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Finding Sight

Finding Sight A Practical Guide for Self-Development of the Deep Senses



Chapter 1

Breathing Naturally, the First Imperative


Many ancient eastern cultures teach that the breath is life. You can live for a long time without food, water, or heat, but you can't live very long without breathing. But how we breathe is important. Without "proper" breathing, our bodies do not function at optimum. Without proper breathing, one cannot utilize one's full abilities to sense.

Babies and young children breath naturally . . .which is to say "correctly." Wind musicians and singers, some athletes, and some martial artists are taught to breathe correctly as a matter of necessity for their occupations. The rest of us usually do not breathe naturally, especially if we live in the West.

Most people in the West "chest breathe." That is to say, they breathe by engaging only the barest minimum of their diaphragm and instead rely on the muscles of the rib cage to draw air into their lungs. This can be verified by the rising of the shoulders and expansion of the rib cage during inhalation. The only time such breathers fully utilize the diaphragm is when their bodies are physically distressed, say by running hard and fast past normal endurance. Only then does the diaphragm fully engage, bypassing the persons regular programmed "chest breathing" in order to get enough air into the body. This temporary use of the diaphragm often results in the side-ache or belly-ache that people who are not used to physical exertion experience when they take up jogging or a similar activity for the first time.

Why do most of us chest breathe? For one, because our culture has a fetish for big chests and little waists. We puff up our chests and suck in our stomachs so as not to be seen as unattractive, especially to the opposite sex . Secondly, as a culture, we are unnaturally "tied up" and tense, self-conscious and in fear of negative judgements. We tie ourselves up and "hold" ourselves, tensing our stomachs, our chests, our shoulders and our jaws. To breath fully with the diaphragm, one has to be relaxed and at ease. And, once the diaphragm has gone into semi-disuse, it is hard to get it working autonomously again. It needs to be reeducated, so to speak -- that is, our brains need to be reeducated to stop stopping the diaphragm from doing its work.

Anatomically speaking, the diaphragm is a muscle that, when it engages, pulls downward creating a vacuum that causes our lungs to fill with air. The downward action of the diaphragm pushes on the internal organs which in turn causes the belly to expand outward. When the diaphragm relaxes, that air is expelled out of the lungs and the belly returns to normal. This is called, "belly breathing."

When we inhibit this process by keeping our stomach muscles tense, the diaphragm is not allowed to work at full capacity and the intercostal muscles of the rib cage are required to work much harder than they were intended to. This in turn places undue stress on the heart.

The first step to learning to sense fully is to relearn how to breathe. Without that, you can't do Tai Chi, you can't do tennis, you can't do much of anything effectively, and you definitely can't relax enough to enjoy any sort of depth sensing. So, we relearn how to breathe, and this is going to be the hardest thing you have to do in this whole book. It will also take the longest to develop. Most people carry a deep seated psychological aversion to having their stomach "pooch" out. With diligence, you may be able to achieve natural autonomous breathing with the diaphragm in two years unless somehow you already retain natural breathing from childhood, or you have already reprogrammed yourself because of a skill like operatic singing.

Step One

  1. Lay down flat on your back on a padded but firm surface, like a mat.
  2. Place your hands over your solar plexus, the area of your abdomen just below your ribs.
  3. Gently but forcefully expel all the air from your lungs. In order to do this you will find yourself sucking in your stomach slightly.
  4. Relax and allow your lungs to begin filling with air. You will feel your diaphragm pull down as your stomach returns to it's normal position.
  5. Continue to inhale and allow the breath to push your belly out and your hands upward toward the ceiling.
  6. Exhale and allow your stomach to return to normal.

You have just engaged your diaphragm in an exaggerated fashion. Under normal breathing conditions it is not necessary to expel all of the air out of your lungs or actively push the stomach out.

Step Two

Now continue to so breathe, mentally exploring the sensation of the body part involved in the pushing up of your hands.

Step Three

Now, instead of using your breathing to push your hands up, feel the drawing down of the diaphragm pull air into your lungs and cause your hands to rise. Then, relax and let the air leave your lungs naturally.

You have just breathed as nature intended, using your diaphragm.


Watch out when you start to do this. You can get quite light-headed because, instead of only drawing air into the top third (the small portion) of your lungs, you are drawing air into all of your lungs, and therefore getting a lot more oxygen than you are used to.

Step Four

Now sit up and still breathe using your diaphragm. You might need to put your hands back on your tummy at first.

Step Six

In the normal course of your daily life, anytime you think about it, check your breathing. You must relearn to naturally breathe with the diaphragm ...unconsciously. I am telling you that is will take most of you who are diligent at least two years.

Step Seven

As an exercise, once a day, lay down and place a book on your tummy and make it go up and down. Use heavier and heavier books to exercise and strengthen that diaphragm.

Step Eight

Have someone check your breathing when you are asleep or napping. When you are breathing naturally while asleep and while you are awake, you are well on your way to having succeeded in de-programming yourself from chest-breathing.


Finding Sight Table of Contents

Next - Relaxing, the Second Imperative

Finding Sight, A Practical Guide for Self-Development of the Deep Senses,
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 F.W. Lineberry & D.L. Keur, All Rights Reserved