· How many of you breathe? I mean, really breathe? Do you even know what I mean? How many of you are suddenly aware of your chest filling up with air right now?
Western People do not breathe, at least, we do not breathe well. We take more breaths than any other country in the world. Western cultures (i.e. North America) have adults that can average up to 20 breaths a minute. In Asia, an average adult would take a maxim of 8 breaths a minute. We are sucking in these shallow, short, hyperventilated breaths all the time.
Take a minute to just become aware of how you are breathing. Listen to yourself inhaling in and out. How deep do those breaths sink into your lungs? Does your belly poke out when you do it? Now try to take some intentional breathes the way we were created to take them. Slowly inhale through your nose or mouth and feel your diaphragm filling up with air until it pokes out some. Now keep pulling in hair until you feel the pressure of your lungs fill up all the way to the top. Hold it a second and just feel the presence of that oxygen pushing into your body. Now release.
The key to this is probably tied to the fact that taking in long, deep breaths immediately is able to reduce stress and stress will kill you. Nothing will destroy you faster than stress. Breathing conquers stress.
When we are babies, before we've been nurtured or natured into our breathing sequence now, we laid there and inhaled and exhaled while our entire belly rose and fell. This is how we are meant to breathe. Don't be discouraged though. If you are a shallow, top of the lungs breather, there is hope. All behaviors can be changed with a little practice. The first step is becoming aware. So be aware of how you are breathing and take back that control.
It all started in the begging of our Bibles. God made Adam and Eve (man and woman) in Genesis 2: 6-7. It said this, "Then the Lord God formed the man of the dust from the ground and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."
What connected us to the creator who created us in his over own image and gives us our very life is HIS BREATH. It is breath that connects us continually to our father and breath that gives us life.
In the Old Testament the word for Holy Spirit is called "Ruach". English Bible translators stopped at that but in Hebrew the word Ruach also means "Breath", "Life", "air in motion". Passing God's spirit in the OT was the same as breathing into someone. There are stories of prophets healing people by breathing into their lungs. Breath is God.
In the New Testament the word for "Spirit" is "Pneuma" ( pronounced "nooma"). Pneuma means "a current of air" and "breath." It says that when the Holy Spirit descended on the Disciples during Pentecost it was like a great wind was blowing among them. This breath of God filled them with his very Spirit.
The Ancient Holy men of the Old Testament said that it was blasphemous to utter the name of the Lord. His name was "Yeweh". In Hebrew the syllables for Yeweh are Yod...Hey...Vav...Hey. Try to say those words over and over. You are literally breathing them in and out. The fact is that these syllables are not meant to be spoken at all because they are breaths. It was not just against the rules to say the name of God but you couldn't say it because you had to breathe it.
With each breath that you take you are literally declaring the name of the Lord. Your very breath is a declaration of God!
Awareness if the first step. Breathe.
If you'd like to learn more about God's breath in you, check out this Nooma Video by Rob Bell. It inspired this post.