Breathe in. Breathe out. What do you hear?
You hear the sound of your breath.
What does your breath sound like? Breath sounds like breath.
I was thinking about how “breath sounds like breath” as I was walking along the beach, listening to the waves crash on the sand. They have a push and pull. A roar and a groan. Like your breath. In a way, it is your breath. The oceans produce some 50 to 80% of the oxygen in the air – allowing you to breathe. It’s amazing. The oceans are the lungs of your world. You breathe in what they breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breath itself is an act of transference. Oxygen is brought into your blood and carbon dioxide is returned to nature. The oxygen in your blood is used to break apart chemical bonds in your cells, providing you with energy. It’s the fuel that powers you. And the waste, carbon dioxide, you transfer to all of the plant matter around the world that use carbon dioxide as their fuel. Transference.
This transference is fascinating. Because while your inhale and exhale breaths are opposites, they facilitate the inhale and exhale of others. You are taking reciprocal breaths with nature. In short, your breath out and the ocean’s breath out cancel each other. There is no opposite. There is just breath.
Breath sounds like breath. Breath is breath. It just is.
Sanskrit, the oldest language in the world, spoken some 5,000 years before Christ, gives us the yogic mantra, Soham, which literally translates as “I am [s]he” or “I am that.” In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad there is a verse that describes how, at the beginning of the universe, the Self became aware of itself as “I” (slightly modified):
In the beginning this universe was the Self alone…
[S]he, the Self, reflected and saw nothing but the Self. [S]he first said,
“I am.” Therefore, [s]he came to be known by the name aham.
The name aham indicates that God experiences itself subjectively as “I.”
In the Old Testament, when Moses meets the burning bush in the wilderness some 3,000 years before Christ, he asks, “Who are you?”
The response is “I am that I am.” Not “I am God” or “I am the creator.” Just “I am that I am.”
Jesus said some 2,000 years ago, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Why would the “I am” define itself this way?
The sound of your breath is the same concept. Call it God, call it the creator, call it the universe’s divine force, whatever it is, it is so all-encompassing that it cannot define itself except by itself.
We call this tautology. Defining something by itself. I am that I am. Breath is breath.
Breath is breath. Why do I keep bringing this up? It’s because we can see the shadows of the divine tautological creation all through nature. In the ocean. In your breath.
The ancient Sanskrit word for God – Soham – describes God in two syllables that mean “I am.”
Two syllables. Two beats. In-out. In-out.
Like your breath. Like your heartbeat. Like the ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves. The name of the creation is reflected all throughout nature in these push-pull moments of transference and creation.
I thought about this as I finished my walk along the beach, as I listened to the roar of the ocean reflect back the divine utterance. I thought about how each heartbeat and each breath we breathe are unconscious prayers, connecting us to the source of eternal creation.
Isn’t it magnificent? The sound of our breath is the same sound of our ancient, divine verb “to be.” And that ancient divinity reveals itself as “I am that I am.”
What this means is that the act of being yourself is divine. Existence is all-encompassing. This is why we see the word Soham reflected back through all of our existence. Our breath and our heartbeat reflect back “I” and “am,” which means “existence.” It means “to be.” And our heartbeats and our breath are the key fires of our existence. Each breath sings “I am. I exist.”
I am that I am. Your existence is boundless. Any attempt to define “I am” for yourself, with anything other than “I am,” will be confusing.
Don’t let yourself be defined in confusing terms. Don’t allow yourself to be boxed in by any definition that removes a single element of your boundless self. Instead, listen to your breath.
Each breath you take, repeat the ancient phrase, Soham, “I am that I am.” You are what you are. Embrace your limitlessness. Embrace your divinity. God is within you.