45 Lessons, practices, and subjects for contemplation,
By Samuel L. Lewis, with commentary by Matt Lippa
Breath controls all aspects of life from the seen to the unseen. When breath
is in the body life is in the body, and when breath is not in the body life
is not in the body.
Ryazat (Esotericism): Take a thought, inhale, hold the thought. Exhale and try
to hold the thought; there will be a difference. Thus we can learn there is
an association between breath and thought, breath and life.
This is a broad introductory statement about the range and effect of breath. However it is not limited to the example of the body, even though it applies here also. We may consider breath as more inclusive, finer, and greater than the physical only, and the connecting link to all things, planes, and realities, as well as the human use of air. The word "body" can refer also to all form. Such form is living and existing and can be touched through the penetration of that breath which exists more than, greater, and more refined than molecules of oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements. It is through the control of breath that we are able to find the connectedness and means to affect all these planes and the connection to receive through it. As a transmitter and receiver must have a medium through which the energy moves, so too does breath become that medium as well as the means to effect changes.
The example of holding a thought and how it is affected by the in and out breaths is a starting practice. One must begin somewhere. To delineate the effects and functions, first one becomes aware of or realizes that there is actually some difference that is made in breathing. This physical breath extends more than in just the mortal realm, but the understanding of this is greatly limited. It is through the use of experiments such as this that a person begins to unfold in the potentials and understand. These practices given are not superficial although they may be starting points and seem simple. To explore them takes attention and right effort. More will come, and understanding and the possibilities of applications will grow, as one delves further and deeper through experience. Not ceasing or being satisfied with the superficial is a valuable approach through these lessons.
Breath may be called the essence of a human being from one point of view.
As individual being, human is mind. As collective being, human is Adam. It was
into Adam's nostrils that God breathed the breath of life. It is breath which
invigorates each and all human beings. It is mind which makes the human; it
is breath or spirit which unites human beings, which forms Adam. This makes
possible the Brotherhood of Human Beings in the Holy Spirit or Divine Breath.
These statements reflect higher levels of attainment. Realization is experience which is assimilated and through which one perceives "as", not being separate or even "appreciating" in understanding. The question for the seeker or grower is "What is this point of view?", and if it exists, how can he or she perceive from this perspective? Philosophy is fine but doesn't answer questions of experience. What one identifies as is a main factor in determining the level one functions as. Here we find a tantalizing statement pointing toward the unity of being and the common, greater, one body or being. Whether a personality is seemingly individual or united with others is still a lesser realization. Higher is the unity of being pointed toward in the phrase "Aklak Allah" which may be described as living in the manner of and perspective of That Which Is, or being as The One. This comes through the steps called "Fana Fi Lillah", which also may be described as becoming of The Breath.
The one body exists. Form exists. As this One Breath through which all life moves and is sustained circles upon itself, so too may it get seemingly "caught" in form. This is where spheres of identity take place. As the sea which passes through all waves and makes up the foam and bubbles resolves into itself and never loses itself, so too is breath: this effect, cause, and process - a means. Here we have the unity of being sustaining itself. When it differentiates, mind comes into the ruling or reigning position more than heart. Here we have the illusion of separateness. As one being, breath unites because, since, there is but one being. Again, this must be experienced to be perceived, and it is possible to do so. Indeed all greater prophets and teachers of the Higher Orders speak to the unity of being through, by way of this experience. When one perceives, lives from this perspective, there is no two beings. There is form which differentiates yet is still one. As one seeks unity with others or "personhood" here is a means through recognizing and living through this one breath. It points toward the identity change that comes through being grown larger than individual.
One notices that after a rain the air is purified. This is one part of
the process by which poisons are removed from the atmosphere, but it is only
This statement is self-evident and needs no futher explanation. Simple observation will bear it out. However, its inclusion and ordering is of greater interest. Why is it here and what does it have to do with breath? Taken together with both the previous and following lessons, one finds a purpose for its presence. These are active and instrumental writings which act in a certain order with a method integrated in the body of the work. When a writing of this kind "comes", is revealed, or percolates to the surface it has a particular order for the purpose of affecting the reader - present and in the future. This is determined by the condition of the individual and the timing and use applied. In other words, also the capacity of the person attending to it. Here we find a transition piece which is worthy of inner examination and consideration.
Consider how the body may be larger than the person. Consider how the elements act upon both body and breath and their purifications. Water is the example here. This can be related in a way to the personal body, which reflects the outer world. Indeed, larger processes are many times repeated through attention and adaption. The outer rain is a process of nature through which one can learn the effect within the personal sphere. In addition, as personality grows, so too does one's own body. Here we have not only the corollary to this in a philosophical or mental manner, but we are also able to see its potential as it relates to the growth of the individual. Then one affects, purifies all that is within ones realm. Physical is not different from oneself.
Exhalation does not always remove all noxious gases. When it does not,
some poisons are left in the body. Therefore, disciples learn to breathe with
the whole body and so control inhalation and exhalation.
The larger practice is repeated through the body of form through which most people identify as "self". Here the reflected process of purification can be seen through the use of elemental breaths as well as, and in conjunction with full body breathing. Indeed, the breath penetrates the world one exists in and as.
Here let the breath start by coming into and through your physical body from all places external to it. Let it penetrate on the in-breath and extend outward on the exhalation. Try to balance the depth and strength and time as values of both inner and outer breath. Continue as it flows through the body completely, cleansing and clearing as it so does. Extend the breath more and more. Can you feel it connected to a larger, greater area as it goes through your body also? Could it grow to be as including the earth? More? How much?
Breath is not to be confused with air. It is something like the relation
between magnetism and iron. There is magnetism apart from iron, that is, there
is energy apart from matter. The energy connected with breath is called prana.
The science of breath may be called pranavada in Sanskrit and Pasi Anfas in
the Sufi language.
You now are able to get a feeling of breath that exists apart from and both within and through the air. It is not the air, but is carried and affected through the means of breathing. This breath is large and more refined than the physical air. You may have felt how extensive it was or tasted, touched upon this and felt its expanse as your breath became larger in the practice previously done. How far you experience depends upon your attunement and sensitivity to its existence and how you let go of the barriers of self-identification and limitations of mind, and perception of personality.
Here we find the basis in practices of several traditions or "processes of realization by means of experience". When approached in a systematic, appropriate, and reproducible manner, taking into account the person, time, condition, situation, and needs, we have what may be called a science. How it is named or called matters not. Whether there is a "Sufi" language (other than Heart/Breath/Light/Love) is not our consideration at this point. Suffice it to say that the writer of these lessons was dealing with, working with, and appealing to some of those who felt there was, and were used to such a common tongue. In that sense he was correct. No longer do we need to consider "Sufi" language limited to this. Our consideration now is the awareness of the presence of this science and the correct learning and application of it in life.
What are called spirit and matter in English correspond in some respects
to what are called Shiva and Shakti in Sanskrit. The body, being the temple
of the holy Spirit has accommodation for both Shiva and Shakti.
There is a continuum of densification flowing through all levels of being. Much like a filter in reverse, the denser or heavier "pieces" fall through to the next layer. The finer pieces are still there but less apparent or even overwhelmed temporarily by the heavier and more solid which is seen more readily by the corresponding senses. Yet the finer still is present. So if your physical body were to dissolve, there would still be breath and corresponding "organs" with which to perceive and interact with it, and through which it would take form and flow. Finer and finer levels are reflected and utilized by finer forms. So there is always a correspondence of denseness or solidity the finer one exists. If the next levels of bodies or vehicles were to dissolve, then still there would be breath. Accommodation of the unmanifest or finer world would still exists, as does breath.
As we "die before we die" refinement of breath takes place and we both become more aware and dwell in or through finer realms. The physical body is the accommodation or receptacle through which this densifies more than other vehicles. We become present in these other realms of density as breath and heart is refined and purified, leading to a permeating of the denser with the finer. In a sense, this is like magnetizing a piece of iron more and more, or becoming more sensitive to sounds and notes in music, or feeling color in greater shades, or even water soaking through a sponge. Steam that comes into contact with the sponge could then condense and flow through it, becoming water, which if frozen, would be more solid. This takes place in and through spirit/matter condensation also. Breath is the connecting means through all these levels and carries life force and consciousness more and more densely, as well as being an active agent which may be directed to achieve an effect.
Become aware of your breath being strong or refined and how it affects your awareness and the extent of your being. Breathe a heavy breath and take note of your level of density, awareness, and size - expanse. Keep refining the breath until it no longer is even felt as movement of air. How is your awareness and extent of being now? Let go of this even and sense the breath which flows through all and carries life, connected to all. This is taking place all the time only we are bouncing against the rocks filtered through the screen and forget the rest. In awakening and sensitivity we become aware again and rise with the breath and heart. Love begets beauty, and the face leads us back to its source.
What is called the Neck Center in Indian esoterics corresponds more or
less to the glottis in man. This organ or gland sends material into the digestive
tract and spirit with air to the lungs. All functions in man are of the Shiva
or Shakti varieties.
There is a sorting out and interrelationship between the subtle or finer body with energy centers and the more dense physical body. While the neck center has "sorting and stepping-down" as one of its functions it also serves others, including acting as a kind of "hinge" between the physical and subtle bodies. These functions can be found through experiment: concentration, focusing on energy, breath, light, and their effects on conscious awareness. Pay especial attention to the course of the flows of energy. This examination takes some time and attention, but is the only way for a person to verify the accurateness of these statements. Only by direct experience can one know. Otherwise it is theory and philosophy, and one is not able to act knowingly in relation to these "organs".
As breath penetrates through the bodies a person can become aware of how it acts and what can be done with it and with the energy. The subtle body is more long lasting than the physical, which will die away sooner, leaving other vehicles as means through which to live and interact in finer levels. From that perspective they will be as solid and real - or more so, than the earth. When awareness comes of this while also still using a physical body, one may function multi dimensionally. Awareness of breath and how it moves and what it does can aid in that awareness, as well as be a tool and method for achieving greater balance, strength, and vitality in this world.
Ryazat: Breathe identifying yourself with breath. Breathe holding Darood,
i.e., "Toward the One," with each inhalation and exhalation. Identify yourself
with the breath; identify with the Darood. This helps free you from identification
with the body.
As you identify with the breath you will have the opportunity to go through many levels and layers of living. It is beneficial to keep in mind as you approach this exercise to feel your way through and sense where it is leading. The next stage of identification and loss of attachment to yourself as your body will unfold. Remember that identification as something also means expressing yourself as this. So you can feel yourself being breathed through your bodies as well as finding your way to experience That Breath and Being which Is as you move closer to become of It also. This is losing yourself to find yourself.
Practice meditation by breathing the Darood ("Toward the One") either a
prescribed number of times or at least five minutes daily. Learn to feel the
life-force entering the body. Identify yourself with the breath, identify yourself
with the life-force. Do not identify yourself with the body. Thus you will learn
to actualize: "This is not my body, this is the temple of God." This is used
as a disciplinary practice for beginners; it is used as a method of identification
(fana or yoga) by the more advanced.
Here we find more solid and down to earth instructions in doing this practice. Doing is doing, not talking about it or reading it. Experience is experience. There is an element of devotion which is called for in this approach, Tuning ones heart to the "Creator" Being of All allows one to give oneself "toward", and to This surrender lesser identity through love: giving away of attachment of self to the lesser. Here also we remember that this practice will grow, and the intention is to get the key to grow with it in personality so it no longer becomes a "practice" of sitting a few minutes or times. Rather there is an identification shift, living expands, and one remains both in the breath and consciousness naturally as one is. Giving up the practice and becoming is the final breaking of that idol or step. The donkey is just too large to get through the door. Love, live, breathe, feel, become - every day, all the time.
The degree of spiritual evolution can be measured by the breath - its
power, its sweetness, its rhythm and its tonicity. Spirit and breath become
one, and the grade of spiritual evolution is measured by the breath.
Ruh, soul, identity, is also sometimes referred to as breath. To "measure" one's spiritual condition it then is necessary to become aware of the qualities of that being's breath. It is through the linking, connection of physical breath one is also able to perceive the consciousness of the "other". This is accomplished through attunement. As in the "Darood" practice above, one becomes this. It can be done consciously and openly without what seems like deep meditative practice through paying attention to rhythm, peace, saturation, extent, feeling, color, tone, joy, and love. This can be caught using the current of the breath as a stepping stone. Attune to that and feel, becoming aware more of both the elements (qualities) and the whole to which they point, and you now have a means of evaluation. This reflects the condition and is far more real than any titles, name, or "authority" a person may have. Become and know.
Every element in the breath attracts a similar element in another person's
breath. This is one of the reasons for harmony between people.
This is also one of the reasons we learn to attune with each other. By becoming of one breath we become of one being and dwell in a larger sense. We also learn how to associate as an organism greater than the body of a person. This is done through practices and activities such as remembrance circles and healing groups, to name two. There is another factor in harmony. It is the opening of the door to experience the perception and being of another as oneself. This happens in superficial manners all the time. It also goes further in daily activities when we consciously seek to understand another by seeing and feeling from that perspective. It goes to the essence of spiritual transmission and is a stepping stone to becoming of the larger self, so to speak, the body of being of love and light. Here we find attunement and harmonizing between people as a stepping stone and a stage in harmonizing with life itself. Through action and breath, it is possible to become the One we seek.
Every inhalation is God's gift to man and every exhalation is man's sacrifice
The mystic considers "God" as a stepping stone to The Real. However, whether we call it by name or not, the function remains. From the perspective of the person, That Which Is provides all life to Its creation through the transfer of breath. It is the giving of self through love that flows to all through all forms provided and sustains life. It is the reception of this function and process that takes place in the inhalation. On the exhalation is the continuance of this flow, surrendering all personal expression to the One Which Provides all. Then it becomes the giving of one's life, also in love, through breath on each exhalation. When one becomes aware of this continuity and continuum, and the identification is with and of the breath and life itself, so too does the consciousness and awareness shift and one Is of the being. This is called realization and it is usually a step by step, breath by breath, process. Now is. On each in-breath a new life exists - one is born and grows. One each out-breath that being dies. So too with all creation, being constantly reborn. Stay with the breath and life and all we be and is.
Christ is born when breath enters man's body, and Christ is crucified
when man thinks of himself.
Ryazat: Practice thinking of the breath; practice thinking of the breath with
Darood; practice concentrating on Love; practice thinking of oneself. One will
notice a great change. This self-thought is called Nafs by Sufis and is the
greatest obstacle to life and happiness.
The reference is not to the personage of Jesus but rather to the Light of That Which Is. There is no thought of self when one is. There are not two when one is. Identification is a key to being. Attention. Being of two is not awareness as one. Explore the difference if you wish. Be as you seek to become. The rest dissolves away. Cling and be destroyed. It is only the pain of letting go the keeps one tied. And that pain and battle is of your choice.
Breathing in unison helps bring harmony. Breathing with Darood helps increase
that harmony. Breathing in Darood with a common concentration, e.g., the Sufi
symbol, brings a still greater harmony.
Ryazat: Try each of these alone or with others and experience the results.
What can be said but try them if you wish to experience? Determine for yourself. Then know what works and to what it points. It will open the way for you to more consciously select your path or follow The Way.
There is a difference in the breath of each kingdom: mineral, vegetable,
animal and human.
Ryazat: Try concentrating in turn on a rock or mineral, a precious stone, grass,
a tree, an insect and a four-legged animal. Notice the difference in your breathing;
(this subject is continued in the commentary on "The Inner Life").
Each approach in function of the previous practice brings a different effect. In the case of these practices we have the common in and out breath applied to each of several elements: people, things, animals, and minerals. Each one has a different feeling, attitude, awareness, consciousness, being, form, expression. These are all qualities of breath. In other words, they make up some of the breath of that thing. This is more than the air. Feel the tone. Sense the being. Connect with the inner presence and expression of The One. It will also be reflected through your physical breath. This is the response to consciousness. You can see through the eyes, perception, being, awareness of each of these things as you attune, through breath, as part of yourself. You are not limited in time, space, or form. Breath connects and runs through all simultaneously. It is only a matter of discernment and attention.
Disharmonies arise because of clashes in the rhythm of breath. These disharmonies
can be removed by singing, dancing, devotion and esotericism. Therefore, Sufis
use Wazifas and practice Zikars, not only to bring peace and harmony to each
person, but also to each group.
You can see how people come closer through a common physical breath. This is most evident in singing, dance, and other forms of movement and recitation. Thus a focus becomes the means for rhythmic and harmonious attunement of breath, and the effect is greater harmony and unity. This is shown through all sorts of activities in daily life: from people cheering or moving as a "wave" at a sporting event, to singing and moving at a rock concert, to mob action in a riot, to military marching in cadence. It also is shown naturally through the physical expression of love and sleeping with someone, when the people literally may fall into the same breathing. Many times, as a result of this they may also have similar dreams and feel as through they are of one body or person. This can be cone deliberately through practices and is not limited to those called "Sufi", yet it is part of the conscious intention and learning through activity which is part of this means or process. The only differences between the former examples and Sufic learning is intention and extent. The functions are essentially the same.
The disharmony that results from clashes in rhythm and breath also can be seen and felt. Observe these in people when they argue or disagree. Get a sense of this within yourself. Deliberately experiment with another by taking a point of view or perspective that is contrary philosophically or mentally. Feel and see if there is a difference showing also in breath. Become more aware of this by trying to hold opposing views of an argument and breathing together consciously. See what then happens. See what happens when you sing together and move together to keep similar attitudes or feelings. Become aware of the effect of this and its relationship to your breaths. Try breathing with the rhythm and feeling of another who is opposed to you or expresses a contrary perspective. Feel yourself draw close through breathing together. Does it affect the language, interaction, and conversation or not? The work and effort when applied to a group provides an opportunity for all to experience loss of individual self-identity and form a larger being. This is a stepping stone toward becoming more of what one already is and becoming more functional as part of One Being.
Both inhalation and exhalation have an effect upon the atmosphere and
it can be harmonious or inharmonious in relation to the atmosphere of another.
But when the etheric element is present, it destroys the nafs (ego-mind) and
prevents inharmony. Esoteric practices regulate breathing.
This statement can be tested out through harmonizing with people in a situation in which you are located, even if you do not speak. Try the breathing of Love, Harmony, and Beauty, connecting to your Ideal, Beloved in and through each breath and let it permeate the space you are in. Let the in-breath purify and cleanse, and the out-breath extend light, love, peace, and joy. See if it has an effect.
Balancing your breath in and out in strength and length, refine it slowly and softly until you feel a higher harmonic easily. Keep attuned to and focused on your Beloved: Being of Love, Joy, Peace, and Light. Breathe all this in higher and finer. Let it permeate all your body and space of which you are aware. Your heart/breath consciousness expands with it. Feel the difference take effect.
You can leave breath and its activeness in a space, magnetize objects, air, or elements - on all levels - and not be limited in time or space to a location. Wherever you place your attention, you are. Whatever you place your attention on, you become - or grow toward. Feel the love. Let it extend in breath/light through you and become of it. Try balancing it and then forget "you" doing it. Be of it and let it take place.
Inhalation and exhalation affect and are affected by every form of thought,
speech and action. The details of this are taught to Sufis in the science of
You can test this out through experiments you devise. It is simple and easy to take a thought and feel if and/or how it affects the breath, and how the breath affects the thought. The same is true with actions, ideas, spoken words, writings - any expression - even the clothes you wear, colors you are comfortable with, music, sound, etc. You do this by paying attention to your condition and the condition of the situation and quality upon which you focus. Then you deliberately alter one aspect and see what happens. Pay attention and you will learn - become aware of the effects of breath upon the "externals or internals", and their effects upon the breath. Easy to do, it just takes time, a little patience, attention, and discernment. Don't rush, and rely upon your own feeling.
Life-force enters with the breath and leaves with the breath. This life-force
is stored in the body. It is not the result of caloric intake through food.
A stout man may obtain many calories from his food without being able to utilize
them in actions. If the caloric theory alone were true, the stout would always
be superior to the thin. The energy in an electric battery is derived from the
chemicals introduced and not from the material of the battery. In a similar
way the life-force vitalizes the body and the body utilizes the life-force.
Therefore, the body is an accommodation and not a person.
Focus each in-breath on a part of the body. Do you feel anything? Increase the intensity, focus, and flow to that part. Does what you feel change? Try this with focus on the out-breath through the same part of the body. Then try this on both the in-breath and the out-breath. Do this in several different areas. Then feel the entire body and breathe into and through it completely. Increase the focus and strength of breath to it. Does this change what you feel? Connect to the highest of your Beloved, The Universal Life and Being of Light/Love and that from which this comes and returns. Do you feel any change in the energy through your body? Stop doing this. Rest a few breaths. Do you feel any depletion or is the level maintained? See now how you feel while identifying as your breath. Feel and become this as it encapsulates your body and flows through it. Does the quality of breath change? If so, how? Identify more with the breath. Become breathed through this accommodation. How does your awareness and consciousness change? Is there a change in the relationship you now have with your body or your personality? If so, how? Why? What is changed? What if you identify more with your breath/The Breath; being breathed and extending this more and more through form? What is taking place? Where is this energy, life force flowing? What is the effect upon the smaller physical body you "wear as a suit of clothes"? What about the larger body you are now feeling? Explore this more. Eventually the breath and life force become so strong the body expands, energized and tingling, expressing all life, sustaining, becoming, being, is, no barrier through which to express.
Shiva is breath-energy and Shakti is body material. In the Jewish mysticism
these aspects are expressed as Mi (meaning who) and Ma (meaning what). It is
the interaction between Shiva and Shakti, between Mi and Ma which accounts for
all of life.
Say/sound MI/MA (mmmmeeeeee/mmmmaaaaaa as a "zikr" or remembering practice. Attune to each in turn. Focus on one as a extended sound-use-focus: a "mantram or wazifa" practice. Feel the difference between Mi and Ma. Include and become aware of any variation in awareness or consciousness and the strength, direction, and values you feel. Focus on the experiences. Use the in-breath and out-breath on these sounds. Is one more conducive or connected in function to the breath going in/through as compared to the outer going breath? Try each and see what happens. Feel if there is a polar action, as plus/minus, positive/receptive, male/female. Refine the sound so it is internal on the breath rather than expressed outwardly through the physical body. Refine it more toward function and process. Try it. Decide for yourself if this statement about the interaction of breath is correct or not.
In some Hindu philosophies such as Samkhya, one is disciplined to identify
with Purusha (Shiva) and become free from Prakriti (Shakti). For this, mental
instruction does not suffice. Esotericism (Ryazat) must be practiced.
Here is a practice called Breathing Love / Becoming Love. Breathe in all the Love you can and breathe out all the Love you can. Place your attention and heart upon the Highest of your Universal Beloved, being the Ideal of All. On the in-breath, feel this becoming "you". On the out-breath, expand more, feeling "you" becoming this. With each breath, resting, becoming more of this That Which Is, Love/Light/Being/Breath, become of This, and This becoming of you until there is no difference. Keep in this as much as your capacity allows. Increase this. Stretch, loosen, become. Be.
The goddess Kali represents the divinisation of material forces apart
from spirit. This can only be relatively true. There is no Purusha without a
trace of Prakriti; there is no Prakriti without a trace of Purusha. The body
is not entirely dead because of the absence of life-breath; it is then only
an accommodation for subhuman forces.
This addresses the fact that whenever there is any degree of manifestation there is form. This may be extremely refined or dense or somewhere between. In all cases, for perception, being, and existence, there is some degree of polarity: plus/minus, male/female, in/out breath, Ahl/Lha, and so forth. The degree of accommodation for Life/Love/Breath reflects and determines the amount of conscious awareness - livingness/extent of that thing. Here the reference to subhuman forces relates to the consciousness/awareness/personality as being beyond or denser than in a state of self-awareness and without its potential for loss of identity in One, and of form altogether. It is that the vehicle is "dead" or non-functional to those levels of experience through it. Yet still there is the wave of form through which is breath and it still is made of the congealed spirit being.
A metaphor for this may be a radio speaker that is disconnected from the electromagnetic current and radio parts. Still there is vibration which is picked up and transmitted through it. This is not functional as in the manner when connected and energized.
While it is possible to attune to and perceive through the "dead", this brings with it some potentially serious circumstances. It should only be approached by One of Knowing, or one under complete protection.
Thus the breath makes the mortal out of the animal. Thus the breath makes
the immortal out of the mortal.
It is this progression of spirit/matter that continues as greater evolution in the universe. This also takes place in and through the personality of the being ready for these steps and stages. These can be seen in the "speaking" communication with animals - especially pets grown close to the human associate, and the connection and growing of the "personal" toward the Divine or Universal Being. It also is shown to a lesser degree when the consciousness is able to connect with other beings without physical forms or through telepathy with those who do possess them. There is a corresponding refinement and extension of breath in these situations as one becomes greater in scope, awareness, and being. It is here one touches on the "immortal" which means nothing more than not dying. This takes place naturally through the refinement and purification of personality and heart capacity and increase in and through Love.
The Sufi does not force any type of development or activate any gland
or center. It is mastery and control of the breath which spiritualizes the whole
personality. When the breath and bloodstream and mind are purified by yoga exercises
and meditation, the flower of the heart and soul open through the combined efforts
of the sun, rain, and earth within.
This is not to say that "One of Suf" meaning also One of Love or One Behind the Veil, is not aware of these centers or their functions. Nor does it mean that there are not ways of activation or development without "force". It refers to primary approach.
The natural and Real growth of the individual being is not limited to that of the physical or the more subtle forms of vehicles - including that of the so-called "solar" body. It is that one purifies and rises on heart/breath to become of that Love and Being which is and exists of Itself. To do this one purifies the instruments of its use: one's vehicles, and moves higher, more freely, and with less identification with those forms. Through the elemental breaths and their harmonies one can advance through specific practices and processes. These are only some of the steps available, and even these are limited to forms and less than that which one finds and becomes through love and giving away of self. It is through the increase in capacity for Love and the becoming through It which truly leads to the natural evolution and activation, in balance of all these centers as a by-product of this growth.
Purification may come through the repetition of sacred phrases. In Sufism
Wazifas are so used.
The use of the word "may" is very important. It has two major aspects to consider. One is that it is possible. That is, if the correct conditions are met. The second is that this is a way of approaching the process. Recall that in the use of "wazifas", or word/sounds reflecting experience of qualities, that it is self limiting to stay only in and through the so-called physical sound. There is the refinement of sound in the mental, then the feeling. The experience grows in the breath until the words/sounds are essentially put aside and used as stepping stones to the experience. Then it carries forward on the breath through the functions found through the tones and the processes that were originally reflected in the vowels and consonants - in addition to any "meaning" of the word. This breath experience is far more real and goes much further than the outer sound or tonal recitation. It is more toward the fulfillment of the practice until one becomes the quality. What you place your attention on you grow to and become. Many settle for the superficial or magical. Becoming it is not that.
Given a problem: Meditate on the problem. Given a problem, Meditate on
"Toward the One."
Ryazat: Fikar-concentrate on La ilaha with each exhalation and on El il Allah
with each inhalation. Do this 21, 33, or 101 times, according to the intensity of the problem.
Now after this re-concentrate on the problem. There should be an influx of Kashf
or insight that will help throw light on the problem, perhaps solve the problem.
This is generally true of headaches, small pains and personal disturbances with
This is one of several methods of attuning to the One Mind and Being of heart/love/light/breath which increases the capacity and opportunity to receive guidance. Functionally one starts by using the technical process of meditation as a means of considering something. "Problem" may essentially mean anything one is attending to. Then, when one is finished receiving through meditation by directly considering the object and receiving through that lens of personality, this is placed aside and the attention and attunement changes "Toward the One". This increases the focus and intention toward That Which Is and away from the level more directly related to the object of consideration and personal limitation or filter. Here there is a further focus of the quality of mind, heart, and breath upon the Beloved Source of all guidance and inspiration.
The next step is the use of a Remembrance Practice by attuning through the breath (fikr) on the phrase La Ilaha El il Allah or a variation. This is coordinated with both the in and out breaths. One can examine this phrase and its meaning by several methods and degrees. But suffice it to say that the process is one of giving away of attachment to or identification with any form as being the guide and giver of all, or Truth, and then receiving (and potentially becoming) of the Real Being more directly. This is affirmed through the breath. Person goes out, Beloved/Universe comes in. Reason goes away, guidance come in. Darkness is released, light shines. Unknowing lessens, knowing inspiration grows.
The use of repeating a phrase or word a certain number of times is not "magic" although it is done heedlessly or mechanically many times in this manner. It can be any number corresponding with what is needed. One breath of real attunement and heart is greater - more functional - than a thousand attempts through mentalism or thinking, or a variety of other approaches which are not actual attunement and loss of self-identification and reliance upon the personal. The numbers 21, 33, and 101 have significance only in that they are cycles.
This entire lesson speaks to and addresses the process and means of receiving guidance and understanding. It is how this happens when broken down into components using this form and phrase as a focus. By paying attention to the condition one is in in these various stages and steps and then repeating it, a person can stay in this functionally: being guided and in unfolding knowing all the time. Breath is the connecting link in this process.
Practice of Darood ("Toward the One") will generally give one more strength
than another person. It is therefore not necessary to hold inimical thoughts.
By these methods of practicing the Presence of God one assures oneself of self-firmness,
and helps to build up with and from others. We all breathe the same atmosphere,
and therefore are in communion whether we are aware of it or not.
The increasing of strength is like the charging of a battery. This is not dependent upon the other "batteries" but how connected one is to the source of energy. As the charge increases one becomes stronger in relation to the others. This is the reason why attunement Toward The One results in a higher or more positive personality. As to connection with all others through breath, this is like having wires running to all the other batteries. As one is charged more there is the potential for a current and transfer of some energy to the others. This is not theory and can be seen and felt through inner or more refined perception. It likely can be measured, and without doubt can be felt. When entering a room and feeling positiveness, negativity, anger, peace, joy, love, etc., one is experiencing this. By being connected consciously and attuned to and as "part" of the one breath and being, a person has a way to affect all. Rise and all rises with you, as "they" are of "you" also, and "you" are of "them".
Self-consciousness and self-thinking (manas) are the obstacles to knowledge.
No doubt we must and should use our minds. But mental utilization apart from
universal harmony is beneficial neither to oneself nor to the generality.
Staying in breath/heart/light/love therefore affords the greatest opportunity for real growth, knowing, and assistance through correct, right action, living, and being. It is not that mind or thinking is not useful. It is. Just simply use it for the purposes it works and within its scope of effectiveness. Beyond that it does not function very well. So here, simply put it away (quiet it) and use whatever tool or ability or other function is appropriate for the consideration or situation. From a perspective of function, thought of self, self-reliance, or self-consciousness all get in the way of reliance upon the One and the attendant reception of That guidance and strength of being. "Self" used above refers to a perspective and identification which is lesser, separate, and personal. One can't be thinking, relying upon, identifying, and acting from the perspective of the smaller person at the same time as one is "Of the One". It doesn't work that way. The greater help and benefit comes through Universal Harmony. Here one becomes also of that "Universal Battery" and acts as a "step-down-transformer" and transmitter.
The Hindu repeats, "Neti, neti." The Sufi has the more complete practices
of Darood, Zikar and Fikar.
The comparison of "subsets" is not always useful unless there is a true purpose for doing so. Many times in writings we do find specific reasons for such inclusions. These generally are for the reference of those one is actively dealing with more directly or to counter or balance a quality in mind - individual, local, or widespread. However, comparison of functions and processes are much more likely to be of help over a wider framework. Here we do find that the practices of "Darood, Zikr and Fikr" also include affirmation and their refinement in breath. This is more complete than negation only. They also reflect the natural polarities, including the in and out breath. "Neti", or "Not This" only is simplistic and incomplete, although it is widely used. There are Hindu practices that reflect these so-called "Sufi" processes, and there is attunement to That Which Is through recitation and refinement in forms, sounds, and breath, which is also positive and negative, and then goes toward the unmanifest.
The small self is not transformed by undue attention to the small self.
The small self is transformed by practicing the praise of God (Zikar) or repeating
the Divine Attributes (Wazifa).
What you place your attention on your grow toward and become. What you sound vibrates through the forms and magnetizes them in that quality. It is a means of focus toward which to grow. What you breathe you grow toward and become. Denial of self or focus upon the smaller self only strengthens that as this is where the attention is placed. It does not provide the means or Ideal toward which to move, grow, and become. Consciousness of breath and its function is important and valuable through this process as it provides a means of connection, transportation, and transmutation.
The Praise of God is the RIGHT PATH. Then there is no room for ego. The
ego is not effaced, but is transmuted by joining in the praise.
This is also the means of connecting to and finding the Divine Current and Personality of Breath/Love/Light. It is upon and through this one rides and becomes, giving away attachment to and identification of the smaller self while growing in and as That Which Is.
Inhalation and exhalation both have their sounds and also their colors.
Each of these has its significance.
These are simple statements which relate to a huge subject. To explore this one needs to attune through many different manners in breath and intention. Use the nostrils and mouth. Use a heavy breath and then ranges of lightness. Find the difference between in and out breaths, through left or right nostrils. Feel the tones and color of light by way of experience and knowing. Functions vary by extent of breath and upon what it is focused as well as height and range. Refinement affects the colors and sounds. Feel it to find the range. Forget it all to be. Just breathe naturally. Now you've got it. The rest is delineated for functions and processes.
The movement of earth around the sun necessarily alters the metaphysical
constitution of the atmosphere. Motion of earth, angle of sun's declination,
intensity of light or degree of darkness, all have their peculiar effects. Light
has a direct action upon consciousness and so affects breath.
In other words, all movements and changes in the universe, including those within the solar system, and more specifically, the sun, moon, and light have their effects upon one's consciousness. And this in turn is reflected through the breath. One can experience this by attentiveness, systematically exploring these variables. If you wish to know these details, make the study. The converse to this process also works. That is, the breath affects the consciousness and light. It has a resultant effect on all that is. We are part of one interconnected, intermeshed, being and ecosystem.
In a purified body, the etheric element helps to clarify the tone and
beautify the expression. Mild breathing brings about that condition of which
Jesus spoke, "Blessed art the poor in spirit." Thus mild breathing may increase
the scope for magnetism and bliss.
Blessings - the transference of energy, life, love, peace, bliss, and intention come through and are increased through a purified and refined breath. In this way the saying can be "Blessings come to those of refined breath." This is a process and function that Jesus relates. He speaks in parables and many sayings of the kind above. When related to processes and functions one may glean some of their hidden or inner meanings.
The breath sciences enable one to understand the Sufi mysticism in all
Breath is the key to understanding. As it is through breath the connection is made and transfer takes place, this can lead to knowing and further guidance and assistance. It is heart that unfolds to Love and provides the capacity for its expression, through which comes real understanding. Love is the means and the way. Breath connects all the planes and processes and conveys this love. Through breath one knows as experience and it has the potential, through guidance, to unfold as other qualities grow.
There is no Sufi mysticism. Mystic living is an expression of being alive, aware, realized, conscious, functional, able to traverse and work through multiple planes and levels of existence, with the potential to see unlimitedly through the eyes and breath and heart of The One and Its aspects, qualities, and beings, as oneself. This is the mystic heart which has no bounds.
Sufi mysticism is a misnomer, as is Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, or calling any path, means, or expression a particular kind of mysticism. Mystic living is universal, and it is of this we reach, grow, and become. Breath is one key and the science of it allows one the opportunity to convey awareness of this Living Being and function as part of This. These last statements are not contrary to what was written in this "lesson". Rather it points toward Truth; which Suf reflects and carries forth. The term was used simply to reach certain people. It is not valid from the larger perspective, but was used correctly and properly for those conditions and people when written. Today we apply these practices, methods, and approaches in a more "open" or wider way.
If oxygen were the sole supporter of life one could breathe contentedly
in an atmosphere of pure oxygen. But pure oxygen could also consume. Shiva is
not only the divinity in life, he is the destroyer and transformer.
There is only one breath and it is present now. For the person, the present breath is the only one. Upon its loss is death. Upon its presence is life. In and out, one is reborn. The larger breath still exists. As one grand in-breath withdraws the universe upon itself, one expands upon the exhalation of Love. It is not the elements that create. They are created.
The earth itself breathes. The Mother requires prana for her life. Only
deserts remain practically without it. After a rain the air is purified. No
doubt this increases what the scientists call ozone. Ozone is not only physically
activated oxygen, it is also a carrier for the all-pervading power in space.
Yogis and ascetics often live in high mountain areas where there is less denseness
and less oxygen, but where the ozone is comparatively higher.
That the earth breathes can be perceived through attunement of breath to it as well as through psychic and visual perception of the matrices of life. This includes the physical sciences. The earth as an organ of a larger living being can also be experienced and felt: as the solar system and other natural bodies and organizations of bodies breathe and have their own breath.
Rather than seeking and remaining in areas of more refined life force, in today's world, to be more fully functional and able to live across cultures, societies, and the planet as ordinary persons, we become able to draw this life energy breath/light/love through all circumstances and places without limitation.
Adepts controlling the breath and able to draw the blessings of Nayaz
can adapt themselves to any environment.
Breathing in Love and breathing out love, breathing in joy and breathing out joy, breathing in light and breathing out light, breathing in peace and breathing out peace, with the breath of Light/Love/Joy/Peace/ extend and include the physical body. Feel this breath grow through all the bodies: Light/Love/Bliss/Peace through all and from all directions - breathing through.
Identify now with the breath, feeling yourself being breathed, flowing in and through all your bodies. Refine your breath now, feeling the substance of Light/Love/Joy/Bliss/Peace. Becoming larger still, expand in breath and heart as far as you can. Refine your breath even more, becoming aware of the Heart and Breath Divine; your Beloved, The Presence. Coming closer in heart, being supported, let this fill you and grow even finer and larger. Become of the breath, including your earth as your body, even within your heart, smaller than the extent of your body now.
Feel your presence within and of sustaining light, sustaining being, of one love, being of joy, bliss, and peace, and let it extend through your physical breath, invigorating, strengthening, giving sustenance, creation flowing through. Tune yourself to this, and with open eyes and senses, feel also the environment around your smaller physical body at the same time.
Adapting, harmonizing, becoming of the breath which penetrates through forms, feel also the One and let This sustain and carry you as you live in this world also. Create in breath, become through form, feel Love. Breathing in Love and breathing out love, breathing in light and breathing out light, breathing in joy and bliss and breathing out joy and bliss, breathing in peace and breathing out peace, love the day, have fun. Take part. Be human. Be. Do what needs to be done.
Nayaz proposes there are three ways toward health, viz.: through the rays
of the sun, through the waves of the air, and through the all-pervading power
in space. By space is meant akash, which is the accommodation for all power.
Both this power and the magnetisms contained in air enter the body through the
channels of breath.
Placing yourself in heart, feeling the breath, become. Exist. Health follows naturally. As substance, life sustaining and growing, refine your breath, and feel - upon it and through it strength, giving power, love, tempering and carrying, peace and joy growing stronger. Be a friend to all. It is part of yourself. The channels of breath include more than those through which air moves.
Breath is also light. It carries light, it carries color. It invigorates
the whole body or any portion of it to which it is directed.
If you look at a prism it breaks the light into colors. If you examine the tone of light and love carried through the breath, they also contain color and notes. When they are separated through focus these can be more easily discerned. The prism of the breath is in the refinement and focus. See/feel, sense the affinities of the breath for various organs and centers. While concentrating upon them, strengthen or weaken the breath. Refine it by making it more subtle and supple. Feel the light for colors and tones as you shift or change focus, density, strength, and the intention, connection, and receptivity you have through The One.
Concentrating on the heart, one can purify the breath: Concentrating on
the breath and blowing "Hu" one can purify the heart.
Five minutes at least for each of these two processes is the practice. Now if you try it regularly and also attune toward Love and your Ideal/Beloved of Love at the same time, This Heart will grow even greater and stronger.
Upon the breath sound HUUU, resounding in the spheres, through being toward that unmanifest from which it comes and toward which it returns. Refine the breath and sound until it is audible only to the inner ear. And then feel love/breath unmanifest as it clears the heart toward One. You can actually breathe the sound/feel through the physical heart and the heart center. This can become larger than localized in the chest area. Become and rest upon this breath, within this love, and be. Feel love itself and the purity of being one. Remember. Now.
The next step is application, bringing this forward in the world through yourself. So if you are able to stay in this heart/breath/love/light, let it guide you to the way to do and how to be a human. Then as you live and act through this and other worlds, you also become a center through which they are purified.
The breath is the channel for many kinds of magnetism and what is called
baraka, which also means blessing. The Murshid blowing on the disciple can help
and impart blessing. The Shifayat (healer) blowing on the patient can impart
healing. The adept blowing on food and drink can help anybody.
Then each breath becomes the carrier of intentions, awareness, and level of attunement. So if you walk through the world with the Heart of Love, the Light of Love, the Breath of Love, then all you do and touch and convey will also be magnetized with this and carry it forward for all the be affected and raised. You become the sun of life and the breath extension, expression of the One, Beloved. This is raising all life higher. And love is the carrier/raiser while breath conveys.
Practice of Fikar with consciousness of breath develops what can be called
the ark which carries the soul symbolically in the next world and carries the
soul actually in all worlds.
The key words are "practice" and "consciousness", or awareness of breath. These relate to functions and processes, not theory. The effect is clearly stated. Through this practice and consciousness of what is taking place, is a means that carries the soul to all worlds. The process becomes one of familiarity and awareness of functions of breath, not just words or sayings or recitations or intentions, no matter how lofty or hopeful. One rests, works, and lives within and through these expanding and growing awarenesses. Be careful not to get caught in words or forms, no matter how "divine" or uplifting. It is when you put these aside and then rest/soar/become through the breath/light/love that grows that "you" are carried. They are like a horse you ride to the door. You have to dismount to walk through. Placing attention on functions allows you to grow and connect without limit or diversion. The remainder are steps to this.
Identifying oneself with breath is a form of self-effacement which takes
one from mortality to immortality. Material things are left behind; spiritual
'things' are carried to the next world. Breath-identity carries one to and through
the next world.
This clarifies and goes further in applying the previous step. The "how" is through identity being actually of the breath and how it moves, exists, is. This connects further to that so-called Divine Breath and then allows, permits, encourages, really urges and opens the way for the personality practicing these techniques or methods to take the next step. That is to identify with the breath that has been "revealed" to you and of which, in part, you are now further aware. At this point, identification of yourself can grow toward, with, and as this breath. Become even higher. Now if you are able also to keep rooted in this physical world at the same time, you have become more complete in function. The "head is in the air" while the "feet are in the ground". The heart is the great connector and balancer of all. Beloved, become are you are - now.
All the denseness of earth is left behind when one has this breath realization.
This opens the way to be fully human.