Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Breathe, breathe, breathe. Biography of three friends

In Rishikesh, leaning on a rooftop sill from where I could see life lying on the carved light, I heard the speaker talk about the three friends who accompany us throughout life: people, money and breath. Only the third of the friends who guards us also vanishes with us: breath, the respiration.
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t the end of the dry season, the Ganges, on its way through Rishikesh, retains such a stained-glass blue colour that awakens the desire to smash it with pebbles. The first rains will soon be noticed. Neither the transmutation of the afternoons, that will jump from one sky to another until the beetles’ moment and that will end capitulating in the sunset. Leaning on a rooftop sill from where I could see the life lying on the carved light, I heard the speaker talk about the three friends who accompany us throughout life: people, money and breath. People, he says, see how we are born and grow. We make each other company. But when we die we leave, and the others remain. To refer to that second friend, money, he uses the same simile: we need it until the time comes, then the dead man goes away and the money stays. Only the third of the friends who guards us also vanishes with us: breath, the respiration.

Tension exerts such dominance upon our behaviour that we perpetually limit our well-being.

Two million years ago, the first long-distance explorers in the history of mankind packed their bags and left the cradle of East Africa to move North, in the same continent, and until the current Europe and Asia. We, the Sapiens, began to dream about ourselves. We were preparing for an uncertain future. An expansion that sought to increase well-being, that we started alone and that, insatiable, we strive to complete in the same way. During this process we have not avoided the destruction of the planet or the extermination of dozens of animal species, among them, those humans that were not like us. It has been and continues to be the consequence of wanting to exercise control over the world that surrounds us, and above all, control over two of those three friends: people and money. This behaviour has led us to fear for our very existence. At all times we feel danger. Tension exerts such dominance upon our behaviour that we perpetually limit our well-being.

With the purpose to providing hope, thanks to a very peculiar method -consisting on leaving you in the middle of a tunnel and, little by little, accompanying you to the light- Zygmunt Bauman defended that a return to what we were two million years ago is taking place, just moments before the long journey began (Retropia, Wiley Publisher). To date, welfare has been justified as a right. Surely, we come from too hard times, to try different ways. But we begin to perceive that the concept has been a patch, and patches sooner or later disappear.

Once again, we are facing an uncertain future in which younger generations approach a probable scenario with lower welfare conditions. To avoid this possibility, it is required to renounce progress the way we have understood it until now

Berta Roig, in the article Middle class loses power (The New Barcelona post, March 13th, 2018), pointed out the aftermath of the last economic crisis: excessive in number and, in many cases, insurmountable. Once again, we are facing an uncertain future in which younger generations approach a probable scenario with lower welfare conditions. To avoid this possibility, it is required to renounce progress the way we have understood it until now. The formulas of scientific and technological progress should be displaced by others that are not focused on evolution, but that take us back to the origins: reduce competitiveness, reduce expectations and drop consumerism. A major challenge that aims to overcome an era. An era marked by the education of those five senses, with which we have learned to perceive the outside world, the world of others; because in the same way that we observe and judge others, we know that they also observe us and judge us we. This has led us to be as we think we are perceived from outside. We possess, and we are afraid to lose.

A person could endure about three weeks without food and about three days without water. But rarely can last three minutes without breathing. We eat about three times a day and breathe twenty-three thousand

Pablo d’Ors states that men and women begin to live at the moment that they stop dreaming about themselves and develop consciousness. Consciousness is understanding the interdependence between humans and the planet (or the universe). And to reach consciousness it is essential to connect with our interior through breathing.

A person could endure about three weeks without food and about three days without water. But rarely can last three minutes without breathing. We eat about three times a day and breathe twenty-three thousand. And yet, when we are not well, the welfare system prescribes attention to the diet instead of attention to breathing. This has been the model so far: do not be afraid of getting sick, well-being -people and money- will cure you. On the contrary, the new way of procuring wellbeing does not happen thanks to the security of knowing that you have a hospital at every corner. The new way of well-being comes from attention to breathing, from which the quantity and quality of the vital energy is derived, making possible to discover and accept oneself.

The main difficulty we will face in taking this path will be to accept that it is better surrendering. Leaving behind the belief that well-being derives from the answers to the questions of science and progress. That is not true, because they are not and will never be better than the answers of the heart.