The book of Genesis says that when God formed the first human, God breathed into the man’s nostrils the breath of life. Animated and empowered by the Creator’s breath, the man then became a living being. A soul within a body.
Jewish tradition echoes scripture in teaching that every breath we take from our first to our last, is the breath of God breathing within us. Like Adam, as God breathed his spirit into our nostrils and filled his breath into our lungs when we emerged from the womb, we too became animated and empowered with God’s spirit. We became a spiritual being, a soul embodied, connected to and part of God’s own body.
The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach, which means wind. The wind within our lungs is God’s spirit flowing from the Divine into our body, enriching our blood, filling us with life-giving oxygen straight from the Creator. Our breath is thus sacred, holy, the very life-force of God, which anchors us, empowers us, sustains us, and guides us on our life’s journey.
Wouldn’t it be like God to make it that simple? Our breath is the spirit of God breathing within us. And as we become more aware of our breath, we become more aware of God’s presence within us. We connect with the Divine spirit, God’s wind within us, the God-Wind.
To connect more deeply with God’s presence in your life, here’s a simple exercise you might consider trying each morning or throughout the day to relax and center yourself:
Take a moment, sit back, relax, and close your eyes.
Focus on your breath.
Take several slow, deep breaths.
Feel the air flowing into your nostrils and filling your lungs with rich oxygen.
Notice your chest and abdomen rise and fall as you breathe.
Feel the gentle tingling of air cascading through your blood and into your arms and legs and the rest of your body.
Notice how your breathing relaxes you,
quiets you for a moment,
allows you to become anchored.
Feel the presence of peace, happiness, connection flowing within you.
Sit quietly for a few moments and simply savor your experience as you enjoy your breath.
If your mind drifts, gently bring your focus back to your breath as you open your heart to the Presence.
After several moments, when you are ready, open your eyes.
What did you notice?
What did you experience?
What did you receive?
If you want to reconnect with the Presence during the course of your day, simply become aware of your breath for a few moments, letting it center and balance you.
You’ve connected with the God-Wind, your soul. You connected with the life-line to your Source because the breath within you is the very breath of God—the breath that connects you to the Creator and sustains you like an umbilical cord. And with every breath we take we are One with the Author of Life.
—brian j plachta
I never got that kiss with Teresa. But as I reflect on that long-ago night, I realize Sister Carmella shared two pieces of wisdom I’ll never forget: to leave room for Jesus and the healing power of a smile.