Breathe, breathe in the air.

In 1986 I developed Adult Onset Asthma due to overexposure to Isocyanates. It left me coughing to the point of strained muscles and a mouthful of bloody sputum. I also had pruritic bumps up and down my arms and liver damage. Lying or sitting did little to reduce the difficulty to breathe. I was prescribed an inhaler and used it often. It took about five years but I was able to wean myself away from the inhaler and only had difficulty when I laughed hard. You know, it only hurts when I laugh...well, for the last year, I have had to restart taking the inhaler. The breath is something we are almost unaware of until you have to struggle for it.
THE SANSKRIT WORD PRANA MEANS wind and soul as well as breath, and the connection of soul and breath hints at the close connection between mind, body, and spirit in Hindu philosophy. Yoga, developed by ancient Hindu philosophers as a spiritual discipline, uses control of breathing to enhance meditation. Traditional Indian medicine taught patients these breathing techniques to use in managing their asthma. These techniques are also used in Taoism and to a degree in Buddhist meditation training.
Buddhism speaks of the "five hinderences" that we often face in our quest for enlightenment. They are; ill will, laziness, restlessness, doubt and sensual desire. I have come to realize that shortly after I was laid off, my decision to take the time to complete my book, get into shape, expand my meditation practice was replaced with ill will. (Those fucking dumb rednecks! We could have expanded our business. Their own stupidity brought them here!) It was also replaced with laziness ( my meditation practice has ceased - I havn't written anything of my book in months - I've gained weight and havn't gotten into shape) Restlessness and doubt are currently in hiding. Sensual desire (Hey, I'm a guy, huh?)
But I realize that as I've digressed, my asthma has returned. I remind myself that along with a decision to resume my meditation practice I will be able to lay aside my inhalers. I know this! But laziness has got me by the throat and is squeezing the life right out of me!
Breathe, breathe in the air!

Comments

Rowan said…
I know what you mean about not being conscious of breathing until something goes wrong. My son cares me whenever he gets sick, he can't breathe. He has had inhalers since before he was one year old. I myself, got Pertussis a few years back and though I gladly made a recovery, if I get a slight cough of any sort (even from allergies) I am in pain and cannot catch my breath and cough and cough. I believe it has done permanent damage to my lungs. My father caught SARS in a hospital before it was made a public scare, and his lungs were severely damaged permanently, someone smoking a cigarette near him could have at any time stopped his breathing. But, you are right, you tend to take it for granted don't you? I found the same thing when I thought there was something wrong with my stomach and I was in such pain, that I thought I would never eat again, and never live anohter day without having severe pain. Turns out it was just gallbladder disease, and I am fine now since my horrible operation that incidentally, was made worse by a cough (to get back to my pertussis problem).
alix said…
yes, i often look at my health issues and realise i'm responsible for them. sometimes if feels like a flat boulder is holding me down, but it's nothing more than lack of compassion and respect for myself.

how GOOD that you recognise it for what it is...
alix said…
happy father's day, tao!