Let Us Breathe, Let Us Pray

Jul 16, 2020

Susan Boruff writes today’s reflection and Kathy Anderson follows with a meditation video. Susan and Kathy frequently present retreats at our Center and we look forward to welcoming them back sometime soon. Let’s take a few moments to quietly reflect on their thoughts.

Let Us Breathe, Let Us PrayBreath prayer

By: Susan Boruff

And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22

My nurse daughter Katherine, who lives in Washington DC, has been working in a COVID-19 ICU periodically. She also attended Take Twelve Today’s first online retreat “Healing Our World One Person at a Time.” We start each session with some Breath Work and we end each session with some discussion time. She recently shared the following insight. “Has anyone noticed that our COVID-19 patients are dying from suffocation, they can’t breathe? And we had the death of George Floyd whose breath was purposefully taken away; he couldn’t breathe. And now we have a movement of people stating, ‘I can’t breathe!’”

I recently read an article about the Dreamers whom were interviewed after the Supreme Court ruling that prevents them from being deported for the time being. One dreamer, an immigration lawyer said, “I have been holding my breath. It feels like I can finally breathe.” Another said, “I feel like I could breathe after the ruling.”

The breath has a lot of power. It is what gives us life and it is what sustains our life. We are not responsible for sustaining and preserving our life. Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” The word is powered by the breath. The air in our lungs fuels our voice. Just as Jesus breathed on his disciples, The Holy Spirit empowers us to bring the breath of life into everything around us.

Maybe those of us that can breathe, can breathe the breath of life into those that can’t. This is what the Holy Spirit empowers us to do. What does that look like for you? How can you resuscitate those around you that need this life sustaining breath?

Those of us with the will to serve can help those around us that continue to struggle with the will to survive.

Kathy and I have been teaching breath work for almost 10 years. We tell the following story as an introduction into The Breath Prayer Practice:

Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, tells of a Jesuit friend who sought instructions from a Hindu guru in the art of prayer. The guru said to him, “concentrate on your breathing.” The friend did and then the guru said, “The air you breathe is God. You are breathing God in and breathing God out. Become aware of that and stay with that awareness.” The friend followed these instructions day after day until he discovered that prayer could be simply a matter of breathing in and out.

We all breathe the same recycled air. Take a few minutes right now and focus on your breath. Breathe in and out slowly. Our breathing is involuntary. See if you can shift your focus to being aware of God, Spirit and/or the Universe breathing you.

Next bring your awareness to the free-flowing breath between the members of the Holy Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is a mutual sharing, honoring and respect between the three. Picture yourself being a part of this sharing of breath.

Now bring that same awareness to the people around you. And then to the world around you.

You have now begun the practice of “praying without ceasing” as St. Paul instructs in 1 Thessalonians.

Writing and teaching about the breath is a favorite topic. My pastor friend, Kevin, shared with me, “I think of Jesus directing his last breath to the Father (into Your hands I commit my spirit/breath) and guess what? Jesus got His breath back.”

Jesus got His breath back in order to share it with you. How are you going to share it with others?

“There are no strict rules to breathe! You breathe the way your mind and body ask you to breathe. When you listen, the breath works with you.” ~Dr. Sundar Balasubramanian

Now you are invited to spend some time with Kathy discovering the power of the breath!

Find a quiet place to sit with your back straight, which opens up your chest and opens up your heart to receive. The meditation is 13 minutes and includes several pauses and three minutes of silent time.