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Living from the Whole of Ourselves: An Excerpt from the Introduction to “Free Your Breath, Free Your Life”

January 26, 2010

Free Your Breath, Free your Life

Free Your Breath, Free your Life

At its heart, Free Your Breath, Free Your Life is about inner exploration, discovery, and transformation through the breath of life itself. Many of us today feel like we’re suffocating, like we just don’t have enough time, space, and energy to live in a way that would make us truly happy. We often feel ourselves distracted and pulled in many directions, unable to move toward or from our own center, and unable to relate fully and freely with others. We also frequently find ourselves holding our breath in the ever-increasing stressful circumstances of our lives or breathing in fast, irregular, and restricted ways. This is no small problem. Over time, such breathing reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the cells of our brain and body. A chronic reduction of oxygen is not only instrumental in many diseases, but it also reduces our capacity to sense, feel, think, and act in clear, sensitive, and effective ways.

The way we breathe, of course, is often a revealing metaphor for our willingness or ability to experience what is actually going on inside ourselves and to move freely through and within our lives and ourselves. For some of us, for example, our restricted, superficial breathing is our unconscious way of suppressing our emotions, of feeling less. Opening up the restrictions in our breathing can help us open up the experiential spaces of our own minds and bodies and learn how to live in the full expanse of the present moment. It is in the spacious reality of the present moment that real exploration, healing, and wholeness can take place.

To live from more of the whole of ourselves is only possible, I believe, when we can fully exhale, when we can let go of everything that is truly unnecessary in our lives. We’re not just talking about a physical act here; we’re also talking about a psychological and spiritual one as well. Can I let go, moment-by-moment, of my narrow, illusory self-image and all the unnecessary muscular tensions and contractions that arise from it? Can I let go moment-by-moment of all the unnecessary and fictitious things, both big and small, that I get attached to and identify with, so that I can receive new, more honest and complete impressions and perceptions of myself and others? Can I live and relate from my wholeness right now instead of from my assumptions, opinions, and judgments based on past experiences and future expectations?

This is what the process of health, healing, and self-transformation is really all about—the inner space and freedom to explore, to be, and to appreciate who or what I already am in my essence. The way we breathe, the way we participate day-by-day in the breath of life—the boundless life force that animates and connects us all—can play a vital role in this intimate exploration.

Copyright 2004-10 by Dennis Lewis.

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