As the breath has two movements, so does all of life. There is a progression, an advance characterized by stability and servant leadership, and then there is a regression, a retreat characterized by instability and corrupt leadership. Where would you say we are now?
The writer Helen Keller was blind and deaf but her sense of smell was highly developed. Here she describes the scent of men: “Masculine exhalations are, as a rule, stronger, more vivid, more widely differentiated than those of women. In the odour of young men there is something elemental, as of fire, storm and salt sea. It pulsates with buoyancy and desire. It suggests all the things strong and beautiful and joyous and gives me a sense of physical happiness.”
We are what we pay attention to. If I attend to the breath, I am that. Breath awareness transcends our differences. Rumi: “Bringing breath to life is the essence of every true religion.”
When we breathe more slowly, we breathe less frequently—we breathe less. It’s obvious that “less” is going to play a defining role in the next stage of our evolution as a species.
Taoist sage Chuang Tzu: “The true man breathes from his heels.” In other words, he rides each exhalation all the way out of his body, right to the point of its natural extinction. The true man is first and last a full exhaler.