In this, Lesson 7, of the Thought Bricks Course Bernard teaches us the importance of ‘breath’ and offers a few exercises using our breath. He also comments on disasters and accidents and their inner causes.
My dear Student,
Our Lesson this time is headed ‘Practice’. Without practice all theory, however exalted, is useless. I have seen learned people who have written books on deep subjects, go down into a pit of worry at the first trial. Of what use is all their head-knowledge then? Far better to have a little head-knowledge and much heart-wisdom. For wisdom of the heart is the understanding of that underlying Life, omnipotence of the Eternal and His friendliness to us. Once you know these simple truths you can dwell in a peace which the world cannot touch for you have a calm knowing of who you are.
LESSON SEVEN PRACTICE
In this Lesson we are going to consider the deep subject of breath. Of course, you already breathe. But it is possible to breathe in a conscious way and so gain enormous reserves of power.
Consider these words:-
‘The Lord, in Whose hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.’ (Job 12, 9-10.)
‘By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.’ (Psalm 33, 6.)
‘God, the Lord; He that created the heavens and stretched them out, He that spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it, He that giveth breath unto the people upon it and spirit to them that walk therein.’ (Isa. 42, 5.)
‘The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.’ (Gen, 2, 7.)
At first these passages do not appear to be very significant, but let us examine them more closely. What brought the host of the heavens into being? The Breath of God! In whose keeping is the soul and the breath of mankind? In the hand of the Lord! We are forced to the conclusion, then, that breath is very near to God. Breath, too, is closely akin to Spirit. So often these two words are referred to in the same sentence. ‘All the while my breath is in me and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils.’ (Job 27, 3.)
Man, we are told, was formed of the dust of the ground, but when he received breath he became a living soul. When he dies, his breath goes from him and his living soul passes on into eternity. Again – the breath and the soul go hand in hand! Are you beginning to realise the significance of this? Let us take one more illuminating passage:- ‘breathed on them and saith unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost”.‘ (John 20, 22.)
Again, Breath and Spirit, Breath and the living soul! But in this instance an additional power was given by the breath, a new influx of the Holy Spirit. Is it not, then, reasonable to believe that power from the Eternal can be drawn in with the breath? Wonderful gifts have manifested by the control of the breath and, coming steeply down from the heights of those spiritual giants we come to the homely phrase: ‘If you find it hard, take a deep breath!’ Why? Because you will receive more power for whatever you have to do… So I want to commend this practice to you. Once you have tested it you will never wish to give it up. Do it this way.
Breath of Almighty Exercise
Begin in your own room or while you are out for a walk. Take a slow, deep breath, and as you draw it in, say within yourself:
‘The Breath of the Almighty is giving me life.’ (Adapted from job 33,4.) Pause a second, then let the breath out, pause a second again, and repeat.
You can vary this an infinite number of times. Instead of ‘Life ‘ you can substitute the words ‘Health’, ‘Peace’, ‘ Power’, ‘Joy’ or ‘Supply’. As you use this exercise, know this: Breath is the vehicle of the Holy Spirit. With more breath you receive an inflowing of the Holy Spirit, you come in contact with the Eternal. Be very quiet and relaxed about it, then. Take it very seriously and believe with all your might.
Quite apart from the spiritual and mental effects of this exercise you will receive definite physical benefits. Do you know that the shallow-breathing animals and those who breathe quickly live but a short time compared with the deep, slow-breathing ones? The tortoise, a very slow breather, lives anything up to four hundred years! The reason for this is that ‘life is breath’ and the span of our lives is measured by the number of our breaths. If we breathe quickly, habitually, our bodies will soon wear out, but if we breathe slowly they will ‘wear well’. An exercise like the one I have described, then, is definitely rejuvenating.
Another thing! (This teaching on Breath was taught by the Yogis thousands of years ago.) Do you know that you breathe for one hour, approximately, through the right nostril and one hour through the left, and that, in a healthy person, this goes on always? It is so, and you can test the fact by putting your knuckle against each nostril and timing the breath-flow. Now each nostril brings into manifestation various characteristics of its own and it is well to know one or two of them. For instance, if you suffer from indigestion, lie on your left side or sit with a chair-back pressing under your left arm-pit. This will cause your breath to flow from the right nostril and will help you to digest your food. If you awake at night feeling chilly, turn over on your left side so that your breath-flow will change to the right nostril. This will help to generate body-heat. If you awake in the night or cannot sleep because your thoughts are troubled, turn on to your right side, causing the breath to flow through the left nostril. This will have a tranquillising effect upon the mind – especially if you practise the picture-thoughts about the ship, the calm waters and the cloud.
Seeing and Breathing Exercise
Finally, here is an exercise which I have practised frequently-mostly in quiet Cornish lanes, facing a rising slope of pastureland or some other peaceful scene. Take a slow, deep breath, pause: then say within yourself as you breathe out: ‘May all evil depart from me now’. Think of any disharmony or obstruction within you flowing out with your breath. Pause again. Then, slowly breathing in say: ‘May purity, power and loving-kindness come to me now.’ Visualise these qualities flowing into you with your breath. Do this seven times. (This is the ‘Seeing and Breathing’ exercise.)
In a former issue of ‘Bernard’s Weekly News’ this article appeared and it helped so many people that I think that it will help you, too. It is called:-
ABUNDANCE OF FAITH
‘Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.‘ (Rom. 8, 35-39.)
What an abundance of faith is contained in these triumphant words. How is it that so many people, when faced with ‘tribulation or distress or peril or sword’ find that their faith is shaken? If we have not faith in God, then in what can we have faith? Our very life is shaken to its foundations unless we have faith in the Creator of all Life.
This week I have had a letter from a Student, whose name, for obvious reasons, I shall not mention. He writes: ‘I am afraid, my friend, that my faith in God has received a setback recently, as I have just gone through a rather harrowing and nerve-racking experience; and so, dear Bernard, I turn to you for comfort and inspiration. You will no doubt have read in the Daily Press of the disastrous explosion at Easington Colliery in which 91 men lost their lives. Well, I am a miner myself; and am also a member of the local Rescue Brigade, and as my home is only about 18 miles from Easington I was one of the first to be called upon for the terrible job of going down that death-pit. The work is now finished, but why, oh why, if God is just and merciful, had these lives to be taken just like that? Please do not think that your kind words and sincere Lessons have been wasted on me because, believe me, it was from the message from within their pages that I drew the courage and strength which enabled me to carry on for nine days.’
How touched I was by this letter and the confidence placed in me! Thinking it over quietly I see that a man’s faith is shaken if he cannot explain to himself the reason for happenings in the world. He begins to think that God is Love, and then suddenly something like this happens and he questions: ‘Why, Why?’ No answer comes to him except the ‘stock’ one – ‘It is the will of God. It is all a mystery and we cannot know.’ But we can know! What did the Master say? ‘ I have yet many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all Truth.’ (John 16, 12-13.)
All Truth. So you see, it is no use just to look in the Bible for them and to expect them all to be there! St. John ends his Gospel with the words: ‘And there are also many other things that Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written‘. How often do we miss these words. We do not have to live blindly – our Master taught that after He had passed from this world He would send to us a Comforter – ‘even the Spirit of Truth‘. And so all truth is in the world now. It is within ourselves, hidden deeply within. We are told to seek for it – but how many do? Some of us have done so – it needs patience and persistence, but the rewards are great.
One comes to an absolute knowing that God is Love, and one has no more to ‘question why’. In my reply to this Student I wrote: ‘ My dear –, I am so glad you wrote to me as you did, and that you realise my very friendly and sincere feelings towards all my Students. I am very sorry indeed that this sad experience came to you. But listen. Do you think I am any better at loving than God is? If I am full of devotion and loving kindness towards my Students, as you say, then where could I have got it from, if not from Him? Why, I love all of you because of Him! Yes, He is all-Justice and Mercy and Kindness and most of all, All-Love.
If all the world told me this was not so, or if I had to be beheaded for saying it, still would I unwaveringly declare that God is Love. I can look round at all the tragedies in the world and still say this with all my heart. Yes, God is Love! How can this be? Most of the people in the world know so little of the underlying truth of things. We have to seek diligently in order to find, and most of them are seeking only money or power or sensation or empty pleasures. But when we know the truth we see that God is Love. Then we understand all things and are not shaken by tragic happenings in the world …. Hold fast to your faith; He will never fail you. He longs to draw you to His Heart and whisper to you that He loves all men with a great, yearning, all-embracing Love, that He understands their griefs and their joys and that, when they leave this world for another, He will be there, loving them still…
This is what I said, and this is what I say to you all. You do not need to go blindly through the world, like a kitten with un-opened eyes. Believe me, if you patiently, sincerely seek, the Truth will come to you about all your problems. You will not be left bewildered and unsatisfied – be very sure of that. Did not the Master Himself intimate that if you ask for ‘bread’ you will not be given a ‘stone’? Here is a ‘crumb’ for you to be going on with. I wrote it in response to Students’ questions on: –
‘DISASTERS AND ACCIDENTS’
So many people write to ask my views, at times of great disasters, that I give a brief outline here. This is a vast subject, so I can only deal with it in a small way. Those who ‘have ears to hear’, let them hear.
We have all lived for eternity, for eternity has no beginning and no end. It is, in fact, an endless Circle of Time, so we shall live for eternity too. During this time we have not always realised that we are temples of God in whom dwells God’s very Spirit. We have therefore shaped God-Power by our conscious thoughts and created for ourselves (because thought is creative) all manner of chaos, sorrow and disease.
When we do this, we fall out of the ‘ Secret Place ‘ (see Psalm 91) where ‘no evil can befall’ us. But when we realise, and unite lovingly with our God-Power within, ‘The Lord is our Shepherd’ and we ‘want for nothing’ (see Psalm 23).
When man thinks ‘out of tune’ with God’s Thought and so falls out of the safety and harmony of the Secret Place, he creates such an environment of chaos that, when thousands or millions of people are gathered together, their combined creative thought-power produces floods, storms, explosions, etc. Just as the Master demonstrated man’s control over the elements (for He said: ‘ The works that I do, shall ye do also’) by ‘speaking Peace’ to the waves, so do many people, in whom God-Power dwells, ‘speak Chaos’ to the elements.
When, too, a man thinks of himself as separate from God (an impossibility since in God he lives and moves and has his being) and falls therefore out of the ‘Secret Place’ of safety and harmony, his wrong thoughts, words and actions build a record of themselves into the atmosphere surrounding him. This atmosphere is magnetic so that it attracts like things to itself. Therefore, if a man has created an atmosphere of chaos, he will be attracted to a spot where chaos will come – such as the scene of accidents and disasters. This is what is meant by: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’.
People wonder why the wicked flourish, and ‘get away with it’, but they do not flourish eternally, nor ever ‘get away’ with what they have sown. The reaping always comes. There is only one escape, one rescue, one salvation. It is that we turn to God within us, recognise Him as our Father and ourselves as His children-become, as it were, ‘other Christs’ since we are actually ‘co-heirs with Christ ‘, as the Scripture says. Then the Christ in us brings us our safety, blessing, prosperity, harmony and salvation. (This is the inner meaning of ‘Christ bringing us salvation and saving us from the results of our sins ‘.) For in God Union and God-Consciousness is both safety and blessedness forever.
You may think: ‘Then are all those people who have been in such-and-such a disaster, evil people?’ Not so. But most are unawakened people who have not realised the chaos created by their ‘separate-from-God’ thinking. For thousands and millions of devout people are not awake to who they are, and the words of our Lord Himself: ‘The works that I do, ye shall do also‘ would seem blasphemy to them if any but He had spoken them.
Not understanding, they set these words aside…. They have not ‘ears to hear’. These people will be taught the truth; will be given a chance to open their eyes and ears, if they will. Others, who are in disasters and who are awakened, are there because they have asked to be used of God, so in the crisis they will act as teachers and guides, as earthly Ambassadors to Heaven.
Let us have ‘ears to hear’ and dwell in the ‘Secret Place’ of union with God!