What our very breath can teach us

Written by Master Charles Cannon


“What we call ‘I’ is just a swinging door, which moves when we inhale and exhale.”
 --from the Zen tradition

This quote describes relative reality:  inhale, interior; exhale, exterior.  Have you noticed that you are constantly breathing, that this inhalation/exhalation process is constantly happening? Your very breath validates that your reality is relative.  

There is not just one polarity in existence, there are two.  What you think of as “I”  “me,” the subjective you, is one of those polarities,  but there is never just I, never just me, never just the subjective polarity.  Your breath shows you this: interior/exterior.  inhale/exhale, a swinging door within relative reality.  

When you are not wakeful, you’re not even aware that you’re breathing, not even aware of the relative happening of life, of reality. Instead, you get lost in an illusory identity, your me-dentity, illusorily creating yourself as an island unto yourself which is separate and different from everything on the outside.  It’s like you inhale and take a deep breath and just hold it.  How long can you hold your breath before you die?

The term the walking dead seems appropriate for those living in the illusion that there is only an inside, an in-breath.  But life, in truth, is symbiotic.  Everything in life is inter-connected and inter-related.  There isn’t just an inside.  There is also an outside.  There isn’t just an inhale.  It’s followed by the exhale.  

The two polarities of relative reality are constantly oscillating, and so it is with life, inside/outside, subjective/objective.  Everyone and every thing is inter-connected and inter-related in the oneness of life.  There’s no such thing as independence in nature, in life.  It’s an illusion.  If everything is interconnected and inter-related within relative reality, then our success as human beings depends on how truthfully we relate to the world around us.  

If we live in this illusory I-me-dentity, then we don’t relate very truthfully to the world around us.  Instead we create conflict and resultant suffering.  However if we are awake,fully alive and simply breathing, the boundaries dissolve between I and You and we recognize that all and everything is the same life, the same consciousness that in truth there is only one, a unity in diversity.  

Our inter-connectedness and inter-relatedness is the key to our fulfillment in life.  It’s not me or you.  It’s me and you.  We’re in this together.

So as you cultivate and practice wakefulness, being alive, being blissful, simultaneously open your awareness to the truth that life is symbiotic, that everyone and everything that you encounter embodies the same life, the same consciousness as you.  Live holistically in this truthful awareness.  There is only one.  In this way you’ll contribute to creating a much more harmonious world.

About the Author

Master Charles Cannon

Master Charles Cannon

Master Charles Cannon is a modern spiritual teacher, founder of Synchronicity Foundation for Modern Spirituality, and developer of the High-Tech Meditation and Holistic Lifestyle experience. His work over the past 40 years has helped transform the lives of millions worldwide who respect him as one of the truly innovative spiritual teachers of our time.