The deeper we dive into the mystery of life the more we find that its whole secret is hidden in what we call words. All occult science, all mystical practices are based upon the science of word or sound. Man is a mystery in all aspects of his being, not only in mind and soul, but also in that organism which he calls his body. It is his body of which the Sufis say that it is the temple of God, and this is not a mere saying or belief, for if man studies his body from the mystical point of view, he will find it to be much more subtle and far-reaching, and much more capable of doing, understanding and feeling, than he believes it to be.
There are faculties of the soul which express themselves through certain centers in the body of man. As there are parts of lands to which water never reaches – and therefore they never become fertile soil – so it is with these centers when the breath never reaches them. They are intuitive, they are full of peace and balance, they are the centers of illumination, yet never have they been awakened, for man has breathed only in those parts of his body by which he can eat, and live, and perform action. He is only half alive, if his existence is compared with the fullness of life that can be obtained by spiritual development.
It may be compared to living in a great town and not knowing that there are many beautiful things that one has never seen. As there are many people who travel to distant lands and do not know their own country, so it is with man. He is interested in all that brings beauty and joy, and yet does not know the source of all such things in himself.
Man breathes, but he does not breathe tightly. As the rain falls on the ground and matures little plants and makes the soil fertile, so the breath, the essence of all energy, falls as a rain on all parts of the body. This also happens in the case of the mind, but man cannot even perceive that part of the breath that quickens the mind; only that felt in the body is perceptible, and to the average man it is not even perceptible in the body. He knows nothing of it, except what appears in the form of inhalation and exhalation through the nostrils. It is this alone which is generally meant when man speaks of breath.
When we study the science of breath, the first thing we notice is that breath is audible; it is a word in itself, for what we call a word is only a more pronounced utterance of breath fashioned by the mouth and tongue. In the capacity of the mouth breath becomes voice, and therefore the original condition of a word is breath. Therefore, if we said: “First was the breath”, it would be the same as saying: “In the beginning was the word”.
The first life that existed was the life of God, and from that all manifestation branched out. It is a manifold expression of one life; one flower blooming as so many petals, one breath expressing itself as so many words. The sacred idea attached to the lotus flower is expressive of this same philosophy, symbolizing the many lives in the one God, and expressed in the Bible in the words: “In God we live and move and have our being.” When man is separated from God in thought, his belief is of no use to him, his worship is but of little use to him; for all forms of worship or belief should draw man closer to God, and that which makes man separate from God has no value.