Awareness drives Ignatian Spirituality. Breathing is the fire that maintains the engagement of awareness in action. One needs God’s grace to learn how to breathe.
Once, I entered a deep spiritual dryness; I could not understand what was happening with my prayer life. It wasn’t until I concentrated more on my breathing that I realized I was unable to focus, I was distracted by external noises.
When we learn how to breathe, it helps us in our transformation, and connects us with Christ. To paraphrase Dr. Andrew Newberg, a scholar of neurotheology, breathing is a meaningful practice that helps us pay attention to our brain, and be aware of the complex works of the nervous system.
While we are called to be with Christ everywhere, he also invites us to stop and take a breath. When we stop, we can better pay attention to what is happening inside and outside of us, to stay in connected, grounded. In a study by UCLA professor, Dr. Jack Feldman, he noted that, “Each breath is like a new song with the same beat.” Our breathing can also be a prayer, a way to meet God who is at work in us.
How to Breathe
To learn how to breathe, I invite you to take the following steps:
- Breathe in deeply for four, breath out for six – try this three times;
- Try a silent breath, breathing normally and calmly, take in what’s around you – try this for one or two minutes;
- Take a careful, controlled breath, as if praying, as if breathing with Christ – try this for two or three minutes.
Today I would like to invite you to meet the best part of yourself through your breathing. Let us learn to breathe together for the greater glory of God!
Video Production by Matthew Bjorklund, S.J.