Articles/Essays From Pagans
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
You Have to Believe We Are Magic...
July 27th. 2014 ...
Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?
Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle
The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys
July 20th. 2014 ...
Being an Underage Wiccan
Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches
Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
The Lore of the Door
Leaves of Love
June 29th. 2014 ...
What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?
Are You My Familiar ?
Invocations of the God and Goddess
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
June 15th. 2014 ...
Becoming Your Own Wise One
Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha
June 8th. 2014 ...
Moral Relativism and Wicca
Paganism in Cebu, Philippines
June 1st. 2014 ...
Rediscovering My Pagan Faith
13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah
May 25th. 2014 ...
Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)
How to Work With Your Muse
10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch
May 18th. 2014 ...
Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)
The Medea Within Us All
Visits from the Departed
May 11th. 2014 ...
Breaking the Law of Return
Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!
Karma and Sin
The Sin Concept
May 4th. 2014 ...
When to Let Go...When to Hold On
Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty
Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance
April 27th. 2014 ...
Mental Illness in the Pagan Community
World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action
Being Pagan, Being Bipolar
"Earth Day" Is A Pagan Conspiracy!
April 20th. 2014 ...
Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide
Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus
Morality and Controversy in the Craft
A Pagan Perspective on Easter
The Star Child
April 13th. 2014 ...
Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils
Being a Worrisome Witch
Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!
What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops
April 6th. 2014 ...
The Elements and the Quarters
How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”
Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014
13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Breath and Faking It
Article ID: 13605
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,796
Times Read: 3,175
RSS Views: 12,609
Posted: November 1st. 2009
Times Viewed: 3,175
A few months ago, I had a break-through in my meditation practice. It was one of those “duh” moments when I finally realized and 'grokked' something that now seems so simple and makes me wonder why I didn’t know it all along.
I’m a periodic insomniac. It’s nothing new. I remember being 3 years old and unable to fall asleep. As an adult, once every five or six weeks it hits me for several days. Nothing I do or don’t do helps.
My husband is the opposite. He can announce that he’s going to sleep and within 90 seconds I hear snores from his side of the bed or the sofa or the car. Over the years, he’s told me how he does it, but his advice had never helped. It never made sense to me.
One night, a few months ago, I was wide-awake around 3 a.m. Everyone in the room, but me, was asleep. We co-sleep, so both babies were in the room with us. Imagine being immersed in the thick alpha waves of three deeply sleeping people and not being able to join them. I admit I was jealous of their snores. Relaxation techniques, meditation, visualization and even making up stories did not work, and I knew I was in for a long sleepless night. Since our youngest was only two months old, I couldn’t even get up to read. My movement would waken him, and he needed his sleep.
I lay there, not sleeping, listening to the deep breathing of the baby. If you have ever watched a baby sleep, to say that a sleeping baby breathes deep is an understatement. A baby breathes with his entire body, and even more so in sleep. His belly fills up like a balloon and empties out as if deflated. “A complete breath” is the expression that comes to mind. To me a baby has a more natural breath than an adult. They don’t carry as much stress or tension in their bodies. Their diaphragms aren’t constricted and tight from lack of use. There are not tension knots in their throats. Their breath, I would think, is closer to how our breath is supposed to be.
That night, I started noticing the pattern of my babies’ breathing. There is no interruption or pause between the inhalation and the exhalation; it is a smooth in and out. Then there is a slight pause before they draw in another breath. Their breath goes something like this: in and out, slight pause, in and out, slight pause. The pause is not long, maybe a half a second to a second at most.
Babies are nose breathers, inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. The breath is deep, expanding both the lungs and diaphragm completely. Their entire body moves up and down with each breath.
Now, I’m not a person who naturally breathes deeply. A friend of mine has said that I merely ventilate myself. My breath, I admit, is generally shallow. It takes an hour of yoga or thirty minutes of deep meditation to make my diaphragm relax and my breath deepen without force or focus.
Lying there that night listening to my babies breathe, I don’t know why, but I forced myself to imitate them. At first it was hard. I was using parts of my lungs I don’t normally use and stretching my diaphragm more than it’s used to. After a couple of minutes, it grew easier, sooner than I had expected. I lay there, breathing in and breathing out, as deep as I could. Breathing in and breathing out, mimicking the breath of little babies.
Next thing I knew, it was morning, and I had slept through the rest of the night. Wow, I thought. What happened? The next night, still sleepless, I tried it again. And again, I feel asleep.
I had always thought that deep breathing was a product of physical and mental relaxation brought on by meditation or yoga. When I forced it, as I did, it was neither comfortable nor relaxing. It did not feel natural. Rather, it was strenuous, awkward and difficult. Why, I used to wonder, would I begin my meditation by doing something that is physically hard. It was easier for me to enter an alpha state through mental focus and relax my body, which naturally deepens my breath, than initially to focus on breathing deeply. Was I wrong?
Over the next several weeks, what I discovered with my nightly experiments was that, while forcing my breath to mimic that of a sleeper, even though it was not occurring naturally and was uncomfortable and awkward, it forced my mind and body into a sleep pattern. Faking the breath faked out the mind and body and produced the mental state I wanted.
I tried this new outlook on breathing in other facets. Paying attention to my breath while I was meditated, I noticed how it was different from the breath of sleep. When meditating, there is an added pause, at least for me, between inhalation and exhalation. It went something like: in, pause, out, pause.
My realization made me think of the meditation guides I read long ago saying to focus on the breath. I thought they meant as a foci, as something to concentrate on in order to relax the mind. I didn’t realize it was also a way to learn what your breath is like while meditating in order to reproduce the physical and mental effects using only the breath – no foci necessary.
During ritual I can use my breath to force myself into a deeper alpha state, which is better to feel and control ritual energies. During trance work, when I find myself distracted, the utilization of breath can bring the mind back to the trance.
My discovery that deep breathing, even if awkward and uncomfortable, still leads the body and mind to the desired destination has deepened my meditation practice and trance-work. I am now able to meditate, even when my mind, at first, does not want to focus. An added benefit is that my breathing is now naturally deeper than before, which has physical as well as mental and emotional advantages. Plus, my sleepless nights are now rare – well, except for when the baby keeps me up.
Copyright: Written in 2007.
Also published as MotherBear in ADF's Oakleaves #43 Winter 2008.
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Author's Profile: To learn more about Josie - Click HERE
Other Articles: Josie has posted 4 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Josie... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).