Meditation for Thursday 13th October 2022
The breath is always in the present moment.
It is an ideal meditation technique to assist us in the task of ‘being in the now’ rather than being in the past or future. By concentrating on the breath we’re dealing not only with air coming in and out of our lungs, but also feelings that course through our body with each breath.
The English word spirit is from the Latin, ‘spiritus’ meaning breath. In Christian parlance when one refers to the Holy Spirit it means Holy Breath, God’s breath infusing life.The notion of a person’s ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ often overlap, as both contrast with the body however this distinction can propagate an understanding of dualism which is not helpful.
‘Pneuma’ is the ancient Greek word for breath and for spirit and soul. (Phenomenology is the study of phenomena often associated with the spiritual, but not necessarily.)
In classical philosophy the Greek word ‘psyche’ which originally meant ‘breath of life’, is translated as ‘spirit’ or most often as ‘soul’.
The Māori greeting, known as the ‘hongi’ is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead, at the same time, to another person. In the hongi,the hā, or breath of life is exchanged. In Māori culture the God, Tāre in the creation of woman embraced her and breathed into her nostrils. She then sneezed and came to life.
Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests connecting phrases with the breath to help us focus and calm ourselves. When we breathe in, we say to ourselves, ‘Calming the body’. When we breathe out, we say, ‘Calming the body’. The rhythm of these phrases and the breath are soothing and help us take deep full breaths, concentrating and breathing at the same time.
For information about programs offered by the Carmelite Centre go to www.thecarmelitecentremelbourne.org.