Death + Breath.
Many people are afraid of death and some say it’s the ultimate fear. While in some cultures around the world, it’s revered as a liberating part of life.
When I went deep into my Pranayama trainings, death meditations were a prominent part. Your breath can set you free in so many ways but if you aren’t prepared to breathe your very last breath, than moksha or nirvana will never be attainable.
I’ve watched 5 of my loved ones take their final breath.
For most, it’s a terrifying experience. But for a select few, it can be the moment they’ve waited for all their life.
This is not a post about romanticizing death.
This is a post about removing the common denial about death and to prepare you for it so that you may live your current life to the absolute fullest.
It’s said that we live our lives between two breaths. Our very first inhale and our everlasting final exhale.
Many of our behaviors can be directly linked to fear. We’re inclined to protect ourselves at all costs. Blocking our face and head first from injuries. Building boundaries around our headspace, heart and soul.
Denying death allows many of us to rid ourselves of the fear of eventually facing a definite moment.
I learned a long time ago that heartbreak has a unique way of showing you the brightest beauties in life. There’s a direct correlation between how much Love you’re able to feel and how much agony you’ve been through.
Now as much as I wish that wasn’t true and that each and every one of us is capable of the same amount of bliss in life. In my personal experience and understanding, it’s not.
The more pain I experience, the more Love I’ve been able to feel. And this is why it’s so important to lean into the reality that you will die one day.
You have to be willing to feel the far polarity of heartbreak in order to appreciate the magnificent state of happiness. And this is the same with life and death, living and dying.
If when you meet your final breath, you tighten your body and cloud your last thoughts with fear, regret and denial, than how can you say you lived your life to the fullest?
A wonderful quote by Dylan Thomas to argue this is, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a fighter. But here I read (now after a lot of close and personal encounters with death,) that “rage” is passion. It’s a fire of purpose and meaning.
For me, emotions like fear and excitement, Love and grief, anger and satisfaction, all lie along the same line. Just as musical notes can be amplified or reduced in pitch, so is the same with our thoughts, feelings and energy.
In order to live your very best life, you have to be willing and able to Love every single moment of it. From the good to the bad and the first to the last.
The best life one could live would be in a perpetual state of appreciation.
I know there are millions of moments around the world and throughout history that we feel like we could never be grateful for. Infinite amount of times and ways that suffering has injured us.
But think about how you feel when you have a moment of permeating gratitude for your present existence. A moment that makes all of the rest of your life worth living.
It is here, in our dying moment, that if we can look back on the entirety of our life and glean with gratitude, we’ll have made the best of it.
To do that, we must first rid ourselves of our ego. Not to say get rid of it forever, ’cause we need it to operate in modern, daily life. But to completely strip yourself of it in certain moments so that you can feel and know what it’s like to be without it. To see who you really are underneath it all.
And this is where the breath comes in. Because the very first thing you did when you came into existence was to take a breath in and the very last thing you’ll ever consciously do is release a breath out, your breath is the bridge of life and death.
It’s not only of physical life and death either. It’s emotional, mental, spiritual and energetic. Like laughing and crying, which many people dismiss as breathing techniques, they often accompany many beginnings and endings.
Using your inhalation to bring you in life and your exhalation to relinquish it, you can use phases and patterns of breathing to release your identity and ego in order to find your purpose and ultimate pleasure in this world.
You should first start emptying your entire body of breath. Right now, blow it all out. And then hold it out. Don’t breathe. Keep holding . . .
. . .
. . . Pause here, until you can no longer hold your breath out.
. . .
How’s it feel to breathe in?
. . .
Now hold it in.
. . .
And when you do finally exhale, do it as slooowly as possible.
If you were to breathe consciously for an hour, you’d have a more cognizant connection to your autonomic nervous system.
After hours, days, months and years of a disciplined breath practice, you can reprogram your ability to not emotionally overreact or mentally breakdown. You can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and you can optimize your physical performance in both sports and daily life.
Finally, in some magical moments, you can use your breath to access deeper layers of your subconscious and find the ability to view your existence objectively. Once you’re able to connect to who you are without it being in relation to your name, job, relationships, sex, age, past, future, parents, country, skills or hobbies, you can find out how incredible it is to be living.
Simply being alive.
Even disconnecting from the fact of being a human-being and just connecting with purely being conscious.
When you connect to the very essence of your life, which is directly associated to your breath, you “get it.” It’s a moment where everything makes sense. And where you Love it all in complete bliss.
What I’m trying to share here is that every single moment in your life as you’re taking a breath, is a moment to live your best life. And that preparing for the final breath of your life, can really give you the power to live more freely and fully in each and every moment.
If you want to learn more about the theory, technique and philosophy of 60 breathing techniques, and how to use your breath to shed your identity and breathe your best life, make sure you check out Breath Technique Training.