Question: I read something about the control of breath in meditation. Could you elaborate on that?99

Sri Chinmoy: When you breathe in, try to breathe in as slowly and as quietly as possible. The highest type of spiritual breathing, which is not at all dangerous, is to breathe in so slowly and quietly that if somebody placed a tiny thread in front of your nose it would not move at all. While breathing in as slowly as possible, feel that you are breathing in not just air but cosmic energy. Feel that tremendous energy is entering into you, and that you are going to use it to purify yourself: your body, vital, mind and heart. Feel that there is not a single place in your body that is not being occupied by the flow of cosmic energy. It is flowing like a river inside you.

When you feel that your whole being has been washed or purified by cosmic energy, then feel that you are breathing out all the rubbish inside you — all your undivine thoughts, impure actions, obscure ideas. Anything inside your system that you call undivine, anything that you do not want to claim as your own, feel that you are exhaling. It is most important that this breathing be done in a very conscious way, not in a mechanical way. Otherwise, it will not be effective.

The traditional yogic pranayama is more complicated and systematised. But what I have just told you is the most effective spiritual method of breathing. In the beginning, you will have to use your imagination, but after a while you will see and feel that it is not imagination at all, but reality. You are consciously breathing in the energy that is flowing all around you in the cosmos, purifying yourself, and then emptying yourself of everything undivine. If you can breathe this way for five minutes every day, you will be able to make very fast progress.

When you reach a more advanced stage, try not to feel that your breath is coming in and going out only through your nose. Feel that you are breathing in and breathing out through your heart, through your eyes, through your pores. Now you are limited to breathing in and out only through the nose or the mouth. But a time will come when you will realise that any part of the body can breathe. Spiritual Masters can breathe even with their nose and mouth closed. When you have perfected this kind of spiritual breathing, you will see that all your impurity and ignorance have been replaced by God’s Light, God’s Peace and God’s Power.

MUN 240. 23 March 1973.