the base of everything, my entire philosophy of life and death, one that encompasses everything between heaven and earth, is the breath.
there are 4 parts of the body that exist in the foundation of a breath:
- the nose
- the mouth
- the chest
- the stomach
most people are not aware of their breath, and when they do, they find it abhorrent. this is a shame, for one singular good breath can in an instant create equanimity anytime you so desire.
a good, foundational breath, inhales from the nose, stores it in the stomach, and then exhaled through the mouth, no interaction with the chest. this is very different from how people breathe normally, which is either nose to chest to nose or you replace the nose with mouth, very rarely do people utilize the stomach in their breath.
once the foundational breath have been done, you can then flow it towards your body in many ways. what is it? i guess you can call it chi, or energy. it’s a bodily felt sensation. i’ve found that there are three main categories of flow:
- steep: flow it like water is slowly filling a container. breathe in as much as possible, hold it in your stomach. imagine yourself like an empty container, and let it move from your stomach across your body in a radial pattern. do not force it to go anywhere, do not desire it to flow anywhere, all you want to do is to let the container be slowly filled with it. notice the way your body contain it, feel the folds, the heat, the vibration, the shape, and how the different part feels in relation to one another. move your awareness of the sensation from one spot to another, making sure to move it slowly enough that it would not disturb the serenity of it as it steep across your body.
- stream: flow it like a raging river through your body. breathe in, feel the sensation as it enters your nostrils and inside of your head, down your neck, and when you place it in your stomach. during the way in, make sure to feel not just the air but the surrounding muscles, the muscles in your cheeks, the back of your skull, the collarbone. in your stomach, pull it up toward your chest and split it into two. imagine it flowing through your body through your muscles, like light flowing through optic cables. feel the sensation of your muscles vibrating, untense them, let the energy flow unfettered through them. flow it to your shoulders, down the arm, to the elbows, to the back of your hands, through each fingers in one sweeping motion, and then back the way it comes stopping near the armpits. feel the way your muscles tenses and flutter as it moves through them. flow it down the side of your stomach, down the legs, to the shins, to your toes, before flowing it back up to your stomach, ready to be exhaled. feel the slight movement in the hair down your legs that connects you to the air around you, let the soles of your foot hug what it stands on more than it uses to.
- strike: flow it in relation to movement. an exhale movement rather than inhale. imagine where where you want your movement to end in space, and in one swell motion flow it through the corresponding muscles that create said motion while doing a quick exhale. this is a common technique in martial arts like taekwondo (??) and karate (??).
when i talk about meditation, i very rarely think of the “sitting down letting things flow through my mind” kind of meditation. when i think meditation, i think about steep, stream, and strike flows. steep i do while staying still, be it while sitting in the meditation stance or while standing still. my post about Sitting Meditation is an example of me doing that. stream is a soft movement meditation, which i usually attribute to expressive dancing that flows, or tai chi. i don’t actually know tai chi, i just follow the general principles that i intuit from watching my dad do it since i was young. strike is the rarest of the bunch, but one i used to do a lot back when i still did technique based martial arts, be it taekwondo or kung fu. these days it’s mostly represented in a moment collapsing movement where a single strike is used to set the attention to a single point of time and space. like a a good, loud clap
[space reserved for future expansion of breath]