The Traveller’s Rest- Breathing.

(“Out, in, out, in, out, in…”)
Breathing my mother in,
Breathing my beloved in,
Breathing her nicotine,
Breathing the fall-out in,
Out in, out in, out in, out in. (Kate Bush)


There is no greater spiritual act than breathing. That sense that we are alive and can live life to the full. We attempt to connect spiritually with the Divine in so many ways; worship, prayer, fasting, church attendance, spiritual disciplines etc. but the key of connectivity is already built within each and every one of us. Our very breath. The inhale and the exhale of air. An act that we often do not think about until we struggle for it. Yet every person reading this right now, and every person who will never read this are breathing unless they are dead to this world.

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Just take that in for a second. The sound of our breathing is the sound of the Name of the Creator. Just pause and listen for a while right now. Selah.

All Flesh filled with Ruach.

Everyone whose path you cross today will be breathing. Every person will be inhaling and exhaling Divinity. The single mother pushing her pram to school, the addict struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, the prostitute on the street corner, the Muslim who lives in your street, the gay couple who just long to be married, they are breathing. Listen as YHWH is whispered on the Ruach. All flesh filled with breath to breathe. Our every breath is a murmuring of His name, YWHW. Breathe — and call the name of Being Himself. Keep breathing — and pray without ceasing. 

Take a breath and breathe it out.  Do it again, slowly, and try to mean it.  Breathing – of all things maybe we take it most for granted. Do we ever wonder why we are built this way, this soft machine of ours always pumping oxygen in and out?

In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs. In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst. In fear we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down. When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage.  When I think about it, breathing looks almost like a kind of praying.

Everybody draws their very first breath with Your name upon their lips

Every one of us is born of dust but come alive with heaven’s kiss

The name of God is the sound of our breathing
Hallelujahs rise on the wings of our hearts beating

Breathe in, breathe out, speak it aloud Oh oh, oh oh
The glory surrounds, this is the sound Oh oh, oh oh

Moses bare foot at the burning bush wants to know who spoke to him
The answer is unspeakable like the rush of a gentle wind

The name of God is the sound of our breathing
Hallelujahs rise on the wings of our hearts beating

Breathe in, breathe out, speak it aloud Oh oh, oh oh
The glory surrounds, this is the sound Oh oh, oh oh

In him we live and move and have our being
We speak the name as long as we are breathing

So breathe in
Breathe out…

Doubters and deceivers, skeptics and believers we speak it just the same
From birth to death, every single breath is whispering Your name (Jason Gray)

As Simple as Breathing.

Breathe and enjoy the simple feeling of being! Breathing in us, as us. Do you ever think about your breath from a spiritual perspective? If the name of God is the sound of breathing, how does that change the way you view yourself as a living being? How does it change the way you view others?And this divine breath is in every single human being.

In what ways do you feel fragile and vulnerable?

Are there ways in which you feel sacred and divine?

Do you think it’s possible to feel both ways at the same time? 

This unspeakability has long been recognised, but we now know it goes even deeper: formally the word was not spoken at all, but breathed! Many are convinced that it’s correct pronunciation is an attempt to replicate and imitate the very sound of inhalation and exhalation. The one thing we do every moment of our lives is therefore to speak the name of God. This makes it our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world….When considered in this way, God is suddenly as available and accessible as the very thing we all do constantly – breathe. Exactly as some teachers of prayer always said, “Stay with the breath, attend to your breath”: the same breath that was breathed into Adam’s nostrils by this Yāhweh (Genesis 2:7); the very breath that Jesus handed over with trust on the cross (John 19:30) and then breathed on us as shalom, forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit all at once (John 20:21-23). And isn’t it wonderful that breath, wind, spirit, and air are precisely nothing – and yet everything?

Just keep breathing conciously in this way and you will know that you are connected to humanity from cavemen to cosmonauts, to the entire animal world, and even to the trees and plants. And we are now told that the atoms we breathe are physically the same as the stardust from the original Big Bang. Oneness is no longer merely a vague mystical notion, but a scientific fact.(Richard Rohr)

There is no greater spiritual exercise than breathing. YHWH.


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