The Spiritual Significance of Deep Breathing – The Sociology of Religion

This article is excerpted from the book The Great Awakening. More information is provided at the end of this post.

Hopefully after reading the last chapter you have taken into consideration some of the things I have said and have taken the first steps towards clearing your consciousness of the damaging dogma of The System. For reasons that will become clear in this chapter, if you want to move forward, you need to have right thought. If you do not have right thought, you will run into trouble when you come face-to-face the deep and glorious Fabric of Consciousness. [1]

In order to explain what I mean by the above, and to kick off the breathing and grounding section of this book, I would like to spend a little time talking about myself and my vision of the world. As you already know, my name is Michael Sharp, and although I fancy myself a bit of spiritual teacher, storyteller, and world teacher, nevertheless I am not special in any way. In fact, I’m just like you. I am a bundle of describable and indescribable things. I am a Scorpio. I am a parent. I am a partner. I am a worker. I have hair, eyes, teeth, and feet. I have my likes and my dislikes. When I am pricked, I bleed. If I am poisoned, I die. In every way that is important I am just like you, and just like you I have, from time to time, struggled to understand the world around me. I have looked at the pain and the suffering, the homeless crying and the children dying, the war, the chaos, and the seemingly headlong rush to global destruction and I have said to myself, “Self, what the heck is going on?”

At one time, my answer to the question, “What’s going on?” was that all this, all the lunacy and irrationality of this Earth, was the result either of

  1. A lunatic, demented God is playing some sadistic game of cosmic chess (the religious version) or
  2. The senseless result of a random, violent evolution (the scientific version).

Take your pick. For the first part of my life, I thought it was humans struggling in a universe of evolutionary or spiritual madness and nothing more.

Now for a long time I thought there was a big difference between the two versions of reality that I used to explain the ugly world around me. How can you equate creation by God with random evolution after all? However, after struggling with both versions for a long time I eventually realized the awful truth, which was there was not much difference between both versions at all. Both visions are hierarchical versions, for example. Both versions say that some people are chosen, and some are not. Both versions say that some of us are stronger/better, while others are not. Both visions are also exclusionary visions. Both say that the chosen, the better, the stronger deserve more. The chosen get to enter special clubs (like Heaven, or Club 33, or whatever) and the strong rise to the top and take home all the winnings. Without getting into a lot of detail here, let me just say that after a certain amount of intellectual and moral struggle, I realized that both versions were nothing more than grotesque justifications for suffering and inequality. Both versions justify suffering and inequality; both versions accept suffering and inequality; both versions consider it all “business as usual”. Both visions, I finally came to realize, came from the same ugly place.

Of course, the details are different. Spiritual explanations talk about sin, karma, and fallen souls as a justification for violence and suffering. You get less, and you get pain, because you deserve it in some way. It is either a karmic thing or a “tempering in the fire” thing. You suffer because it is good for you, because it is what God wants, because it is part of “his” plan, and because it is the only way to make you right again after your ignominious “fall” from grace. Suffering, violence, and abuse are part of the divine order of things and because of that, you should just accept the status quo and move on with your life. Scientific explanations, on the other hand, talk about evolution and survival of the fittest. These explanations sound different out of the gate, but they are really just different excuses for violence and suffering. You are poor, you struggle, you die not because of the twisted social, economic, or political system you live in, and not because of some lunatic, warlord leader, but because you are weak and undeserving. The strong dominate and thrive; the weak suffer and die. It is part of the natural order of things and because of that you should just accept the status quo and move on with your life.

As you can see, both cases present limited, narrow, and exclusionary visions of this universe that we live in, and neither one offers much in the way of a choice. Behind door number one you get violent Darwinian struggle of the fittest. Behind door number two you get submission to a sadistic, divine authority that doesn’t seem to care or have a clue. What kind of choice is this anyway, I thought to myself? Both visions suck, and in a big way.

However, happy to say, it is not like that for me anymore. I don’t mind saying that nowadays I don’t worry about the world at large so much. I have my own personal troubles like everybody else and I deal with them as best I can (I struggle to be a good parent, for example), but when it comes to looking at the larger world and the way it is unfolding, I am at total peace. You could say that my vision of the world has changed.

Now, do not get me wrong. It is not that I am tuned out to what is happening in this world or that I am unconcerned about the events on this planet—I am concerned. It is also not because I don’t care about the suffering and the pain that is everywhere around us—I care deeply. It is also not because I don’t want to work to see a better tomorrow—I absolutely positively do want to see things get better and I absolutely positively am working to create a utopia in this lifetime. It is just that nowadays I see neither a random, evolving universe nor a lunatic and abusive “father figure” in the God seat. When I look at the world these days I see pattern and meaning in most things. When I look at the world I see an expansive and loving God everywhere. When I look at the world and the people in it, I see the bright Light of the Creator shining (or at least potentially so) in each and every one. When I see the world, I see it as divinely inspired, where Spirit walks and where everything, and I do mean everything, has been under our control since we started this “ascension” experiment way back in the way-gone ages.

Now I admit it, my vision of the world is different from the “normal” vision of the world. I also admit that my vision of the world may be a stretch for some, especially considering the sorry state the world is in these days. Pain and strife, struggle and confusion, war and waste of life are common features of our day-to-day reality. In this context, to think that an expansive and loving God/Spirit is in control seems ludicrous. If that was the case, why aren’t things any better? I mean, this Earth is not exactly what most people would consider the epitome of a divinely inspired, God-given Garden of Eden, is it?

But you know what? That does not matter because what you and I see when we see “normal” reality is really only the surface of a much larger reality with a much deeper purpose and meaning than we are used to seeing in our normal lives. Indeed, the normal reality seen by your average, somnambulistic human being is, contra Freud and Jung, not even the tip of the iceberg of what lies beneath the surface. If I may wax poetic for a moment, what you see when you look at the world around you is merely the meniscus on the water of the consciousness of God. What normal people call normal reality is merely a thin crust beneath which expands a reality so vast and so grand that if you were to poke a hole through that membrane without preparation, if you were to even get a glimpse of the power and the glory while still caught deep in the Maya[2] (i.e. the illusion and delusion) of the world, you would experience, depending on the number of erroneous ideas you have about the universe you live in, various levels of discomfort, distress, and discombobulation. The truth is, beneath the meniscus that separates your work-a-day reality from the vast ocean that lies beneath is a reality that is so vast and grand that it boggles the sleeping egoic mind and terrifies the dogmatically straightjacketed consciousness. It is the literal stuff of some people’s nightmares. It’s big—indeed much bigger than even your wildest “normal” dreams.

Now, do not misunderstand me, and don’t get all freaked out. I’m not trying to impress you or scare you. I don’t want you to think that the depths of consciousness are too much for you (or anyone) to handle. In fact, quite the opposite. Indeed, let me be the first person to tell you that the water that expands into infinity beneath the meniscus is your home reality. That reality is where you come from and not so long ago you were like a fish, swimming and at home in this vast cosmic ocean of Consciousness, as comfortable in the breadth and the depth as a guppy is in a pond.

So if you come from that place, and if you were once comfortable in The Water, [3] what’s the problem? Why am I attaching this warning label? Well, the problem is not that “You” can’t handle it (and by “You” I mean your immortal, conscious soul—i.e. your Spiritual Ego[4]). The problem is that you (and by “you” I mean your body/mind or physical unit—i.e. your Bodily Ego[5]) can’t handle it. The problem is your waking mind, your bodily mind, that part of you that emerges out of the firing of neuronal synapses, the ego that arises from your brain, is simply out of touch with the power and the glory of its animating consciousness. Let’s be honest here. When it comes to things of a spiritual nature, your body/mind, trained as it is in a culture and society that knows next to nothing about the true power and glory of Consciousness, is clueless and at a decided disadvantage.

And why is your physical unit so clueless about spirituality and consciousness? To make a long story short, you (and by you I mean your body/mind) have been cut off by a socialization and child-rearing process that is decidedly hostile to authentic spirituality and high conscious experience. I call this Toxic Socialization [6] because it is toxic to your connection with Consciousness. The problem is that although the vast divine reality is something you come from, and although it was open to you as a child, and although as a child, you were comfortable with that reality, as you grew older your understanding of it was never nurtured. In fact, exactly the opposite happened. As you grew up, your understanding, your connection to the Fabric of Consciousness [7] (a.k.a. The Waters of Creation), was crushed. As part of the spiritually hostile socialization you received in this world, your connection was severed, smashed, torn apart, ripped asunder, and shredded. You were taught by your parents, by your teachers, by your priests, by your pundits, and by the media to “leave it behind”, to “stay here”, and to stay focused in something that “they” like to call “reality”. You were taught, through constant tests, punishment, consequences, and reminders, of the precarious nature of your physical existence, to stay focused and present (I would say locked) into the normal here and now. In order to reinforce that disconnection, you were taught to fear the other side. You were fed silliness about ghosts, goblins, and scary bogeymen like the mythological Satan and his army of twisted demon torturers. The result for you, for all of us, was almost total, pathological disconnection from the Fabric of Consciousness that animates your physical body, and underlies our entire reality.

Of course, at this juncture, in this moment of realization, you probably don’t notice that anything is missing. Indeed, at this juncture you probably have no idea that your connection to a wider reality, a vast “space” of conscious existence, does not exist anymore. It is a frog in boiling water sort of thing. Since “they” get you early, the loss is gradual and unnoticeable. By the time you are an adult (or more technically correct, by the time you attain “adult” status), it is gone and you don’t miss it. Sadly, any abilities or sensibilities that you had as a child that were attached to the bigger reality, things like intuition, telepathy, and other nascent skills that need, like language, to be nurtured, are also gone. Like anything, lack of use means atrophy and since the higher reality is closed off from an early age, by the time you are an adult you have no remembered experience, no memory, no leftover skills, and (most important for this discussion) no ability to deal with the power and the glory should you inadvertently come into contact with it. By the time you are an adult, the deeper reality is as foreign and strange, startling and striking (to the narrow consciousness of your bodily ego) as life in another universe would be. Stranger, in fact, and, thanks to the priests, pundits and scientists of this planet who fill your head with demons, devils, and Darwinian predators, far more discombobulating and frightening—especially if you are coming at it from spiritual/mystical cold turkey, which almost all of us do.

Now, if the nascent spiritual connection you enjoyed as a newborn had been nurtured in you, if your highly sensitive body and mind had been protected rather than subjected to decades of violence and abuse, it wouldn’t be this way. If things were different, you would be as comfortable swimming in high consciousness as a guppy in a pond. Unfortunately, things are the way they are and as a result, you have a problem; that problem is how to deal with the awesome power and glory of your own high consciousness. Therefore, at this moment, right here and right now, and while I have your focused and undivided attention, allow me to ask you the question directly. How are you going to deal with the awesome power and glory of your own higher consciousness when it finally comes blasting through the meniscus?

Well, as I said earlier, there is a lot to do. From building self-confidence and trust to initiating the descent of consciousness to revising all the “old energy” archetypes in your head, to actually embracing and grounding your own higher self, it is work, work, work. From this moment forward, and in all subsequent Lightning Path materials, I will provide the groundwork, concepts, and technique that you need to safely initiate the expansion of consciousness into the body, and safely process and ground your own higher consciousness. It won’t be without challenge, but at the same time it won’t take as long as you might think. Remember, not so long ago you were like a fish swimming in the water, and although we wouldn’t want to just throw you back in unprepared, with a little good advice, guidance, and time, you won’t have any problem acclimating to the powerful realities that lie just beneath the thin meniscus of our rapidly disintegrating normal reality.

But, I’m jumping ahead. Right now, I want to highlight the potentially dramatic nature of some of the experiences that may lie ahead and strongly advise you that if you want to increase the probability that you will handle those experiences properly, then you best start learning to breathe properly right away. In the context of this discussion of the deep waters of consciousness, and with the understanding that you have not been prepared to handle these deep waters, breathing (or rather deep breathing) is the single most important tool that you need to have in your spiritual repertoire. If you are going to go poking at the meniscus of this conscious universe, you are going to need to learn to breathe. Indeed, in the context of the discussions in this chapter, breathing is a tool that you cannot ignore. If you want to be able to move forward into the full light of consciousness and awareness, you must learn how to breathe properly because breathing, more than anything else, has incredible ability to ground, enliven, enlighten, awaken, and empower. Bottom line is, breathing will help keep your egoic consciousness (i.e. your bodily consciousness, or bodily ego) safe and secure as it takes its first tentative dips into the depths of consciousness that lie just beneath the surface. I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again and again, breathing is important.

Now I know I am making breathing (or rather deep breathing) sound impressive, and it is. What is even more outstanding about it is that breathing is not a difficult tool to master. In fact, even as breathing is the most important tool in this book, it is also the easiest tool to use. The trick is simply remembering to do it when you need to do it. It can be a challenge at first, especially since deep breathing is often the last thing you think about when you are dealing with anxiety and stress, but you need to get into the habit of doing it when you need to be doing it.

And, when do you need to do it? Well, you need to deep breathe whenever you are doing any kind of spiritual work whatsoever, and especially when that spiritual work is causing you anxiety, fear, or distress! Whenever you approach the meniscus of consciousness, whenever you stick your little toe into the deep waters, whenever you are feeling anxious about what’s happening, whenever you are feeling unsure of yourself, whenever fear is rising in you, whenever you are agitated by “things” around you (spiritual or otherwise), simply disconnect from whatever it is that you are engaged in in that moment, focus on your breath, and breathe.

Allow me to demonstrate.

Close your eyes and take ten very deep breaths.

Breathe in until you cannot breathe in any more, hold for a moment and then exhale, calmly, gently, and with control. Do not force the air into your lungs; do not force the air out of your lungs. Simply fill them to their expanding capacity and release the air in a calm and gentle manner.

Expand your lungs, stretch them to the limit, and exhale.


Do it with me now.

Breathe in… and exhale…

Breathe in… and exhale…

Put the book down now, close your eyes, focus, and do it eight more times with me.


Are you done?

Then welcome back.

Now pause for a moment and pay attention to the state of your bodily consciousness as you exit from the deep breathing exercise.

Do you notice the shift?

At the very minimum, when you deep breathe like that you will notice several things. For example, and assuming you are not brutally exhausted and at the end of a long day, you will notice that, as a result of the extra oxygen going to your brain, your mental alertness will have increased, even if only slightly. You will also find yourself more focused and more tuned in. You will also notice a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) shift in consciousness. What exactly that shift will be will be different for different people. What it is will depend on what you are shifting out of and what you are shifting into. For example, if before your ten breaths you were feeling anxiety, afterward you will have shifted and there will be less anxiety. If before breathing you were feeling buzzy and ungrounded, afterward you will have shifted and you will be more grounded and calm. If before you were lacking presence in the moment, after you will be more present. If before you were experiencing fear, afterward you will have calmed down.

Now, the first few times you do this, the shift will likely be subtle and difficult to discern (unless of course you are dealing with high levels of fear and panic). There may also be a sense of randomness to it all, especially if you are just sitting down in a quiet room to practice your deep breathing. Be aware however that you can control and enhance the experience of breathing. You can make it more concrete and useful, and set the direction of the shift, simply by realizing you have control over the impact of the breathing exercises that you undertake. To control the impact of your breathing, i.e. to take control of the outcome and set direction, tone, and impact, combine your breathing exercises with statements of will and intent. If you need to ground yourself, just say as you breathe, “I want to be more grounded”. If you need to calm down, then with each breath say (aloud or in your head), “Calm down”. If you want to become more aware, then each time you breathe say “I am becoming more aware”. If you want Consciousness to descend into the vessel, then say something like “I wish for Consciousness to expand into this vessel”. Whatever you need to do, whatever you want to do, intend it and breathe—that is all there is to it.

Now, I cannot overestimate the importance of breathing. As you progress in your spiritual awakening process in the days and weeks ahead, breathing will be an important exercise for you, so practice it all the time because the more you practice it, the more it will work for you, and the more likely you will do it when you need to do it. It is physiological, primordial, deep magic programmed into the very core reality of your body and mind, so learn to do it. And don’t let the simplicity of the exercise fool you. It is simple, but it is powerful. No matter how prosaic I might become, I cannot overestimate the importance of breathing. The high truth is this: breathing is primordial; breathing is archetypal; breathing is divine. If you want to get right down to it, breathing is the first act of creation. Breathing is what the original monadic consciousness, the original spark of Light, did upon deciding to create. Breathing was the first act of creation. Indeed, breathing is the ongoing act of creation and as such it reverberates and is reflected at every layer of reality, in every universe, and at every stage of The Unfolding,[8] throughout all of creation. Breathing is literally “the word” of God (Divine Logos) and as such it is powerful beyond measure. Know that breathing is the single most calming, grounding, life-affirming, manifestation-supporting exercise that you can do. When you are feeling anxious, when you are under stress, when you feel threatened, when anxiety wells up, when fear rises up, when you want to change direction, when you want to manifest something new, deep breathing helps.

Breathe deep and say to yourself “I wish clarity”, and you will have it!

Breathe deep and say to yourself “I want to awaken”, and the universe will take note and begin moving the energies in order to fulfill.

Take breathing seriously because really, when you think about it, breathing is more important than even food and water for the continuation of your healthy life. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but only seconds without air. Learn to deep breathe and make it a habit throughout your day. The practice is powerful beyond measure and doing it regularly and properly will help carry you through the challenging emotional, psychological, and spiritual “shifting” experiences that lie directly ahead.








[7] For a discussion of the Fabric of Consciousness, see Sharp, Michael, The Book of Light: The Nature of God, the Structure of Consciousness, and the Universe Within You, Lightning Path Press.


This article is excerpted from the book The Great Awakening. More information is provided below.

By: Dr. S.

The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice (GA) is your key to initiation of spiritual Awakening. The book is a primer of right thinking and basic spiritual technique designed to point you in the right direction, give you the tools you need to get started, and set you on the fast path back home. The Great Awakening consists of a collection of short essays on basic spiritual topics like breathing, grounding, visualization, communicating with spirit, spiritual protection, and so on. The Great Awakening is not a long book nor a complicated book, but it is an important book. If you are going to navigate the early stages of your (voluntary or involuntary) spiritual awakening process as safely and effectively as possible, you need to know basic concepts and techniques in this book. Knowing the concepts in this book can make the difference between anxiety, confusion, pain, suffering, and even untimely death, and calm, measured advance forward towards glorious, divine, consciousness.

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