Monday, December 16, 2013

The Gift of Breath

Day 29 of 29 Days of Spiritual Messages.
29 Days Template (27)
The Gospel of Philip, one of the Gnostic Gospels, is the source for today's inspiration. The Gospel of Philip is not related to the canonical gospels in the Christian bible. Considered a heretical text by clerical authorities, it is most famous for describing Jesus as Mary Magdalene's "koinonos," or companion, which led to the popular theory that they were married.

Whatever the case, the Gospel of Philip provides a collection of Gnostic teachings and reflections on the origins and nature of mankind, including the sacraments of marriage, baptism, and anointing with consecrated oil.

In this gospel, it says:

"Glass decanters and earthenware jugs are both made by means of fire. But if glass decanters break, they are done over, for they came into being through a breath. If earthenware jugs break, however, they are destroyed, for they came into being without a breath."

This passage speaks to our origins. We are either the "earthenware jug," molded from clay and earth, or the "glass decanter," blown into existence from molten glass. Though the techniques are different, fire is the common element needed to produce the jug or decanter. One ends in fire; the other begins in fire. However, "breath" is the operative word in this passage.

Without breath, there is no life.

Made of opaque, earthen materials, the jug when shattered is destroyed "for [it] came into being without breath." It is gone for good. Lost. It may be pieced back together, but it will never be the same. Likewise, without Spirit in our lives, we will remain broken and in darkness.

Formed by the breath blown into it, the glass decanter when shattered can be melted down in fire and re-formed "because [it] came into being through the breath." All is not lost. The fire of Spirit purifies us in our state of brokenness, giving us a new form. Spirit reanimates us, giving us a fresh start.

Our breath is much more than a physical exercise of oxygen in, oxygen out. It’s an act we do day by day, minute by minute. Without it, we’d have no physical life. Physical breathing is necessary for energy production and body functions. It is a miracle we seem to take for granted.

Ruah is the Hebrew word for breath. Interestingly, it is also the word for spirit. Our breath is the animating spirit that flows in and through us. As we breathe, the Universe breathes. This is our life force. When we approach breath in this context, we understand it as a divine gift.

Breath connects us with our Inner Source. As we become conscious of our breath, we begin to understand it as an extension of the life force. Spirit is closer than our next breath because it is our breath.

Stop whatever you are doing.
Just breathe.

Breathe deep.
Breathe slow.

Feel your chest expand.
Feel it contract.

Give gratitude for every single breath you take.
Each breath is the heartbeat of the Universe.

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