In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. The earth was shapeless and empty… God said 'let the light be made' and the light was made (Genesis 1)
Then, God molded man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2)
The breath, the breath, the sound, the soul. Are we not talking about the same principle when we talk about all these aspects? So let's start at the beginning.
Breath - From the Latin 'spiritu'; From the Greek 'Pneuma'
Spiritu - Meaning - Breath, spirit, soul
Pneumatics - Meaning - Breath, spirit, soul
In contemporary medicine “pneuma” is used as a prefix to name diseases linked to the respiratory system, such as 'Pneumonia'. Are respiratory diseases diseases of the spirit?
There seems to be an old relationship between the breath and our soul. If we look at myths about the creation of the world and the universe, in the most diverse cultures on the planet, we realize that the “creator of everything” in these ancient stories usually uses it as a tool to create, sound, breath, breath or breath.
In the beginning it was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Everything was done by him; and nothing that has been done has been done without it. (John 1: 1-4)
When studying the science of breathing, the first thing we notice is the fact that it is audible: it is a word in itself, because what we call a word is just a verbal manifestation of the breath produced by the mouth and the tongue. Through the ability of the mouth, the breath becomes a voice, hence we understand that the primordial state of a word is the breath. If we say: "In the beginning it was the breath", this is the same as saying "in the beginning it was the Word". The first sign of life that is known is sound - and sound is also a word. (BERENDT, 1993, p. 47)
Verb = Sound = Word = Breath = Soul = God
God has an outside voice and is not afraid to use it. But when he wants to be heard, when what he has to say is too important to be lost, he usually speaks in a whisper just above the absolute threshold of hearing […] God's whisper is soft, but there is nothing more powerful. (Mark Batterson)
The voice of the spirit is as soft as the breeze from the west, so soft that, unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you will never hear it. (Oswald Chambers)
The Whisper is a Breath with a hint of Sound
We can say that the typical use of whispering is for secrecy purposes. No other form of communication is more intimate. When someone speaks in a whisper, you have to get very close to listen. We lean towards the whisper, and that is what God wants. The aim of listening to the voice of God is not just to listen to his voice; is to be intimate with him. So he speaks in a whisper. He wants to be as close to us as divinely possible! The Almighty might intimidate you with his outward voice, but he woos you with a whisper. And your whisper is the breath of life itself. Wasn't that how God created Adam? He blew the dust and called him Adam. Adam was once a whisper. You too! (Mark Batterson)
Among the facts is the whisper. It is the whisper that impresses me. (The hour of the star - Clarisse Lispector)
God's breathing seems to have given rise to the world, but breathing is also the first action we take when we are born and soon becomes a sound through the baby's cry. It is also the last action we take before we die.
Air is precious to the red man, because all creatures breathe in common - animals, trees, man ... The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a dying man in prolonged agony, he is insensitive to fetid air. But if we sell you our land, you will have to remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it sustains. The wind that gave our great-grandfather his first breath of life, also receives his last breath. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it reserved, like a sanctuary, as a place where the white man himself can go and savor the wind, sweetened with the fragrance of country flowers. (Excerpt from Chief Seattle's Letter)
The Wind is the Breath of the Planet
Breathing, the wind, connect animal and plant life, connect earth to the sky: animals need oxygen and release carbon dioxide, while plants need carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. The winds carry clouds distributing rain across the planet, balance the temperatures, transport seeds and incredibly the winds carry dust from the Sahara desert for thousands of kilometers to the Amazonian forests, its dust is rich in phosphorus acting as fertilizer for the tropical forest.
Sound is implicit in all human acts. Even immobile, our body is full of sounds: blood rushing through arteries, heartbeat, digestion of food. In each particle, in each atom, sounds attest that we are alive. Even after death, the process of disintegration of the physical structure is marked by dozens of sound emanations. In this way, we find the origin in magic that involves people's speculations about sound. Since the first act of awareness of the species, the aspect that called the most attention was the sound, represented by the Supernatural Entities. Since the wind, the sea and the rain, the sound was the aspect that most instigated the human mind. The need to unveil these mysteries made man train his voice and his body to reproduce these magical sounds and, in this way, communicate with the gods through songs, mantras, whistles, musical instruments and the most diverse creations that the imaginary allowed. . In this evolutionary act, when societies started, man created codes to communicate. From the breath, words emerge, the sound becomes complex and takes on meanings.
The acoustic element always intervenes in the creation of the world, whether in the form of howling (belief of the ancient Egyptians and some primitive tribes of Africa), of blowing, or of vocal sounds, manifested in the most diverse sound possibilities.
In mythologies, the creator God comes in many different forms. In Africa, Mulungu, the creator god of the Kamba, is a flute, just as for the Japanese. Among the Kato, Pomo and Yuki of California, the God is a great snore; For the Egyptians and Chinese, the breeder is a crocodile, which strikes the belly with its own tail, that is, it is a drum. This instrument also appears venerated in Asia Minor, as the God Ea or Enki. In the Caucasus, land was separated from the sea by blowing two tubes; in Japan, a sacred cane gave rise to the creator.
The Upanishad (Holy Scriptures of Hinduism), never tire of repeating to us that the OM or AUM sounds are “immortal and intrepid” syllables that create the world. There is a coincidence between the creation myths of Hindus and Christians. OM is the Word. Among the Chinese, the Hindus and the Christians, there is also a unity: in both cultures the creation myths arise from the emanation of sound. The earthly manifestation of the Chinese “One Origin”, the Hindu OM and the Christian Word is similar, an audible vibrating wave on our planet. The book of the Vedas says: “In the beginning it was Brahma, with whom the Word was. And the Word is Brahma ”. Tibetans say: "In the beginning it was OM". The Gospel according to Saint John says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God". These quotes confirm that God created the universe through a vibrating emanation. The most diverse archaic cultures use variants of the syllable OM to express this vibrational emanation. "The Cosmic Sound, impregnated with the essence of Consciousness, has been widely known as AUM, AMN, AMEN, AMEEN, OMEN, OMON, I AM, HU, YAHUVAH".
The Sumerians believed that the gods had created the universe with their "mighty orders". In a similar way, life and matter were created through a sacred verb or verbs pronounced by the first god or gods, in the myths of the Hebrews, Celts, Chinese, Egyptians, American Indians and Mayan Quichuas […] The same idea comes back to appear in the Pythagorean concept of Harmony of the Spheres, a concept that had considerable influence in the early Christian and medieval ages. (Ibidem, p. 224)
Marius Schneider mentions that, in Aztec mythology, the creator was immobile and inaudible. Tired, he hurled the mountain in the distance and broke his silence to create the world and human beings. “Then he sang: Let the world be made! And the world was made ”In the Christian religion, the“ Book of Genesis ”shows that, with each order given by God, an element of the universe is created. That is, the element is created by the vibratory emanation of the given order, by the action of sound.
A legend among Tibetans says that the act of creation arose out of the wind, which, upon sounding, was transformed into different forms.
In the beginning, it was the wind. With his agitation he created the gjatams, the primeval forms and the first foundation of the world. The wind sounded, and as a sound, it formed matter. The sound of these first gjatams developed new forms that, by virtue of their sounds, in turn created other forms […] (Ibidem, p. 221)
According to cosmogonic myths, under the most diverse forms and metamorphoses or using wind or percussion instruments, the creator God and his assistant gods used sound to perform the act of creation. Breathing, an essential element in life, stopped the stagnation of water, the darkness of the night or contemplation, so that all forms and living beings could be created through sound. Whatever the form used or transforming instrument, the act of creation is always described as an acoustic phenomenon. Even today, among Aborigines and mediumistic sects, there is a belief that contact with the gods is accomplished through magic words, which give shamans, shamans and mediums the healing power, and the ability to achieve altered states of consciousness. According to Hindus, the creationist syllable OM is the essence of sáman (song) and breath. OM is the primeval mantra, from this syllable gradually all the matter in the world.
For them, it is essential that this syllable be chanted constantly so that there is a balance between these forces and, consequently, life itself on earth and all beings on it remain in balance. Therefore, by keeping cosmogonic myths alive, through chants and mantras, the various mantra sects and cultures renew the symbolic consumption of these archaic cultures, keeping them alive and bringing new meanings.
In Taoism, the breath is called Qi, it is linked to vitality, it is the creative and conservative force of life. The language written in China is represented by symbols, or ideograms. The etymological significance of
Most Chinese alchemy teachings recognize that Qi is a type of metaphysical energy that surrounds, permeates and exists in nature and in all beings: that is, Qi is the “breath of universal energy” existing in everything and in all.
The intermediate space between heaven and earth is filled by a breath, the Qi, in which man lives, just as a fish lives in water. This same intermediate or subtle area is, in India, called Vayu, (wind or vital breath, the God of the wind). Vayu is the thread (sutra) that connects all the worlds together.
The structure of the microcosm is identical to that of the macrocosm: Just as the universe is connected through Vayu, man is connected by his breaths, pranas,… which govern vital functions and not just the respiratory rhythm. (CHEVALIER, 2009. p.850)
Ajayô - “is an African expression that means a breath of greeting to Oxalá. It is often spoken in a sense similar to the expression "if God wishes" or "hopefully" and is used to greet someone. "
As in every culture, the Yoruba cosmogony also has its theory about the creation of the world, of beings and of the deities' performance in this episode. The great God of creation is Olorun, the supreme God. In the moment before creation, all that existed was an infinite mass of air. Such a mass was Olorun himself. By moving slowly and breathing, Olorun gave rise to water. From the relationship between water and air, he created the Great White God, Oxalá, a divinity that represents the aspects of male energy. From the relationship between air and earth, Olorun gave rise to Odudua, a divinity that represents aspects of feminine energy. In the constant movement of water and air, part of this matter solidifies giving rise to a pile of reddish earth, which Olorun breathed in his breath and also the divine air for Exu to be born, the first living and individualized form of the universe. Odudua created the world and Oxalá created man, woman and all beings. At that time, heaven was not separated from earth, and men and gods moved freely between the two worlds. But a peasant broke a rule imposed by Oxalá and he became angry and at that moment he separated the two worlds, creating a new relationship between men and deities. A gap was formed between heaven and earth, and this gap was filled by the breath of Olorun, giving rise to the atmosphere.
Guarani Cosmogony - The Tupã Blow
In the Guarani creation myth, at first the god Tupã lived in a void, in endless darkness. First, Tupã created the sky and the stars, where he made his home and below he created the waters. Afterwards, Tupã descended from above, in a great whirlwind. As soon as Tupã touched the waters, the sun appeared in the sky arc. When the sun reached its highest point, its heat cracked Tupã's skin. And finally, when the sun disappeared on the other side of the sky, Tupã's skin fell from his body, spread over the waters and formed the lands. The next day, the sun appeared in the sky and noticed the change. The sun reached the highest point again and Tupã took a little clay, kneaded and molded the first Man. He blew his nose and gave him life. The man grew and grew as big as Tupã, but he did not speak. The great god blew into his mouth and began to speak. So Tupã blew intelligence into his left ear and wisdom into his right ear. On the Man's head, Tupã drew the sacred rays and thunder that are the thoughts. In the body of Man, Tupã placed the waters of emotions and desires that move to create or to destroy. Finally, Tupã gave Man the power to choose between creating and destroying. After the creation was finished, Tupã returned to the sky mounted in its whirlpool.
Among indigenous peoples across the American continent, blowing has a strong representation in the most diverse activities of daily life. But mainly blowing is used in sacred ceremonies, in protection and blessing work and can even be used as a remedy to cure imbalances, relax, in addition to providing trips through different states of consciousness.
Snuff is a powder made from crushed herbs and tobacco, used by indigenous peoples, especially Brazilians. Used to treat imbalances, relax and is also used in ceremonies as a form of prayer that invokes the forces of nature, the blessing of forest animals and the power of medicinal plants to heal and strengthen us, it is important to use this substance in a respectful and healing-focused environment. Snuff is known as a blow medicine because its application is carried out by blowing this medicine into the nostrils. This application is made by an instrument called Kuripe or Tepi, made with small pieces of bamboo or bones, so it can be done self-applied or applied from one person to others. Part of the power of this ritual comes from the breath itself and the potential of the one who applies it. Generally, the person in charge of carrying out the application, invokes, through singing and praying, the energy of a spirit from the animal kingdom to bless that breath, so that the breathed energy receives, in addition to the medicine stored in the dust, the power of that spirit able to bring the balance and harmony necessary for the healing of the recipient.
Among the Hupd'ah peoples, nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples of the Upper Rio Negro, who inhabit regions between Brazil and Colombia, shamanic or healing practices are always related to blowing. Benzidores or Shamans master this communication tool that is different from everyday language, which is the breath and the murmur. During practice, enchantments are performed, and the Shaman walks through different dimensions through his "breath-person" (Spirit), to seek harmony of the spirit of the person being healed.
The sacred pipe of the Lakota (Chanumpa) peoples of North America, plays a fundamental role in the spiritual and cultural life of these people. The symbolism and rituals of the sacred pipe provide the basis for spirituality in the rich Lakota tradition. However, this ceremony is inseparable from the moral preparation and spiritual reflection of each individual, making the pipe an important symbol present throughout the life of a native of this nation.
Flutes are common instruments among native peoples across America, being seen as a symbol of fertility. From North America, with its frontal whistle flute, to the people of South America with its huge harmonic flutes, without holes and the Andean people with the Quena flute, ceramic flutes and Pan flutes. related to these peoples and their sacred ceremonies.
THE BREATH MUSIC
The world we live in is made up of dualities. For Taoism these dualities are called Yin and Yang, which can also be understood as feminine and masculine, as negative and positive. Breathing is also dual, as one moment we breathe in and the next we breathe out. This same dual rhythm is present in the heartbeat. But in the world we live in today, society has been unlearning how to breathe. There are so many activities, so much visual interference, so much stress, that everyone lives without time, and their breathing seems to oscillate in rapid intervals of chest breaths. Society has unlearned how to breathe calmly, filling the abdomen calmly and withdrawing it at an equally slow pace during exhalation.
For Yogis, breathing is life itself, and the slower your breathing, the longer you will live. When we understand that our body is constantly producing music, and we observe the rhythm of this music, we begin to understand our state of mind. In all Hindu and Buddhist culture, breathing is one of the most important precautions, because when we keep our breathing calm, we calm the whole rhythm of the body and its body music comes into harmony. That is why when we see a person agitated or upset it is common to say "take a deep breath". For a deep breath instantly changes your mood.
Our breath is an extremely powerful tool, but we can add new 'powers' to it when we use it consciously. The voice is the representation of our breath of life, it is one of the ways to add powers to the breath. And these powers can be aggregated in different ways:
- The breath is the breath itself;
- The breath is an impulse breath and of greater power. (Can also be used through musical instruments and other tools)
- The breath coming out over the sound form, this is the most powerful way to use your breath.
The wind instruments then present in all the ancient cultures of the world. Flutes with 4, 5, 8 even without holes; Dungchen, the giant trumpets played by monks at the top of Tibet's temples; The powerful transverse flute of the Hindus, the Bansuri or Venu; Ceramic ocarines thousands of years old found in archaeological sites in China. Shakuhachi the Japanese flute made from the root of bamboo; Didgeridoo, an Australian Aboriginal instrument from which the sound is generated by the vibration of the lips.
Chants, mantras, and musical instruments that require intense breathing exercise are important tools to assist in the development of mental, body, emotional and spiritual health. For Hindus, singing is the most powerful art that exists and in their culture, singing goes beyond technique, it is an experience of finding your own sound and tuning in with it. In sacred ceremonies of all ancient peoples, songs and wind instruments are present. In this way, it is not difficult to understand why the Asian people have an ancient knowledge of the powers of breathing, blowing, whispering and singing. Their techniques go beyond the pre-defined rules, but the most precious rules are - follow intuition and realize the science of breathing.
- Cover art by: Archenti Flores
- Whisper how to hear God's voice - Mark Batterson
- The Origin of the Universe and sound myths - Marcos Júlio Sergl
- Yoruba Cosmogony: creation and separation from the world
- Blowing paths: shamanic discourse and forestry paths of the hupd'äh - Danilo Paiva Ramos
- Guarani mythology - The blow of Tupã - Source: CLARO, Regina. History encounters: from the rainbow to the moon, from Brazil to Africa. São Paulo: Cereja, 2014, p. 4.
- Sacred Pipe of the Lakota Sioux
- HAZRAT, Inayat Khan Sufi. Music