In many spiritual traditions throughout the world the breath is believed to carry the life force of a human being and that the act of breathing originates from the very Source of Life. In western philosophy the breath is called the Pneuma in Greek and Spiritus in Latin. In Islam it is called Baraka, Hebrew it is called Ruach and in Chinese philosophy it is called Qi (chi).
Each breath we take is a reminder of the great mystery of birth and death. The first act we do when we come into the world is inhale. The last act we do upon our departure from this world is to exhale. The breath comes from God and returns to Him. It is a gift and connects us back to the creation of our first parents when God breathed into them the Breath of Life, “then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). When our life is over and we die we return the gift back to God, “So now, deal with me as you please; command my life breath to be taken from me, that I may depart from the face of the earth and become dust” (Tobit 3:6).
Breathing is much more than an unconscious, natural act that we do every moment of our lives. Through our breathing we reach all the way back to the beginning of the universe, to the moment when in the stillness and quietude, all things came into being. At conception, we receive our soul from God, the life energy from our parents and with our first breath we begin to cultivate our relationship with God.