Does religion improve your results?
“Just don’t talk about religion or politics.” This is an old expression some of you will recognize. They used to tell us that going into a new job or school. Seems to be good advice these days, especially.
When we began our dialogues around Intentional Breathing, we said to benefit from the practice, it wasn’t necessary to bring religion to it. We also said religious requirements were a part of the myth that keeps us from using the most amazing tool we have to face life on Earth: our breath.
And so, it is. You don’t need religion when you’re catching your breath, changing your mood, or controlling your high blood pressure, but:
If you want religion in it, chances are it can help. Religion includes miracles, remember.
Of course it can help, and as you may imagine, we use religion at the altar quite a bit. Depending on the purpose of our work, we meditate both with religion and without religion.
Our decision to use religion or not depends on our state of mind and whether or not we are working for others in the course of any particular meditation. We also work with the religions/beliefs of our customers.
What does Religion mean to you?
That’s one of those questions that’s always being asked, from outside us and from within. We’ve all had family backgrounds along with the results of our own learning along the way. We’ve all rejected some of that background, and sometimes all of it. We’ve added our own ways and experiences. Either way, we are not the same Catholics/Methodists/Muslims our Grandparents were. One could say we have a spirituality made of religious backgrounds and life experiences.
The point is: when you bring religion to intentional breathing, your views and practices will change, constantly, because breathing is about now. That means anything we think about during our intentional breathing is about now.
Should You Decide to Bring Religion To Your Intentional Breathing
Keep it simple and build slowly. We want to keep our focus on our breath so add elements of praise and worship where they don’t confuse your main focus.
For instance: if you’re doing a 15 minute meditation to concentrate, rest, heal or simply learn, see it as if you and the God you invoke are doing this together, as a practice for you, and an opportunity for contact both for you and for the deity.
Look at it as a way to let the deity answer you. He or She knows your situation already, so breathe, call upon your God, and listen, wait. Communication, remember, happens in many ways. With time, trust us, you’ll feel the contact.
Are you asking, thanking or complaining? If you’re using religion, chances are you’re doing one of these things. It’s good to be clear about what you’re doing.
Intentional breathing is also for health and understanding of oneself. Too much religion with hopes, fears and doubts floating around can get in the way of your main goal.
Of course, those are exactly the thoughts that come up in meditation, the very thoughts you are trying to silence in your breathing. The standard recommendation in meditation circles around the world is to acknowledge the thought, see it, and let it pass working your way back to your focus or mental silence. With that in mind try the following:
If you’re asking, pay no mind to the result, at least not in the meditation. Pay attention to the feeling of what you want.
If you’re grateful, say thanks fully, with and in your breathing. Feel it.
If you’re complaining, do it before or after the meditation. Feeling the essence of a complaining mood just doesn’t help much.
If you have hopes, stay focused on one and fit it in where it makes sense, before, after or during the inhale/exhale. By all means focus on the feeling of what you want, not its lack.
You can see that if we bring all the teachings of a religion to intentional breathing, we’re doing something else besides intentional breathing, aren’t we?
Leave dogma and guilt outside. Bring the essence, the feeling, of what you seek. Let your breath make it sacred in the now.
Be open to what you’ll see, and always remember that all-time favorite – Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.