A very long article but, certainly something to think about
Life Breath: The Vital Principle
Birth is transition from a state of dependency to one of relative independence. Whether psychic or physical, birth represents an emergence from a realm of inner darkness to one of greater light, and is always accompanied by greater vitality. Mystics contend that the greater vitality accompanying physical birth is a manifestation of the vital force associated with the soul personality, which enters the body with the first breath. From a mystical point of view, then, the first breath marks the transition from the fetus to child. The Breath of Life makes the newborn a living expression of the Universal Soul.
Because it seems obvious that without the first filling of the lungs with air the newborn would be a lifeless mass, it is tempting to equate what mystics call the Breath of Life with the air we breathe. But the mystic asks: Is there something more to the air we breathe than molecules such as oxygen? Could there be some non-material, magnetic quality to the atmosphere which vitalizes our being? Before we can address this question, we must establish a framework in which we can explore possible answers. Therefore, we shall begin with a brief examination of the modes of expression of the vital force of life.
The life force is dual in nature. It is both the organizing and the transforming principle of the Cosmic. The organizing aspect of the life force is expressed in the patterns of form populating our physical and psychic worlds. While the organizing aspect of the life force tends toward stability, its transforming aspect manifests in the progression and evolution of all forms of life. The interplay between stability and progression imparts to manifestation a vitality which mystics recognize in the term Vital Life Force (VLF).
As the manifestation of a cosmic principle, Vital Life Force expresses on all planes of existence. At every level, VLF requires a medium through which to manifest. Therefore, at the most fundamental level, VLF organizes Spirit Energy in a manner recognizable as vibration. The modern scientist categorizes such vibrations as electromagnetic radiation. On the plane of inanimate matter, VLF has organized vibrations of Spirit Energy into electrons. Electrons, therefore, manifest both aspects of VLF, namely the dynamism of progression and the stability of organization. The stability of electrons qualifies them as the basis for the next level of organization, that of atoms and molecules. In turn, atoms and molecules serve as building blocks in the organization of animate matter into cells, plants, and animals.
In the psychic realm, VLF organizes and integrates patterns of Spirit Energy into forms which we recognize as our thoughts, feelings, and innermost experiences. Combinations of thought and feeling patterns manifest as the attributes of individual soul personalities. In man, animate matter is the medium through which the life force manifests in the realization of Self. Vital Life Force, therefore, uses each level of organization as the basis on which to manifest the next, higher level. As a consequence, the action of life force is realized on all levels of manifestation.
Harmony of Human Body
As the highest manifestation of order on the physical plane, the human body incorporates the various levels of organization. Following fertilization of the human egg, the life force organizes and integrates the electromagnetic patterns of energy, inanimate matter, and animate matter (cells) into the tissues and organs of the unfolding human form. As tissues and organs are harmonized by the organizing aspect of VLF, the transforming aspect orchestrates the progression toward that level of organization characteristic of the human body. Therefore, from conception to birth, the fetus develops step-by-step as a consequence of the delicate interplay between the stabilizing and transforming tendencies of VLF.
During its period of development, the fetus receives vitality through the placenta. At birth, as this physical connection between mother and child is severed, a psychic connection is established with the soul personality. This transition from dependence to relative independence makes the newborn a fuller expression of Universal Soul. Following birth, the characteristic patterns of soul personality and newborn body are progressively integrated by the transforming aspect of VLF. With experience, the personality evolves step-by-step toward a more perfect expression of Soul.
The integration of psyche and body is achieve through the medium of our earthly atmosphere. The onset of this integrative process is marked by the force of motion called the first breath. Continued integration manifests in the rhythmic motions of breathing. The atmosphere and the air we breathe are therefore linked with the Breath of Life. But of what is the Breath of Life composed? Although it is tempting to equate the air we breathe with the Breathe of Life, mystical tradition suggests that the Breath of Life is dual, being composed of both material and non-material elements. Is there any scientific evidence today which supports this ancient concept?
Preliminary experiments have shown that some life forms do not survive even in oxygen-containing atmospheres which have been depleted of ions. Clearly then, ions are also important components of the air. But what are ions? How are these mysterious ‘entities’ implicated with the vital force of life? Could atmospheric ions contribute some non-material, magnetic quality which vitalizes our beings?
The Ionic Connection
All life forms respond to the environment in which they find themselves. In fact, the manifestations of life is discernible only as a reaction of form to the surroundings in which form manifests. The manifestation of life in man is therefore recognizable only as the reactions of his physical and psychic natures to his environment. As a consequence, the manifestation of life in the human body is most readily recognized as a response to the atmosphere. This response we call breathing.
By means of the breath, the soul personality establishes a connection between the finite and infinite aspects of man’s being. Through this connection, man experiences Self. The Breath of Life is therefore closely associated with human consciousness and, as such, merits close attention. Of what is the Breath of Life composed? Why is the Breath of Life attracted to the body in the first place? Is the oxygen of the air the only vehicle through which the infinite aspects of Self maintain a crucial connection with the body of man?
Because most forms of life on our planet do not survive in the absence of oxygen, it is tempting to equate the oxygen of the air with the Breath of Life. However, it is interesting to note that preliminary experiments have shown that some forms of life, such as plants, do not survive in oxygen-containing atmospheres which have been depleted of ions. Clearly then, ions are also important components of the air. But could ions represent a vehicle through which some aspect of the vitality inherent in the Breath of Life is brought to the body? What are ions? How are they formed?
Ions are atoms or molecules which have either gained or lost electrons.
When an atom or molecule gains electrons, it is converted to an ion of negative polarity – an anion. On the other hand, when an atom or molecule loses electrons, it is converted to an ion of positive polarity – a cation. Atmospheric ions are generated when electromagnetic vibrations form the Sun cause atoms or molecules to lose electrons, thereby creating ions of positive polarity, or positive ions. Dislodged electrons, being extremely active, attach themselves to neighboring atoms or molecules having the capacity to accept them. In accepting dislodged electrons, the atoms or molecules are converted to ions. Negative ions are also generated in the atmosphere when electrons emitted by radioactive substances in the Earth’s crust attach themselves to appropriate atoms and molecules.
Movements of Ions
Ions move under the influence of an electrical potential. When ions move, they generate electromagnetic fields. The polarity of the generated field is dependent upon the polarity of the ion generating it. Atmospheric ions move under the influence of an electric potential of 250,000 volts which exists between ionosphere and the Earth’s surface. The space between the ionosphere and the Earth therefore functions as an immense battery of which the Earth’s surface is the negative pole. Within this gigantic battery, positive ions of the atmosphere move toward the negative polarity of the Earth, while negative ions move toward the positive polarity of the ionosphere. As a consequence, there are more positive, atmospheric ions near the Earth’s surface than negative ones. Therefore, in man’s immediate environment there are, on the average, five positive ions for every four negative ones.
The excess of positive ions in man’s immediate environment imparts a positive electromagnetic polarity to the air we breathe. Thus, atmospheric ions, along with oxygen gas, contribute to the positive polarity of the atmosphere. It is the positive polarity of the atmosphere, along with the physical entities of the air we breathe, that vitalizes the body. Man’s vitality therefore arises from the duality of physical entities and non-physical electromagnetic fields in his atmosphere. This point of view reflects the Rosicrucian principle which states that the Breath of Life is dual in nature.
Like the atmosphere by which it is vitalized, the body of man embraces both physical elements and non-physical electromagnetic fields. The body’s fields are generated as a consequence of the movement of an enormous number of ions contained in the body fluids. Many of these ions constantly cross and re-cross cell membranes, and in so doing generate minute electric currents which manifest as nerve impulses, muscle movements, etc. As the body fluids course through arteries, veins, lymph ducts, and so on, their ions also contribute to the body’s fields. The potential which induces body-fluid ions to move is generated within the body by the Breath of Life.
Like atmospheric ions, body-fluid ions vary, depending upon the nature of the atom or molecule which gains or loses electrons. Among the varieties of body-fluid ions is a particular pair which is intimately associated with maintaining the body’s electromagnetic polarity. This pair of ions, one positive, the other negative, is generated when a molecule of water is ionized. Ionization in this sense refers to the unequal splitting of a molecular of water to produce a hydrogen ion and a hydroxyl ion.
Chemically pure water contains an equal number of hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions. Therefore, it is neutral in polarity. This fact is reflected in the neutral pH value of 7 which has been assigned to chemically pure water. The term pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ins in a water-based solution. When the pH 7 value is greater than 7, it signifies a solution of negative polarity; pH value of less than 7 signify solutions of positive polarity. Body fluids have pH values of 7.2 to 7.4. Blood, lymph, and other body fluids are, therefore, a negative polarity. Indeed, each cell of man’s body, being largely composed of water (75% - 80%), also reflect this negative polarity.
The Breath of Life is attracted to the body in the first place because the laws of polarity dictate that opposites attract. In accordance with this law, the body of a newborn baby, being predominantly of negative polarity, represents a powerful center of attraction for the positive polarity of the atmosphere. Therefore, a baby’s first breath is a manifestation of the contact between the positive and negative, or infinite or finite aspects of man’s being. As the baby continues to breathe, the Breath of Life repeatedly brings the positive polarity of the atmosphere into an intimate contact with the body fluids, and thence to every cell. In this way the negative polarity of our physical being is constantly challenged and vitalized by the positive polarity of the soul personality via the air we breathe. This positive, vitalizing influence of the Breathe can be demonstrated in the laboratory as changes in the body’s polarity following inhalation and exhalation. Using a sensitive voltmeter, it has been observed that mystical positive breathing exercises cause the body’s polarity to become less negative, that is, more positive. Conversely, negative breathing causes the polarity to become more negative.
Man’s awareness of himself grows out of a vital connection between the finite and infinite aspects of his being. Ions, along with other physical entities within and without the body, serve as the vehicles through which these two aspects of Being are brought together in harmonious interaction to manifest the consciousness of man. Thus the body may be said to represent and electromagnetic pattern, a crucible, in which awareness of Self is forged and nurtured through experience of that state of being which we realize as matter.
- Author Unknown