Stop what you are doing . . .
. . . take a deep breath . . .
. . . hold it . . .
. . . and let it out . . .
. . . do it again, but this time from your gut—inhale through your stomach and upwards into your lungs watching the expansion of both . . . hold it . . . and slowly release . . .
. . . and one more time . . .
“From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
The foot note in The Passion Translation says this:
“Or ‘God is breath,’ or ‘God is wind.’ Jesus refers to ‘Spirit’ more than one hundred times in the four Gospels.”
Have you ever really listened to the sound leaves make as they are rustled by the wind? Yesterday was a breezy day and as I was walking, I stopped and listened to the hypnotic swaying of a tremendously tall fir tree. In awe, I worshiped with her.
After that experience and reading the above scripture this morning, my thoughts became enchanted with the many activities where breathe or breathing is so significant.
I know, I know . . . breathing is important to everything . . . it is life or death; and yet there are certain tasks, pursuits, or pastimes that require deliberate breathing skills like opera singers. One does not need to like operatic music to appreciate the control of one’s breath these musicians wield with seeming ease.
Or how about athletes? In particular I was thinking about soccer players, swimmers and runners—sprinters and marathoners. To be honest I am sitting here shaking my head in amazement at how easy they make it look especially when simple tasks around the house can sometimes get me winded.
Phrases like “out of breath” or “I need to catch my breath” or “you take my breath away” express this apparent control or lack thereof over one’s breathing.
Breathing . . . something so salient to life and yet so often taken for granted.
Due to the pandemic, one of the common themes of social media is that we are all in this together. Social distancing, shelter in place, stay at home . . . God seems to be using this global epidemic to remind us, as Jesus did with his disciples in the verse above, that what is true and right is the condition and connection of our Hearts.
One way to remember this appears to be through the profound simplicity of breathing meditatively.
Hafiz says it this way:
“I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through, listen to the music.”