The word spirit comes from the Latin word Spiritus which means “breath”. In some creation stories it is told that God breathed, or sent a divine wind over the empty darkness, and thus life began. Everything began with breath. Or wind.
I’ve been noticing the wind a lot lately. Maybe it’s because of the distinct rattling of leaves ever present in the Cape Cod air. Maybe it’s the undeniable chill that accompanies this time of year, making me feel a little grumpier as I layer on sweaters and scarves. Sometimes the wind feels so good and fresh and perfect, gently cooling us when we need it most. At other times it sounds haunting, sends a chill to our bones, or causes mischief by flipping umbrellas upside down and inside out. And sometimes it creates beautiful images as it dances on water, sketches new designs in the sand or sends cascades of leaves floating down from treetops. There’s no denying – the wind moves. It touches and affects everything.
Just like breath.
Breath is what keeps us alive. It’s the one thing we cannot choose. Our bodies must breathe, it’s completely involuntary! We can never choose to take our first breaths, just like we can never choose to be born. It just happened! This life force pulsates within us at every moment of our lives. And when it ceases, so do we.
Breath connects us all. My breath is no different than your breath. It can’t be, because we all share the same breath. In and out, it circulates within our bodies, our blood, our cells, our homes, our environments, our towns, our states, our countries, our continents, and our world. We are breathing and literally in-spiring one another.
I recently read the following and was very in-spired:
“If you want to know if someone is a spiritual being ask yourself, “is she or he breathing?” If the answer is yes, then you are in the presence of a spiritual being.”
All living beings are spiritual beings because all of life breathes. In English breath is defined as “vital spirit; life, that which animates living beings.” The words for spirit in the ancient language of Aramaic (ruah) and Hebrew (ruach) also mean breath.
By simply being alive, we are spiritual.
I love this because it eliminates the false sense of having to do or achieve something to be spiritual. Going to church, meditating, praying, wearing symbols of religion, speaking a certain way, acting a certain way, there are images that might come to mind when we think of “Spiritual” people. While any action can ground somebody in a spiritual practice, those actions do not make someone or something spiritual.
Being spiritual means simply breathing. One breath at a time. Feeling your breath rise and fall within you, connecting you to the breath that connects us all, the shared life force within each and every living being.
Because we are born breathing, we are born spiritual. Think about that! And while you’re at it, take a deep breath.
Go ahead. Take one more.
Dang, that feels good. ☺
With breaths of gratitude,
I’m also really curious: What do you think it means to be Spiritual?
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