“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
In the above scripture the “breath of life” is associated with “living soul.” Scientifically we know that man needs oxygen in order for our cells to function properly. Without oxygen human cells die. But is there more to breath than simply keeping us alive? Can the breath connect us directly to God?
There are certain scriptures that seem to indicate a deeper mystery surrounding the concept of linking God to the breath. Job 33:4 refers to the “breath of life” as the “breath of the Almighty.” While mainstream religion has never associated the concept of the breath directly with God, the author of Job doesn’t take it for granted like most of us do every day.
Some esoteric circles believe that certain controlled breathing techniques—along with specific meditations and pronunciations—have the ability to induce altered states of consciousness where the observer can experience a union with God. These techniques have been closely guarded throughout the ages, but with modern technology and communications these secrets are slowly finding their way into esoteric books and internet sites. Even though I am sure most are frauds and very few of them are the real thing, I still believe it’s a subject worth pursuing further.
I recently read a book called, Kabbalah: The Way of the Jewish Mystic, by Perle Epstein. Epstein revealed that the Bible just doesn’t hint at the fact God and the breath are connected, but that the Bible actually proclaims it once the language is decoded. In one instance Epstein quotes Rabbi Simeon who said, “By learning and practicing the secrets inherit in the breath, Solomon could lift nature’s physical veil from created things and see the spirit within.” Epstein then goes on to say, “What is usually translated in Ecclesiates as “vanity” (hebli) may therefore be read esoterically as: “I have seen all things in the days of my breath, hebel.”
In other words, Epstein believes Solomon experienced mysteries beyond physical realm through controlled breathing. That sentence stopped me in my tracks. If it’s true, that’s a very important nugget of esoteric wisdom indeed. I decided to look into the Hebrew word for vanity a little further.
In Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word “Hehbel” means emptiness. It also means transitory. But Blue Letter Bible associates Hehbel with “breath,” and “vapor.”
Isaiah 57:13 supports this conclusion as it states:
“When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them away; vanity shall take them…”
The original writer of Isaiah certainly seemed to associate the Hebrew word that we translate as “vanity” with what we would also take to mean “breath.”
I also found it very interesting that Gaskell’s Dictionary of Scripture and Myth defines “breath” as:
A symbol of the mental interpretation of Spirit, or the expression of the Divine on the mental plane.
With that being said, read what Epstein continues to say on the subject of breath below:
“In some as yet undisclosed way, Rabbi Simeon taught Solomon’s technique of directing attention to the white matter of the brain while altering normal breathing patterns. Insisting that union between man and God “is best effected on earth” through the vehicle of the breath, he likened the mystery of breathing to the sacred Shema, the daily declaration of God’s unity with His Name…Visualizing the three highest attributes on the tree (Crown, Wisdom, and Understanding) as he recites the declaration, the Kabbalist makes of his own breath a channel for the divine influx.”
If we believe this is possible, then we are forced to admit that union with God happens through an altered state of consciousness. We are also forced to admit that God is not really “outside” of us as mainstream religion would have us believe. Rather, God is truly “within” us and we reach him through altering consciousness to see and experience what is possible beyond the physical world we experience every day.
I wanted to do a short blog post to point all this out before continuing with our next post on Revelations. Since our Revelation series concentrates on the power of God within the human body (the chakras, endocrine glands, and spine, etc.) the importance of breathing needed to be discussed at some point.
Some of my readers are already experienced meditators. Experienced meditators also know how important breathing is in the act of meditation. Perhaps now we can realize that the Bible has taught this all along too!
I encourage all my readers to look more closely at the breath while meditating. Obviously it’s an important part of the puzzle when going within the kingdom of God.