Hello Humanity – We Need to Talk About Your Breath

Hello humanity, we need to talk about your breath. I know it’s a touchy subject and I’m not trying to embarrass you, in fact, I wouldn’t mention it at all unless I felt it was super important. This is the type of thing that only a true friend would bring up, so here goes.

For a long while now I have noticed how you breathe. At times it’s heavy, at times racy, at times calm, but the majority of the time it changes in reaction to what is going on around you. You watch a scary movie and it races, you push yourself on the sports field and it gets heavy, you sit with a mantra and it changes again.

Your breath is a precious gift, it is the stuff of life, quite literally, yet you allow the world to dictate its pace and rhythm. This is super significant because it is usually something that goes unnoticed for much of the day but has a dramatic effect on how you experience that day.

Have you noticed that you can’t change your emotional state without changing your breath first? Try it – think of something joyful and notice your breath, then think of something sad and feel if it changes.

People seem to be affected by the world in different ways but the impact on our breath appears to be similar. Most people breathe in reaction to the world.

But it stands to reason that if our breath can be changed by our experience of the world around us, then changing our breath may well change how we experience the world. Crazy concept I know, but it’s something worth exploring.

The word meditation comes up a lot at the moment, with people looking for another way of being with themselves and life. Yet there are so many meditation techniques around that don’t return the breath to you but rather continue the model of changing your breath based on what is around you… You can listen to tinkling music or do a guided journey to help calm you. These ‘seem’ to work and you may feel better compared to how you felt before you sat down to meditate, but aren’t they simply following the model of getting you to respond to a different external stimulus?

I know you’ve grown pretty attached to a few of those techniques, but is there a difference between something that makes you feel better and something that helps you feel you?

The secret is to start as you intend to finish. If the trigger for that connection is something outside you, then the power remains outside you. If the focus for that connection is within you, then the power remains with you. It is that inner focus where the most significant distinction lives. We can try to still the mind by focussing on the mind, or we can still the mind by bringing its focus in line with the movement of the body. If we are focussing solely on our mind, we are not truly bringing more presence to our lives. The mind is fed information from the body, so the true source of awareness and point of presence is the body.

Your breath is precious and how you choose to breathe can have a huge effect on your inner quality, so this is not trying to discourage you in any way: I am just checking in to see if what you are trying is really working.

In my experience of meditation, it doesn’t need to take that long to be meaningful. It simply needs to come from you and connect you to you. The real benefit of meditation is not how long you can sit in meditation, but the degree to which you can live that level of connection in real life.

Connecting you back to you needs to start with something that connects you back to you.

The Gentle Breath Meditation™ has been something that I have found supports my connection to me. It looks and sounds like other meditations but the reality is that it is vastly different.

We can talk later about why it might be different, if you want to know more, but for now, listen to these free Gentle Breath Meditation™ audios and see how you go.

5 – 10 minutes a day is all you need. I would suggest trying it for a week to see what you notice.

By Joel Levin

Related Reading:
Gentle Breath Meditation in Daily Life
Our Breath as a Tool of Connection
Living is as Easy as Breathing

507 thoughts on “Hello Humanity – We Need to Talk About Your Breath

  1. ‘The real benefit of meditation is not how long you can sit in meditation, but the degree to which you can live that level of connection in real life’. Beautifully said Joel.

  2. “…… is there a difference between something that makes you feel better and something that helps you feel you?…” I would say yes, there most definately is a difference. When we do something to make us feel better we have to go outside of oursleves to get it and it does not last, but when we do somehting that helps us feel ourselves, we literally get to feel it for ourseves and there can be no denying what we feel. Therefore we have a marker in our bodies that we can refer to if and when we do lose that connection with our innermost.

  3. ‘is there a difference between something that makes you feel better and something that helps you feel you’ This is key Joel as the world is filled with options to feel better but as it never lasts we become like junkies, always craving for the next feel better moments, adding more and more until we find a state in which we can say ‘i am ok now’. Only this state is infinitely fragile and dependent on everything outside of us. If we breathe our own breath and come to our our own, we will feel the ultimate full-filment.

  4. There is so much to appreciate about our bodies and how they keep working for us to the best of their abilities regardless of what we do to them and what we expect them to do for us. So something as simple as the Gentle Breath Meditation can be hugely beneficial to everyone as it offers the opportuntiy to stop and appreciate the amazingness that we all have at our fingertips.

  5. Incredible piece of wisdom shared Joel. If we hold all wisdom within, then connecting to such wisdom is the only movement to be in.

  6. I love this Joel because of how beholding you are of us, i.e. humanity. Agree, we do need to talk about our breath because it is so foundational for everything we are and do.

  7. A powerful instrument to get to know your breath and feel what other breathe you have been taken in your life away from your actually breath. Very interesting exploring. And an enrichment to come back to your breath.

  8. We are so used to carrying tensions in life that it is an adjustment to live without them and when we genuinely do not have them we will often re-create them as there is a perception that life is supposed to be challenging when it truth it doesn’t need to be.

  9. I have introduced the Gentle Breath Meditation to a group of elderly people recently, and they have all been amazed at how relaxed they feel, even after a short time. The simple breathing technique is so much more than just that, as it offers us an opportunity to really stop and connect deeply with our own bodies, and consequently feel how utterley lovely this is. Something that most of us rarely do in these current times, as our lives are so ‘busy’.

  10. I have tried many meditations over the course of my life with many leading me down winding paths in many different directions but the one path they didn’t lead me down was the one back to me. This was the difference I experienced during my first Gentle Breath Meditation. It reconnected me to me with a few gentle breaths and that felt like the most beautiful homecoming. Those first five minutes of this very simple and practical meditation were the valuable stepping stones to making some incredibly healing changes in my life.

  11. “The Gentle Breath Meditation™ has been something that I have found supports my connection to me. It looks and sounds like other meditations but the reality is that it is vastly different.” This has been my experience as well Joel, in that I have never felt so deeply connected to my body with any other ‘breathing technique’ than I have when doing the Gentle Breath Meditation. And the beautiful thing is that we can connect to it in a moment, and needs nothing other that our own willingness to make a choice to connect to our own breath.

  12. “The real benefit of meditation is not how long you can sit in meditation, but the degree to which you can live that level of connection in real life.” What a contrast to what we have been led to believe meditation to be about. Far from the idea of removing ourselves from life for a certain amount of time, true meditation supports us to live that level of connection we find within ourselves as much as possible.

  13. I love the playfulness in this – on such a topic that is actually life changing. Yet because our bodies will do all they can to breath and will do it whether we like it or not – do we ever really pay attention to what we are breathing in and out?

  14. Well said Joel. This is the theme that we keep coming back to in the Voice workshops… asking people to let go of the old experiences of breath meditation and to feel something that opens the door to ‘ feeling you’ as you say.

  15. “But it stands to reason that if our breath can be changed by our experience of the world around us, then changing our breath may well change how we experience the world.“ This is in my experience very much the case, when I feel overwhelmed often I am not aware of my breath. When I then do and breath consciously more gentle the overwhelm fades away.

  16. Humanity has bad breath because we spend way too much time in motion (the out-breath of God) and nowhere near enough time in Stillness (the in-breath of God). By not living in a way that honours both expressions equally (the motion and the repose), we upset the natural balance and order of things and thus create a way of life that is way out of sync with the ‘breath that breathed us forth’, i.e. the flow of life and the rhythm of the Universe. To compound this situation further the vast majority of us are not ‘breathing our own breath’ but instead are taking in great lungfulls of poison simply by absorbing other people’s emotions, problems etc. which only serves to throw the equation even more out of whack. This line bears repeating: “Most people breathe in reaction to the world.”

  17. It really is worth trying the Gentle Breath Meditation to see how it can change the connection we have with ourselves or even establishing one if we don’t already. I had never really taken much notice of my breath unless I was short of it, but now having been made aware of it we can turn any activity into meditation just by being aware of our gentle breath while we do it.

  18. “But it stands to reason that if our breath can be changed by our experience of the world around us, then changing our breath may well change how we experience the world.” I can vouch for this as I have been exploring this over a few years now. When I find myself being challenged, i remind myself to return to my own natural rhythm of breath. It is super simple yet I keep forgetting it as well. A loving work in progress. But one I continue as when I breathe my own breath, and not the one of a situation, I feel much more steadier and able to deal with what is in front on me.

  19. I love how you describe the preciousness of the breath, it know when I pay attention to my breath and how delicate it actually is it reminds me there’s a beauty to life so much greater than just what we can see.

      1. Yeh we tend to forget our breath is such an amazing tool that we have at our fingertips every moment of the day.

      1. So true Meg, it allows us to bring a Livingness to our lives that is extraordinary. And lets not forget the man on the moon who would also benefit from a deepening stillness that can be obtained from the “The Gentle Breath Meditation.”

  20. I love this Joel it is so cute but tackling a very important aspect of life, we settle for function rather than the preciousness of life as it could be.

    1. There is no such thing as ‘hell’ but a life lived in function without coming anywhere near the full magnitude of who we are and what we are capable of when we connect with our Soul, comes pretty close.

      1. Well said Liane and since earth is the only place in the Universe where we live less then the full magnitude of who we are and where we come from one could say we are in a kind of hell and so we need to ‘get the hell out of here’.

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