PART 2, The (Passive) Awareness of the Breath:


When observing oneself without distractions in stillness, one should  notice that, while everything else in one’s body is relatively still, the breathing mechanism is not. Heart and other internally moving functions are so well designed and hidden within the body, that the consciousness in a well-functioning body will not notice them. And there is no lack of consciousness involved in not noticing those internally moving functions, because they are designed by God not to be noticed.

However, the breathing mechanism and its functioning is quite different. Those functions are relatively massive and cause movement in a number of parts of the body, all of which movements are noticeable and not at all hidden. As one breathes, air goes in and out of the throat and mouth in enough volume to be readily noticed. The diaphragm usually moves in and out. And the chest usually moves up and down. All are massive physical movements. To be unaware of them is to be unconscious, i.e., lacking in conscious awareness of something apparent and clearly noticeable.

It is that lack of awareness of the most massive passive/involuntary physical action of the body that is the seat of all human unconsciousness. Until a person can be steadily aware of his/her breathing, that person cannot be considered conscious. The innate unevenness of the breathing process, with which we are born, also represents a state of highly non-rational human existence in the sense of the use of the human body:


Because the chest is the heaviest part of the body. Having the chest go up and down, lifting all that weight each time one breathes, is not a rational use of energy. It is a wasteful use of energy.

Until the body’s original unevenness of breathing is smoothed out and further rationalized, the person can never achieve the more meaningful, as well as more health-furthering, possibilities of human experience.

But the breathing mechanism on its own, without help from the consciousness in the body, has taken care of the body so far, providing much that the consciousness in the body cannot be aware of. The breathing must be allowed to continue doing so without the person interfering with those functions. The smoothing of the breath must, therefore, be a passive activity of the person, and not an active one. Because, even if someone  could concentrate on enough to provide the body what it needs, hex could not sustain that concentration all the time, especially not when sleeping.

So the body must be left alone to breathe as it needs to breathe, while the person smoothes the breathing. That is accomplished by means of a specific passive kind of suggestion and not by active physical interference with the breathing.

When calmly observing the breathing, there are two things happening:


1) the body is breathing and

2) the mind is observing the breathing

While the body is breathing, the mind should be following along with it, without doing anything more than observing, without interfering with it at all, in any way.

This stage of simply calmly and passively observing the breathing is called “Observing the Breath”.

Just simply observing the breath, without doing anything else, is the first stage of the development of the breath on the Path.

The observing of the breath is not yet the smoothing of the breath. The Smoothing of the Breath is the second stage of the development of the breath. Before one can begin the second stage of the breath, the first stage of always being aware of the breath has to be practiced quite a long time…..…long enough for it to have been made habit, not only when in still, quiet meditative states, but all the time, no matter what one is doing (except for moments of danger etc., that demand one’s full concentration on externals).

Therefore, the first stage of the progress of the breath on the Path is the observing of the breath, without any active interference with it whatsoever!


At this point, one starts a delicate manner of thinking about or imagining the breath:

Of course the breath come in into the lungs and goes out of the lungs by way of the air passages of the body. But for these purposes, one should think of the breath as coming in up your back and going out down the front. One should think of the breath coming in up the back and up over and around the head in an arc, then going out down the front of the body, then around in and arc under the body, between the legs and then back up the back of the body as it again comes in. This imagining the breath as going up the back, around the head, then out the front and around between the legs serves on its own to calm the unevenness of the breathing and cause the breathing to calm down faster than it otherwise would in the same situation. The trick is to be careful not to physically influence the breathing in any active way.

Although the passive observation of the breath may seem rather simple, it is, actually, a very powerful step of the Path: just the observing of the breathing alone, with absolutely no interference from the observer, should go quite far towards the calming and smoothing out of the breathing on its own. The person should find him/herself calming down and becoming still much more quickly than if he were not aware of the breath. And in situations of stress, fright, upset, or accident, etc., the awareness of the breath is very powerful in keeping oneself “together”, composed, detached and able to act effectively.

The observing of the breath is the major first step of the Path, upon which almost everything else builds. It should be made habit as soon as possible.

This step of the Path is also very important for developing/expanding consciousness.


Because the observing of the breath all the time implies being aware of more than one thing at once. It implies being aware of/watching the breathing while one is going about all the other things one does during the day. That means an extra thing has been added to the things, of which one is usually aware. All the time!

For most people, the capacity to watch the breath and do all other things one has to do has to be developed slowly. Over long periods of time. But it is important not to go on with any major steps of the Path until the capacity to be aware of the breath most of the time has developed. Whether or not it will develop is solely in the hands of God, since it is God who supplies our consciousnesses, and everything else about us.

Here it begins to become apparent why the candidate for the Path, which is really the Path to God, has to understand and act the way God would want us all to act. And how God would want us all to act, while always moral and not infringing upon others, is not always the way we are taught.

All emotions are physical patterns in the body, including emotions of bad conscience. Therefore, the worst enemy of the Path is a bad conscience towards God himself.

Everyone really knows what they should do and how they should act, especially with regard to their discipline and control of themselves. But few do what they know they should…..always. Bad conscience from having given up too soon, not disciplining oneself, misusing one’s body, etc. will cause physical patterns in the body that will preclude a successful pursuit of the Path.