Question

Hi

when practising Hong-sau I feel that no matter what I do my breathing becomes mechanical, I find it quite difficult to distance myself and observe the breath as if I was observing the breath of another person. What is your advice on this and in general what are some tips on the Hong-sao tecnique? It would mean alot to me to feel myself being able and confident in the hong-sao tecnique.

—Victor, Sweden

Answer

Dear Victor,

What animates our breath is the divine energy flowing through us. As you watch your breath, be aware that it is God breathing through your breath. It is not ‘you’ breathing.

At the end of life, when the divine energy is withdrawn, from the body the breath ceases. So as you concentrate on your breath you are bringing your attention to God flowing through you. If your mind wanders simply bring it back to the breath of God. You can tune into the entire universe around you breathing with this divine breath. You are a part of it.

As you dive deeper into meditation you might find your breath slowing down, or there might be pauses between the breaths that become longer. Enjoy this process of going inward. The goal of Hong-Sau is breathlessness: where all of our energy is so withdrawn that we become one with the Infinite. This breathlessness is not ever holding the breath. It is simply watching the breath until it becomes still.

I think sometimes our mind, which is to say our ego, tries to make spiritual practice more complicated than it is. The ego-critic gets involved with messages such as  “you are not doing this right.” This supports the ego continuing to be ‘in charge’. In our spiritual practices we are inviting the soul to be ‘in charge’.

As you begin your meditation, focus on relaxing into the Divine Presence. The preliminary techniques are really helpful for this. Invite the ego-critic to step aside just for a bit while you enjoy being in the Presence. You might experiment with doing a bit shorter meditation. Commit to relaxing and focusing on the breath and the mantra. Do not push it to a point where it really seems a struggle. One of the qualities of God is Divine Joy. Think of meditation as ‘en-joy-ment’ — being in joy. Once you experience a little of this beautiful being ‘in joy’ you can start to lengthen your meditations once more.

Many blessings on your practice,
Nayaswami Mukti