with Elsa and asked her to write Letters, which documents his discoveries of life after death, which he desired to share with humanity.
So, when Jan and I had completed our breathing session, instead of picking up Breath, as previously planned, I unthinkingly picked up Letters and opened to the next chapter to be read: Letter 31, A Change Of Focus. In this chapter, Judge Hatch quite abruptly describes a methodology to heighten one’s psychic powers by raising one’s vibration through the practice of breath retention! This discussion was completely out of context from all the letters we had previously read.
Judge Hatch states that he has met with yogis in India in meditation who are aware that the retention of the breath causes a buildup of a poison (obviously carbon dioxide) that acts upon one’s psychic nature, raising one’s vibration and psychic powers. He suggested that at the level of gross matter—the physical body—many illnesses are cured as well. Judge Hatch mused that for all the volumes published on Yoga, none of them had described the physiological roots of the retention practice.
Well, as I realized that I had picked up a book written in 1915 that out of nowhere answered the question I intended to receive from one published in 2020, I knew, in that moment, that Judge Hatch is a teacher still! Though living in the astral dimension beyond this world, he continues to be very much focused on supporting spiritual evolution in the modern world, through the use of an extremely practical method—the retention of breath, the very method that I had recently been learning about myself. I further realized that a trickster spirit had crafted an amazing set of circumstances to captivate my attention!
I feel a deeply grounded imperative to pass on Judge Hatch’s synchronistic affirmation of Anders Olsson’s research. Of course my intent here is not to prescribe or recommend the Relaxator. My intent is to share a most vibrant synchronicity and, for me, a clear interaction with a spirit seeking to benefit humankind.
Links are provided below to the works cited, in case one is interested in taking the journey of this synchronous happening for one’s self.
Synchronicity provides a meeting place for different soul dimensions, both within and outside the self. Anyone who might choose to engage in a practice with breathing should consult with their medical practitioners to obtain medical clearance. This blog is simply informational, not prescriptive.
Gratitude for the gift of Breath: The New Science Of A Lost Art. Love for all the souls engaged in this fantastic voyage of ever-evolving consciousness.
Foster kinship with nature, even if only in some small way. You need nature, most importantly in the air you breathe. Everyone breathes and shares the air equally, and air is a most important aspect of nature and human life. Think of all the creatures, human, animal, insect, amoeba that share the air of life with you. Be amazed that every particle you breathe has been passed along from one life to another, from the heavens to the Earth, from the birds in the sky to the babes in arms. Remain in awe of this most important element with every breath you take, and with gratitude thank nature and your fellow creatures for the pure ability to simply breathe.
Even somewhat polluted air is free, and it is Spirit. As Stan Grof, whose contributions I am currently immersed in, points out: in ancient Greek the word pneuma means both spirit and air. In Latin, spiritus means both breath and spirit. In Hebrew, ruach means both breath and creative spirit.
When we breathe we join our material, physical, animal body with our ephemeral spirit. Air is our ultimate soulmate. The simple act of breathing brings us communion with spirit.
The Christian Eucharist transfigures the materials of bread and wine into vehicles to merge with Spirit. It could certainly be argued that the effect of drinking wine and eating bread relaxes the tightened muscles in the body, allowing for an expansive breath and melding of social boundaries into greater oneness.
Wilhelm Reich’s greatest contribution to psychoanalysis was his concept of body armor, the tightened muscles of the body that house our traumas and vastly constrict the breath. In order to experience the fullness of release and spiritual wholeness of orgasm, one must discover what he called the orgasm reflex, which requires total freedom of breath and deep breathing to be activated.
Neuroscientists Daniel Siegel and Andrew Huberman stress the role of the breath for mental and physical health. Air reduces anxiety by simply binding with adrenalin and removing its effect upon the central nervous system. Mindful breathing calms an overly active spirited mind.
The shamans of ancient Mexico discovered the recapitulation breath, a bilateral movement of the head as one inhales to one side and exhales to the other. The benefits of bilateral movement to calm the amygdala and allow processing of traumatic experience was discovered in modern psychotherapy in the therapy of EMDR. In combination with the shamanic recapitulation breath, bilateral movement greatly enhances access to the innate holotropic healing potential activated at the subtle dimensions of our spirit being.
A seasoned practitioner of the recapitulation breath, used to activate a clinical soul retrieval, is my wife, Jan, whose journey is chronicled in her five-volume series The Recapitulation Diaries. I asked her to describe the details of her use of the breath for her dramatic holotropic healing.
Here’s what she said:
“I found the most benefit came when I did the recapitulation breath for an extended period of time. Often I would sit and breathe for over an hour, gently sweeping my head back and forth while sitting in a relaxed and supported pose, usually on my bed, with plenty of cushions to support my back. I found it suited me to have my eyes open, though many people keep their eyes closed. As I swept my head from side to side, breathing in and out, I kept my open eyes stationary in my head so that they too swept from side to side along with the movements of the head. This allowed for a softened gaze in which images appeared, memories that I could dive into and relive, seeing them as if they were movies playing before me, allowing me to process them and release them in whatever way I was ready for at the moment. I kept a journal beside me and was able to immediately jot down my experiences upon finishing the breathing pass. I suppose a phone, on ‘Record’, could also be used for this purpose, both during and after the experience, though I did not have that technology available to me at the time. My final breath was always a quick clearing breath, a swift sweeping of the head from side to side while holding my breath before releasing with a final, long exhale at the end of the session.”
Jack Schwarz introduced breathing patterns that give access to brainwave states associated with transpersonal dimensions of the psyche and promote the activation of holotropic healing. He emphasized allowing for deeper breathing through relaxing of the abdominal area, allowing for more air to enter the lungs.
Alpha brainwaves are reached by breathing in to a count of 8, holding for 8, and breathing out to a count of 8, followed by a holding of the breath for a count of 4 and then beginning again: 8-8-8-4. Theta brainwaves correspond to a 4-8-16-4 pattern. Delta corresponds to a 4-8-32-4 rhythm.
One should slowly work up to the longer held breath patterns and never push beyond what is comfortable. Simply breathing in and out with no holding restores the beta brainwave state of ordinary waking reality.
Accessing physical union with the spirit through the use of the breath is the essence of yoga with its pranayama breathing.
Air is indeed the ultimate miracle drug to promote the deepest healing and union of body and spirit. Most significantly, the fullness of breath opens us to the fullness of the physical life we are in, our deepest reason for being here, in this form, in this time.
Gently bring attention and intention to its healing balm. Become one with your airy soulmate.
When the mind revs with worry, slow it down with the breath, by focusing on breathing in and out deeply, by counting the breath, the holding time, and the exhalation. Give the mind a rest by refocusing it on something productive, for a mind that spins out of control is good for nothing. Let the spirit take over and bring you out of your spin and into a place of calmness, into peaceful oneness with nature, inside and out.