Chapter 3: Breath - A Bridge to the Universe
So the real thing is how to be here and now. You can try, but effort may prove futile - because if you make it a point to be in the present, then this point has moved into the future. When you ask how to be in the present, again you are asking about the future. This moment is passing in the inquiry, “How to be present? How to be here and now?” This present moment is passing in the inquiry, and your mind will begin to weave and create dreams in the future: some day you will be in a state of mind where there is no movement, no motive, no seeking, and then there will be bliss - so how to be in the present?
Shiva doesn’t say anything about it, he simply gives a technique. You do it, and suddenly you find you are here and now. And your being here and now is the truth, and your being here and now is the freedom, and your being here and now is the nirvana.
The first nine techniques are concerned with breathing. So let us understand something about breathing, and then we will proceed to the techniques. We are breathing continuously from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Everything changes between these two points. Everything changes, nothing remains the same, only breathing is a constant thing between birth and death.
The child will become a youth; the youth will become old. He will be diseased, his body will become ugly, ill, everything will change. He will be happy, unhappy, in suffering; everything will go on changing. But whatsoever happens between these two points, one must breathe. Whether happy or unhappy, young or old, successful or unsuccessful - whatsoever you are, it is irrelevant - one thing is certain: between these two points of birth and death you must breathe.
Breathing will be a continuous flow; no gap is possible. If even for a single moment you forget to breathe, you will be no more. That is why you are not required to breathe, because then it would be difficult. Someone might forget to breathe for a single moment, and then nothing could be done. So, really, you are not breathing, because you are not needed. You are fast asleep, and breathing goes on; you are unconscious, and breathing goes on; you are in a deep coma, and breathing goes on. You are not required; breathing is something which goes on in spite of you.
It is one of the constant factors in your personality - that is the first thing. It is something which is very essential and basic to life - that is the second thing. You cannot be alive without breath. So breath and life have become synonymous. Breathing is the mechanism of life, and life is deeply related with breathing. That is why in India we call it prana. We have given one word for both - prana means the vitality, the aliveness. Your life is your breath.
Thirdly, your breath is a bridge between you and your body. Constantly, breath is bridging you to your body, connecting you, relating you to your body. Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe. The body is just the universe which has come to you, which is nearer to you.