( Originally Published 1930 )
Breathing stale or devitalized air is suicidal; it contains quantities of poisonous gases and is absolutely lacking in electrical energy. Fresh air contains an abundance of sun or life force without which nothing can exist. The living cells of the body obtain their electric life essence through the air from the sun. It is small wonder that the Indians worship the Power of the Sun, the source of their very life, the manifested symbol of their Sun God, the Power behind the Sun, "The One about whom nothing may be said." When the white man teaches his child, as the Indian does, that the air he breathes, the water he drinks, the food he eats and the thoughts he thinks are all charged with sparks of vital energy, and that in order to absorb that life-force into his body he must live in harmony with Nature, using her bound-less resources in their primitive freshness, then and only then will the white race become as sturdy as the red race.
The air contains those vital constituents or units of energy, electric life sparks, residing in the heart of every atom. It is life-force itself derived from the life-principle of the sun. Whether deprived consciously or unconsciously of this principle, force or energy, the rhythms are disturbed and the health and vitality of any living creature suffers thereby.
There are two breath rhythms, major and minor; in addition we have rhythms in the heart pulsations which are dependent upon the breath. Breathing in and out, when understood, can keep the body in a state of health and harmony and the mind in a state of controlled equilibrium. Breathing constitutes a double rhythm. It is exercised not only by the lungs but by the skin in a constant inpouring and out-pouring of subtle hidden forces carried through the air. Radio has made us realize much.
Man resembles the radio except that he is a broadcasting station as well as a receiving station, a transmitter and loud speaker all in one. He is capable of sending and receiving both radio-electric and telepathic messages. Unfortunately his mental crystal occasionally develops flaws and he frequently becomes static just like any other radio !
The Indian knows many interesting facts about the breath and breathing; among them the following are highly interesting to us.
Life enters the body with the incoming breath and departs with the outgoing breath. This is true of man, animals and plants.
The breath is automatically controlled by the mind, through certain sense centers in the brain.
The breath is suspended in lifting, pulling, pushing, or pressing. The breath is first inhaled, then held, then exhaled when excreting or expelling anything from the body.
Electricity, the life agent or carrier, together with oxygen, is attracted into the blood by iron, and serves to sustain and promote cell growth, while the electric force itself is used in the emotions, thoughts and will power. This produces growth. But if the blood is deficient in iron it naturally cannot attract enough oxygen for its purification.
The blood uses oxygen from the air while the nervous system uses a certain electrical force radiated by the sun and contained in the ethers --called by the East Indians, Prana. The life-giving force expands while the physical or natural force contracts into form. This is true of body cells as well as thought-forms.
Man alternates in polarity with every breath. He accumulates force, or he relaxes, often unconsciously and imperceptibly, with the influx or efflux of his breath. He may adjust his polarity to breathing and thereby control the life current, making it positive or negative at will. When properly understood, this process may be used for self-healing. It is a matter of will power, together with the understanding of very definite laws. It is quite contrary to self-hypnotism. There is a great difference between the states of negative passivity and positive receptivity. It is dangerous to make oneself receptive to unknown powers with-out full knowledge of their operations.
One nostril is used for the positive and the other for the negative life currents. Many Indians understand this process thoroughly. Indian adepts and healers are intimately acquainted with many mysterious and powerful rhythms of the body and manipulate and control them by the power of will through mind.
It is through breathing, in and out, and through the heart pulsations that both food and water are utilized in the body. With such interferences as tight clothing, belts, hat bands, cramped positions, bad habits of posture or carriage, the actions of rhythmic breathing and fluid circulation and rhythm are disturbed or checked and the vitality of the body is lowered. Lack of sunshine and air, insufficient or improper methods of exercise, unbalanced diet and uncontrolled thoughts gnaw at the root of a healthful civilization.
Man is naturally flooded by the constant vibratory rate of the world, with each breath, and with the special vibratory rates of his particular environment. The Indian endeavors to make or control his own environment. To accomplish this he combines thought with effort.
The powers of the breath relative to speech, creation and "the word made flesh" have a highly significant meaning among the Indians. They know the laws of voice placement, and control their vocal chords with amazing skill. A whoop or yell can be made to carry miles or echo and reecho a number of times. That he uses healing mantrams is well known.
Ordinary man cannot permanently stop the action of breathing by will but he can control its effects upon his body, emotions and mind.
One of the most important offices of the skin is breathing. The outer coat of skin has millions upon millions of tiny valve-like openings called pores, each provided with minute muscles which serve to open and close them. The skin is so porous as to be penetrable by light, heat, color, sound and moisture. Air enters the pores carrying the electric life-giving currents into the body, where it is immediately taken up by the blood. Radio-electric messages also reach the nerves through the pores of the skin.
There are two kinds of perspiration or sweat, visible and invisible. The visible perspiration carries poisons, excretions and refuse out through the pores of the skin in the form of moisture. The invisible perspiration, noticeable in body odors, exudes in the form of poisonous gases or fumes. It is easy therefore to understand how important it is to perspire. The natural perspiration produced by exercise should not be checked in any way, for muscular exertion throws off poisons and is extremely beneficial. With a moderate amount of cleanliness there should be no offensive odors, provided that intestinal elimination is normal and the diet correct.
If the pores become clogged with dirt, grease, powder or any sort of exuded waste matter, or if the muscular action of the pores is weakened so that they cannot open and close quickly and easily, they become sluggish and unable to perform their exceedingly important functions. Under such circumstances reabsorption of the poisons and gases is the result with serious injury to the blood stream and the nerves.
If the blood stream is affected, every organ and nerve in the body is deprived of pure air and adequate nourishment with self-poisoning as the inevitable result. This is especially true when the vital organs, particularly the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, brain and sex organs, are overworked and weakened. In order to have a healthy body and an active skin it is absolutely necessary to have pure, clean blood. This necessitates clean digestive organs and intestines particularly a clean colon. If you will keep these members clean, Nature will take care of the skin, provided you keep the surface clean and eat and think properly. The nerves beneath the outer skin are superlatively sensitive and send their messages with acute irritability when improperly nourished. Many nervous cases may be traced to insufficient breathing either through the lungs or the skin.