Breath is an important part of many religions.

Of course in the Old Testament, breath is what animates, or gives life to, a being.


In Eastern religions, breath has a unique significance. As a focus for spiritual practices, it overlaps with awareness in an interesting way.

 Awareness is considered the root of spirituality, just as breath is considered the root of "life" (i.e., the life in a body). So awareness of breath is as essential an awareness as you can get.

But there is a more important aspect of breath. As a function in humans, it can be either conscious or unconscious. In other words, breath exists as one of the most basic functions. Whether you are awake or asleep, you are breathing. But awareness is fleeting. Still, awareness does not exist in the unconscious (or at least it is not noticeable).

So, combining awareness and breath causes breath to become a sort of threshold between consciousness and unconsciousness, or the subconscious. In other words, or in the language of Jung, awareness of breath allows access to the most primitive forms of elements that had been sacrificed to form the ego.

Vipassana is an excellent example of a technique that tries to take advantage of the relationship between awareness and breath. http://www.dhamma.org/ 

 

Natural Laws are the natural boundaries of the universe.

If you have one blade of grass in one hand, and another blade of grass in the other hand, and you put them together, there will be two blades of grass. Certain people might try to change that law to suit their motives, but long after their motives and modified law are gone the simple reality of the natural law will still be there.

Natural laws are a tree you can climb.

The important thing to remember about climbing trees is that you did not plant them or tell their branches where to go. First you look at the branches, then you follow where they lead.

The word "learning" has several distinctly different meanings.

"Learning" that takes place in an individual, as part of a group, is more accurately "training", not learning. You can argue that "Well, I was in a class of thirty people but I learned my own things" etc. Actually learning is dependent on a specific psychological climate. If you are part of a group, at a particular moment, you are not learning.

When you are a child (i.e., part of a family), you are learning how to learn, but the content of any actual learning is disposable. When you are in a classroom at a school you are almost never even learning how to learn, rather you are being trained to accept training.

If a person does not understand the difference between training and learning, it is very difficult to give them that understanding. The best that can be offered is the axiom " An individual learns, a group is trained". Human cleverness might bring some people to go into depth about how they were "an individual among the many" or some other nonsense. If you are in a group, regardless of your relationship to the others, your status, etc, then you are not learning. There is no such thing as 100% in a group or 100% independent but a person generally is either alone (learning) or in a group (training).

Intelligence is the associating or discriminating of things (concepts, objects etc). For example, a person who naturally associates clouds with rain is more intelligent than one who doesn't. Or also, a person who discriminates between a storm cloud and a fair weather cloud is more intelligent than one who doesn't.

Intelligence can be qualified many ways.

One way is to put it on a continuum that describes its usefulness in new (original) situations. Anything learned as part of a group forces an investment in a status quo that discourages new experience. There is a huge amount of cleverness invested in obscuring this reality. If you learn something as part of a group, you are learning to serve that group, not to serve any individual growth. There are no exceptions.

Every tradition that lasts through generations has some version of "the golden rule". Some form of "Treat others as you wish to be treated" or "Do no harm".

The Hippocratic Oath is one of the most famous such codes.

I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art.

The Western, technological mind likes to compartmentalize things arbitrarily, or for convenience, rather than based on understanding.

Energy is usually viewed as either a) One facet of anything. In other words anything can be viewed in terms of "energy". Or b) a narrow classification into which certain things fall.

In the first instance, a person would normally perceive the gross physical world as a kind of "slow energy", there being no such thing as an utterly static physical object. The default state of everything would be "alive", though that "aliveness" is only visible to a person according to their ability to see.

In the second instance, there is energy, meaning light, heat, motion etc, and there is also non energy, meaning static objects. Living things generally are considered a bridge in which static matter contains a certain type of energy.

Balance is a concept that only develops with age and experience.

If a child understood the concept of balance well, he or she would not develop. Imagine a child who avoided happy things because he or she knew they would be balanced later.

Balance is a bridge between dualism (e.g. "people") and spiritual ideals.

It isn't something any person can capture or describe, but has to be hunted as an unknown that continually evolves. If you find a reliable balance in something your natural reaction will usually be to profit from your realization, but nature will correct you.

Awareness is the centerpiece of all genuine spiritual traditions.

For alchemists who referred to a secret process that would turn low metal into gold, awareness was the mysterious substance that needed to be added in order for the reaction to happen. The secret Philosopher's stone.

Of all the abilities and gifts and senses that a being has, awareness is the highest one that everyone possesses. You can have any amazing ability or sense or whatever, but they all start and end in awareness.

Some Buddhists spend years cultivating awareness by focusing on breathing or enduring disciplines meant to strengthen awareness. Anyone who has spent any time with that type of person understands why awareness is often symbolized as a light.