It is just like – your body is there, and you, your consciousness, is hidden deep down in your body. The body is a protection, a vehicle. The body is the visible vehicle for the non-visible you. And the same is the case with every breath. The breath itself is just the outer layer; hidden deep in it is life itself.
Once you discover that in breath there is hidden God himself you have come to know yourself. That’s why there is so much insistence and so much search in yoga, Tao and tantra about breathing. If you simply go on breathing and thinking that this is just air coming in and going out you will never be able to penetrate the mystery of it. And you will remain completely oblivious of yourself. Then you will remain rooted in the body. You will never be able to know that which goes beyond the body, that which is within but yet beyond, that which is hidden in the body but not obstructed by the body, not limited by the body. A beyond within.
In each breath that life has to be discovered.
Yoga calls those methods pranayama. The word pranayama means expansion of life. One has to expand life to infinity in each breath.
Buddha has called his own methods of discovering the innermost core of breath anapanasati yoga: the yoga, the science, of incoming and outgoing breath; and Buddha has said no other yoga is needed. If you can deeply watch your own breathing, and watch so meditatively that anything that is hidden in the breath does not remain hidden but becomes revealed, you will come to know all.
Looks simple, is difficult.
Buddha said to his monks: Sitting, walking, standing, whatsoever you are doing, go on doing these things, but let your consciousness be aware of the breath coming in, going out. Go on looking at your own breath – one day with the very continuous hammering on the breath, the temple opens.
The God is hidden in the temple of the breath. Suddenly one day you become aware that it is not just air. If for you it is just air, you have a scientific mind but you don’t have the awareness which can reveal the innermost core of it. Then you can analyze and come to know how much oxygen is needed, how much hydrogen, how much nitrogen, how much carbon dioxide, and you can go on playing with the body of the breath – but you missed the innermost real phenomenon.
That’s why, if a man is dead, you can give him, pump into him, the right proportion of oxygen, but he will not be alive.
Unless God breathes in it, unless it contains the innermost consciousness of the whole, it is a dead breath. Oxygen will pass through the lungs – nothing will happen.
Breath is the first action – and it is not your action.
The second action is thirst. That too is not your action. What do you do to feel thirsty? If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. Can you try to feel thirsty? That is impossible! It happens deep inside you. God breathes in you, God feels thirsty in you – or the whole does; when I say God I mean the whole. The part is just a part.