This week we are going to go more fully into the rhythm of breath, and the connection with the Great Breath – the ebb and flow of the life force.
The following is an extract from ‘Understanding the Chakras’ by Peter Rendel.
The keynote of the breath is flow, and the rhythm of breath in the human system is one of rising and falling of the energies. The fact seems to be seldom fully realised that with the in-breath the energy is drawn upwards to the higher chakras, whilst with the out-breath the energies flow downwards into the world of the sense. Thus, in the literal sense, in-breath is aspiration, which takes us upwards into the realm of spirit, and out-breath takes us downwards into matter.
The relative lengths of the in- and out-breaths and the intermediate periods of retention – both in and out – are of great importance. It is possible to gradually lengthen the period of retention of the breath and this has a spiritualizing effect on one’s consciousness. Conversely lengthening the period during which the breath is held out produces the opposite effect.
RETENTION is the ‘space between’ – ‘It’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger’ as they say in Zen, and – as Wayne Dyer points out – ‘It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music.’ Remember in magnetism – it’s the space between the two polarities that is creation: the third power.
Think of what happens when one experiences a sense of wonder at some breathtakingly beautiful scene – you give an upward sigh. A downward sigh reflects a feeling of lethargy as in yawning when one’s energies are flowing downwards.
In meditation we slowly take in breath and hold it for longer periods – we are aspiring to reach upwards to our Higher Self. But in making physical effort, which involves bringing energy into manifestation on the down impulse, we take a deep in-breath, when the lungs are full the effort itself should be made on the out-breath.
Isn’t it wonderful how we do all these things without really THINKING about WHAT we are doing and WHY! To become AWARE of WHAT and WHY allows us to use our energies to their full potential. Breath is life and the amount of breath which we can take in is vitally important. Generally, slow breathing will be deeper breathing, and fast breathing tends to be shallow. Many Yogis measure the length of life not by the number of years lived, but by the number of breaths taken!
So long as the breath is ebbing and flowing we are living in the world of polarities – the world of form. The ultimate step in control is when the breath is suspended altogether and one leaves the world of form and withdraws into the spiritual realm, the universal consciousness. Only the adept can withdraw completely in this way.
Withdrawal, however, is very much a matter of degree. IT IS THROUGH THE SAME GATEWAY that one passes in sleep, death, or deep meditation, but only the degree of withdrawal is different. In deep meditation one is consciously doing, or attempting to do, what most people do more or less involuntarily in sleep and death. One is withdrawing to that level within, where one renews oneself at the eternal fountain of life – one’s own spiritual source. This process too is a matter of degree according to proficiency. The adept who has learned to control his breath or life force at all levels is able to suspend it and withdraw from his body - but without abandoning it. He is also able to return to it again when he needs to. By CONSCIOUSLY dying at the necessary times in order to renew himself he avoids the need to
die involuntarily in the common way.
Plan A! Thus AVOIDING Plan B!
Such an adept might require a long life span extending perhaps over several centuries in order to complete some important work for the evolution of humanity. Therefore he would retain the same body during that period by renewing himself in this way. Such an adept would at the end of a life cycle dematerialize his body when his work on that level was completed (the TRUE reincarnation of a Perfected Being).
The length of one’s life is really proportionate to the soul or higher self’s motive for living. When this soul has exhausted its purpose it withdraws having used up its downward impulse. A high sense of purpose is derived from spirit and so when its purpose is exhausted it must renew itself in spirit by withdrawal. All life manifests in cycles. Each in- and out-breath, each day and night of waking and sleeping, each life and death in a body, these are all the same principle, but operating at a larger or smaller scale. They are all the periodic or cyclic law operating as life vibrates between its poles.
THE GREAT BREATH
In the widest sense one speaks of the great breath as being the ebb and flow of the life force between the polarities in the universal system. In fact there is a correspondence between the human or microcosmic energy system and the universal or macrocosmic energy system. One is a reflection of the other – ‘as above so below’.
The Universal or great breath includes the movements of the planets and heavenly bodies in their periodic cycles, and the signs of the zodiac, and the seasons. The human breath similarly has its cycles and periodic flows. The activities of the chakras correspond to planetary cycles, as the planets work through them.
The human breath is not, however, attuned to the great breath in the lives of most people. This alignment or attunement of the human breath with the great breath is a goal which we have to achieve and represents the complete identification of the personal self with the universal self.
It is generally accepted that man is subject to influences from the planets. Our star sign gives us certain physical and character attributes that apply to ALL people of that sign; there are also certain physical strengths and weaknesses. But HOW can that be? ANY INFLUENCE CAN ONLY MAKE ITSELF EFFECTIVE ON SOME OBJECT THROUGH A CORRESPONDING VIBRATION IN THAT OBJECT. Without such attunement there can be no rapport or influence between them - IT IS THROUGH THE CHAKRAS THAT THE INFLUENCES OF THE PLANETS BECOME EFFECTIVE IN THE HUMAN SYSTEM. Each affects the other.
Man’s system of energy flows and network of chakras are an exact correspondence of the Universal system, THE MICROCOSM of the MACROCOSM. This is why I stress - GET TO KNOW AS MUCH ABOUT YOUR BODY AS YOU CAN; when you understand the workings of YOUR mini-universe you can understand the larger one – for the same rules apply; from the tiniest atom to the largest Cosmos.
Peter Rendel then goes on to give some interesting examples of this ‘sameness’:
The astrological zodiac has 3 primary energies and 4 secondary energies. The perfected body has the same: 3 higher bodies, 4 lower bodies. The chakra system of unaware man has the same: the 3 upper ones bringing us into awareness of spirit, the 4 lower ones being concerned with the basic human instincts. It takes 7 levels of consciousness (the seven bodies) to create an infinity of experiences. (And in the 7 bodies; 3 etheric ones and 4 elemental.)
There are 7 musical notes for all musical variances, from great symphonies to pop music. There are 7 colours (4 primaries, 3 secondaries) to create every hue and shade that our physical eye experiences.
The relationship between the universal and the human breath can be traced numerically e.g. The Universal Zodiac, or so called Platonic Year revolves in 25,550 years, and the normal human breath rate, about 18 per minute, gives 25,550 breaths in a full day. And 25,550 days gives a life span of 70 years – which was the average three score and ten for the Piscean Age.
There are countless books on Cycles, it is a subject that has been studied over the centuries at great time and expense, for the scientists feel that if only they can tap into the cycles and attune themselves to them, that all life’s problems will become a thing of the past.
One little book that we have called, ‘Cycles. The Mysterious Forces that Trigger Events’ written by Edward R. Dewey cost $1.50 to buy about twenty years ago, but actually
$1,500,000 to RESEARCH and prepare the book for publication, and involved thirty-three years of work. The authors, members of the Foundation for the study of Cycles must be convinced that this is all pretty important!
The introduction to the book says:
As man brushes away his cobwebs of ignorance, as he acquires new knowledge of himself and his universe, he is swiftly approaching a point in time when he will be confronted with what may be a basic secret of nature. The evidence is mounting that we are surrounded by cyclic forces of which, as yet, we know almost nothing. These forces bounce us like marionettes on a string. They make us fight, they make us love. And all the while WE think we are doing these things solely for rational reasons.
It is perfectly understandable that man should resist any hypothesis that holds that his universe vibrates in rhythms that are caused by forces still unknown and possibly uncontrolled by him. He is like a character in a Punch and Judy Show. And he will continue to be so manipulated until he solves the mystery of these forces. Only then will he be able to cut the strings and be himself.
There are such complexities of cycles; in this one small book there are 14 chapters of FACTS covering 9.6 year cycles in animal abundance; 9.6 year cycles in fish abundance; cycles in brainwaves; emotional cycles; religious cycles; cycles of guilt. 18.2 year cycles of marriage rates in the U.S. 1869 – 1951; 8.9 year cycles in death rates in Massachusetts for the same period. 17.2-year cycles of Immigration into the U.S. 1824 – 1950. Annual cycles of crime; 6 year business cycles; 5.5 year cycles in airplane traffic 1930 – 1955. 6.4-year rhythms in aluminium production.
In all he records 66 separate cycles which include personal, business, weather, world, planetary and universal cycles.
How can we solve the mystery when there is so much to learn? I don’t think anyone ever WILL in one lifetime, but I suggest to you that an AWARENESS of these invisible cycles is essential, and the way to MERGE with them is the giving up of the human self to the God Self - “Your Will, not mine.” Relaxing completely into that we become ONE with these cycles, we realise the futility of fighting against them, we bring ourselves fully into the NOW and wait to be MOVED by the flow. GOD CREATES THE CYCLES. He alone knows the ultimate secrets and patterns which man’s finite mind can never fully comprehend. The scientists and the mathematicians can OBSERVE, but they will never CONTROL.
I only learned how to swim just before we went on our last trip – it was one of my fears that had to be overcome – and in Hawaii I experienced snorkelling for the first time. UNDER the water it’s a different world, you are more aware of being an OBSERVER rather than a PARTICIPATOR. We found a popular bay where many people were snorkelling. They tended to keep in the shallows, but I felt restricted there because of the crowd, and the waves breaking did not give you clear viewing. So despite my old fear of going out of my depth, we swam out to the deep clearer waters.
As I have mentioned to you many times – NATURE SHOWS US ALL THINGS, and a writing I received on this shows you precisely how:
Your experience in the water yesterday was a graphic one for those on the Spiritual Path. Upon entering the water (starting on the Path) all is turbulence and nothing is clear. Then you had to manoeuvre your way through the swimmers (many obstacles are in your way of progress). Once out in the deep your vision was clear, and you forgot your fear in seeking out the deeper waters to gain even clearer vision (as you progress you see more clearly what has been holding you back).
You noticed that it was difficult to move against the flow of the water, and that at times, despite your efforts, you appeared to make little progress. Then, when you gave up the struggle and just relaxed, a sudden surge would carry you forward and you would make good progress again.
So too with the flow of Spiritual energy – always remember how you felt as the water carried you along: invigorating was it not! And EASY!
You observed that even the fish went with the flow – everything in the Universe does Jackie, and you are both very much a part of it, as all mankind is. Nature shows you all things; just open your eyes and your heart.
When I wrote this original lesson I got to this point and ‘knew’ that I had to make up a chart to highlight these cycles in our lives – but where to get one? Then into class that week walked Val with a bag of books for me to look at – old Rosicrucian books, and amongst them a book on cycles! Thank You!!!
We have given you the chart to work with, to plot circumstances in your life, and which show you the advantageous time of when to move, and when NOT to. Relate them to past experiences in your life and next week we will enlarge on this.
This chart helps you to plot the 7 periods within one year, any year - which govern your daily life.
To work out the personal dates use number and WRITTEN month to avoid confusion. E.g. not 27.7. but 27 April. Have a calendar handy for the counting.
For period 1 put your birth date (day and month) in the personal date column.
For period 2 add 52 days and enter the date.
For period 3 add 52 days, and so on, until you have the dates of the 7 periods.
To double check that you have it right then add 52 days to that 7th period and it should bring you back to within 1 or 2 days of your birthday.
E.g. For someone whose birthday was 17th April – that would be the date for period 1. Add 52, so period 2 date would be 19th June. Period 3 – 10th Aug. Period 4 – 1st Oct. Period 5 – 22nd Nov. Period 6 – 13th Jan. Period 7 – 6th Mar.
Having put the dates down, now look at major events in your life such as marriage, divorce, changing house, business or country, etc.
E.g. A marriage in the 27th April chart fell in the number 7 period. This now reveals if you did this at a favourable time in your chart, and will explain the outcome as to its success or failure.
That was MY marriage that fell into the 7 period, and the explanations are very apt: A critical and disruptive period, when breaking down begins in order that there may be a new building up. In one sense the first stage to reconstruction and in another disruptive. Very apt – it is the end of your single life and the start of working as a couple – which takes some getting used to! The mind apt to become despondent, discouraged, or pessimistic, if allowed to affect business or personal affairs it could bring about a disastrous result. Not the time to get cold feet! Impulsiveness in this period will bring disaster. There was certainly
nothing impulsive about OUR marriage – my Dad made us be engaged for four years for I was not allowed to get married until I reached 21.
A good time to deal with people who may take a long time before rendering their decisions. That was certainly Jim in those days! Asking me to marry him was the only impulsive thing he had done up to that point, so he NEEDED that long engagement time to get used to the idea!
It is the most unfavourable time for starting anything new. Not new, we had been waiting for four years!
Voyages long or short, to be avoided unless results fall in another period. We were in a car crash on our wedding day!
For Jim however, our marriage fell into the 6th period: This period may be called the holiday of the year. A time for pleasure and relaxation. For long and short visits to renew friendships, but not for long journeys.
A fine period for men dealing with women in the pleasurable and higher things of life – he would be lucky, I couldn’t kiss him for a month what with loose teeth and stitches!
Now I am not suggesting that EVERY year in those two periods you are going to experience a car crash or adverse circumstances, but if you have created the karmic circumstances then it is the perfect time for them to manifest. In the case of a couple with varying charts – the predominant partner calls the shots! That applies in a positive way as well as a negative way.
Be wary of the explanation for period 2:
Excellent time to move, home, business, occupation if under your control. Not good to change home, business, occupation.
That seems contradictory but note the words MOVE and CHANGE. In other words, OK to move your business to different premises, or to rent a house, or to move to another branch of your employment – but don’t change/SELL your house, or change your business or occupation.
For FUTURE major events refer to the chart to see if it is the right time to make a move, also to see why things you WANT to happen are delayed – TIMING is the answer; not only yours but also for the others involved.
A tree knows where it is on nature’s wheel.
Whatever the position – budding, in full leaf, with ripe fruit
it is all part of being a tree.
There are seasons in your life.
do not try to escape a season.
If you try to bear fruit when it is only time to bud,
you may never bud.
Listen to the song of nature.
Every year is a cycle.
There is a time for activity and a time of ending.
There are seasons for moving and seasons for renewal.
Be still and learn.
See nature’s story unfold.
Watch a bird and a tree.
Learn about the commonness between you and the bird.
Let the tree help you find your place.
Be aware of the day.
There are seasons to a day.
The dawn is spring.
Summer is midday.
The afternoon is autumn.
Winter comes at night.
You were made to experience this cycle each day.
Remove your walls.
Move in rhythm with the day.
Always remember that tomorrow there is another cycle,
another turn of the wheel.
Every breath is a cycle of life.
Take in the sweet spring of your breath.
Fill up your lungs with the summer of the cycle.
Experience the autumn joy of letting go.
Be empty and still in the winter of your breath.
Now breathe again,
for there is always a new beginning and a new ending.
You will never take a breath more or less important
than the one you are taking now.
You will never be in a day or year more or less important
than the one you are in now.
Every single moment is a new beginning for all life.
This present second could see the end of all.
This instant is a new beginning for all.
If you really jump into a now-moment – you will be completely renewed.
Life, like an ocean, is made up of many waves.
There are waves for each moment –
each day, each year, each life.
If you hunger after a sense of completeness –
be in harmony with the waves.
And if you are wondering how the tree can ‘help you find your place’ take a look at this email that arrived recently, compliments of Paul and Charles:
The Wisdom of the Tree.
“How can I do what you say,” asked the child, “and still be me?”
“Look at me,” said the tree. “I bend in the wind, droop in the rain. Yet I always remain myself, a tree.”
“Look at me,” said the man. “I can’t change.”
“Look at me,” said the tree. “I change every season from green to brown to green again, from bud to flower to fallen leaf. Yet I always remain myself, a tree.”
“I can’t love anymore,” said the woman. “With my love, I have given away all that I am.”
“Look at me,” said the tree. “There are robins in my branches, owls in my trunk, moss and ladybugs living on my bark. They may take what I have, but not what I am.”
Whether we know it or not, we are like the tree. Only our pride hangs on to a false sense of self, wanting to keep everything, refusing to follow advice or orders. What we do doesn’t matter; how we do it is what counts.
What changes have I gone through without losing my real self?