How do we reconnect spiritually with our deepest selves? How do we get out of our heads and move past our relentless thinking? How can we find our hearts again when we’ve neglected them for so long? Your gut will tell you when you’ve over eaten, had too much to drink, or swallowed some virus that turns you inside out. Much the same way, I think many of us know when we’re screwed up spiritually. Sure our thoughts can pummel us relentlessly, but it’s the absence of a deep, inner peace that’s a telltale sign that we’re not finding what we need most.
“I’ve ignored my heart for so long,” someone said to me today, “that I don’t think I know how to find it again.”
The best way to begin is with the breath. Seriously. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Not just into your upper lungs so that your shoulders bunch up around your neck. But deep . . . into the lower reaches of your lungs. Your guts, entrails, bowels . . . feeling the life-giving breath fill you, then leave you again. It’s little wonder that the Hebrew word for spirit/Spirit is breath.
Breathing is a spiritual practice. If we’re not breathing well, chances are we’re not well—physically and spiritually.
There’s more to prayer than breathing. But without breathing, I can assure you, there’s no praying. When you breathe, you’re awakening your heart. You’re finding your center. And when you start praying from here, you’re coming alive spiritually again, and who knows what will happen then?