If there is one thing that must be discussed in conjunction with nutrition and healing through our foods, it is the concept and importance of being focused and aware of something that many people do on a subconscious level: ‘Breathing’. Being aware of one’s own breath is so important in the concept of Holistic Nutrition; it has universal importance across most if not all Mystic Circles around the globe. In particular the term “Hosh Dar Dam” is the first principle of most distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Order; which literally means “Mind Breath” according to Abdul Khaliq al Ghujdawani (Q) and is the first rule of the Order. This concept was so important to him, He (Q) went on to say that ‘Hosh Dar Dam’ also means… “You must not inhale or exhale with heedlessness or without consciousness.” If one is thinking about this from a traditional Western and linear point of view, one may be inclined to think that breathing is just a biological function that just happens on its own and does not need to be given much thought of because the human being is just another ‘Animal’. While on the external surface one could try and make that argument, yet there are many who see the ‘breath’ as the grand door-way to Self Realization and the path to understanding his or her physical life that is not based only on having a physical body.
But at some point you do have a physical body, so what makes it “run” and why is consciousness of one’s own breathing important? For one thing, actual studies have been conducted on those who practice some type of breathing concentration practice and found that many of them have lower rates of high blood pressure, greater abilities to deal with stress and traumas and have been shown to have less mortality rates related to serious illness for the most part. But while all this good to know from a physiological stand point, the Sufi’s have taken that a step further by saying that at the interval between breathing and exhalation the human being experiences a millisecond of physical ‘death’ and it is only the mercy of the Almighty that allows the respiratory system to conduct itself in the manner that it does. The Human being experiences death through every breath and more so when in sleep mode. From a Holistic Medicine point of view, this idea is perfectly in line with the Sufi concept of breathing, because being aware of one’s breath is acknowledging the miracle, the mystery and the eternal life force that exist in all living and present things. Being aware of one’s breath brings gratitude because they have no control over it. Being in a state of reflective gratitude, should bring the physical body in a state of peace and allows the body to do its true work: submit and harmonize with everything around it. But to get to that level will take work; a work that will never finish. In fact Ubaidullah al Ahrar (Q) said:, “The most important mission for the seeker in this Order (and in layperson) is to safe guard his or her breath, and he or she who cannot safeguard his or her breath, it would be said of them… “They have lost themselves.”
For many around the world, being aware of the breath is of the upmost importance, yet very hard to do; especially in our fast paced lives. Yet with good intentions and little steps just to say to yourself when you remember… “I am breathing. I am alive”, you would be amazed at what impact this has on your overall health, your digestion, your energy and your internal thoughts. Mind, Body and Spiritual Energy all work together to either sustain or literally destroy the human being; it all begins with a simple choice, a choice to be aware. A choice to be aware of the breath; which is directly in line with the Holistic Medicine Approach.
-Dr. Daud Scott N.D.; CHNP.
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