Copyright © 2010 by William R. Mistele. All rights reserved.
On Attaining Physical Immortality, Part II
Magical Breathing: A Brief Synopsis (27 pages)
Bardon’s breathing exercises are ninety-nine per cent based on imagination and concentration. They include physical, etheric, astral, mental, and akashic “breathing.” In exploring the exercises, the individual student can observe and define for himself each of these forms of breathing or energy accumulation directly through his own practice.
There are no doctrines here, no secrets, no esoteric orders, no lineages, gurus, initiations, and no expensive seminars with special methods reserved only for the “ordained” teachers—that is, there are no franchises or no monopolies. You do the exercises and, with some ingenuity and a great deal of perseverance, you get the results. You do not have to believe anything or commit to anyone’s ethnic or culturally based objectives.
The practice begins and ends with your health, your vitality, your healing abilities, and the power with which you live your life. You will want to carefully observe what works best for you as an individual and proceed at a pace that is natural and that optimizes learning without sacrificing your well-being and equilibrium. Here is a brief synopsis:
The body is like a factory
using biochemistry to take oxygen from the air and attaching it to red blood
cells. These red blood cells take the
oxygen to body cells where it metabolizes with sugars and carbon to produce
energy. This energy production occurs at
low temperatures due to the part enzymes play in the process.
Since we are dealing with vitality, that is, health, it is indispensable to be in good shape. Without this, your results will be limited and erratic.
Oriental methods often fail to remind Westerners to do cardiovascular exercise. Do some weight training and stretching. Eat and sleep well. Avoid excessive stress.
Hopefully, work with some form of energy art such as chi kung, yoga, or tai chi chuan. This should be something that is deeply relaxing and that produces extra vitality without relying on the mind or on any form of heightened concentration. You will need a basis of comparison in order to better evaluate the vitality produced through breathing.
Once you start visualizing colors or consciously circulating vitality around your body, you are already increasing the intensity of vibration in your mental body and downgrading the organic and natural capacities built into the physical body. Learn how to do both—natural and magical energy production and healing.
Etheric Body Breathing
Etheric Body (definition): The etheric body is similar in shape to the physical body. The metabolic and biochemical activities of the physical body produced a subtle field of energy that relates directly to health and vitality. Systems such as acupuncture or practices such as pranayama focus primarily on the etheric body. They seek to balance and increase the quantity and quality of the life force or vitality in the physical body. In these examples, they do this by adding imagination to breath or interacting with points in the body where the etheric and physical are closely aligned.
In this essay, the etheric body is the extra or excess vitality that is produced through the biochemical and metabolic activities of the physical body. Vitality is actually fluid and malleable—it can be accumulated, moved around in the body, transformed, and transferred outside of the body in ways that are currently beyond the knowledge of science and medicine.
The first step in Bardon breathing exercises is to imagine that you are breathing vitality in along with the air you are inhaling. (See the entire set of Bardon breathing practices at the end of Part I). This is like commanding that a factory work with great efficiency, for example, instead of at ten per cent efficiency it is now working at twenty per cent efficiency.
All those fascinating practices in yoga, chi kung, etc. are basically upgrading the efficiency of the factory production line. Work is accomplished with less effort, with less waste, and resources are managed more effectively. But they do NOT increase the amount of vitality or life force in the air being inhaled. The management in ethnic and cultural pranayama classes is pretty good at times, but it is not world class.
A Bardon student who meets Bardon’s expectations for practicing for ten years draws in about three times more vitality in one breath than the greatest masters of various traditions on earth. These masters can do great things with that vitality once it is in their bodies, but here right from the beginning we see an astonishing difference in the human versus the magical training programs. The Bardon system immediately presents you with the goal of gaining access to unlimited energy; human systems have no such concept.
With magical breathing, you are attaching an electro-magnetic field to the oxygen molecules. This requires a high caliber concentration to accomplish. The quickest way to develop concentration that directly changes the vibration of the air you inhale is by extensive practice of concentrating on each of the five senses.
The result is that the field of energy generated through concentration impregnates something physical—the oxygen. This “breathing in of vitality” does, however, upgrade efficiency of the air molecules and metabolic processes many times over.
The normal excess or surplus vitality produced by the biochemical metabolism we can call etheric energy. It can be moved around at will both inside and outside of the body; it is easy to transform and totally receptive to suggestions and imagination.
You can work hard on an assembly line, be well-motivated, and enthusiastic about your job. But if you place Starbucks coffee cafés throughout the factory, add personal trainers, throw in the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders rooting for you as you work, and give assembly line workers stock ownership, you are no longer an employee of a car company. You feel and perform as if you are a football star. Magical breathing gets your metabolism to perform far beyond its normal level of energy productivity.
[Though later on I will expand on this topic, in passing I would suggest that an individual with his sun sign in Aries has breath that is programmed to draw in Aries vitality. The Aries draws in with each breath a hot, explosive, ready to act, and totally extroverted kind of energy. It is fire energy. A Virgo sun sign draws in a cautious, analytic, and wanting to get things right kind of energy. It is earth energy.
In other words, there is a subconscious bias each individual has as he or she “shapes” the vitality entering the body to “fit” a certain personality style. Though there are strong mental and astral elements in astrological signs, the main thrust is etheric vitality. In breathing, the Aries is drawing in an etheric hot form of vitality whereas the Virgo is drawing in an etheric heavier form of vitality. Eventually, a student of magic will want to bring his microcosm in harmony with the larger macrocosm. This is done in part by universalizing the etheric body—integrating into one’s vitality the vibrations of the larger universe or, in this example, the vitality specific to each astrological sign.]
Again, the quickest way to enhance magical breathing is to practice concentrating on each of the five senses. This practice trains the mind to attune itself to and to enter the realm of etheric vitality. Bardon has students working on five minute to a half hour concentration on one sense. For breathing practice, quickly concentrating on the five senses even for ten seconds each resets an individual’s brain waves to better connect to etheric energy.
For those who are having difficulty with etheric breathing or who wish to explore it in greater depth, you can practice imagining you are an animal or even transfer your consciousness into an actual animal. You concentrate on perceiving and moving about with the animal’s modes of perception, routines, and its instinctual energies. And then practice breathing vitality in and out of your body in the form of the animal. Notice the difference in the kinds of vitality produced.
Martial artists have great movement sets based on animals in fighting mode. You want to go much further than martial artists and pursue the shamanistic approach in which you are after the etheric life force in the animal and not just the animal in as it behaves in a martial context.
For example, the tiger and lion are fiery power, aggression, and dominance. The eagle and owl are clear vision by day and by night. The snake has the mesmeric concentration relating to the earth. The deer has the acute hearing and the capacity to blend into the surroundings with the flexibility of air. And though the whale migrates, it feels united through sound and vibration with the entire ocean.
In effect, the animals embody specialized drives and modes of perception. How do you stop your mind from thinking? Imagine you are an owl or hawk. They can sit on a branch and just watch for hours without being distracted or having a thought passing through their minds. The etheric vitality in their bodies vibrates within the context of their anatomical, perceptual, and instinctual systems. However, this practice can be so much fun you may have to watch that you keep the exercise focused on your magical objectives.
Another Exercise for Studying Etheric Vitality
Grasp one of your wrists with your other hand. Notice the physical sensations of touch, weight, size, shape, pressure, heat, etc. This is again awareness of the physical body.
Now, take one or more deep breaths in which you imagine the air and vitality in your breath is moving directly into the hand holding the wrist and the wrist being held. Air enters your body through your nose or mouth, passes through the lungs and blood stream, and then into the hand and wrist. You imagine in effect that you are breathing air and vitality in and out of the wrist and the hand.
Depending on your imagination and concentration, this may feel the same as the previous exercises of simply grasping the wrist or it may add additional sensations. In this case, you may sense increased warmth, blood circulation, sensory stimulation, and so forth.
Now, hold out your two hands in front of you and focus on them. Imagine you are breathing the vitality in the air in and out of your two hands. Next, as you inhale, imagine drawing in vitality and holding or keeping this vitality in your hands. As you exhale, simply let your mind be empty. In other words, you are accumulating the life force or vitality in your hands so it grows stronger with each breath. Take for example five breaths.
At this point, you may notice sensations that are specific to the etheric body and vitality. These sensations may include a sense of pressure building up in the hand, a radiant force almost like intense light, tingly sensations, and increased warmth.
Now hold one hand several inches away from the other hand so the palms are facing each other. Imagine that one hand is emitting vitality through the palm to the other hand. Imagine that the second hand is receiving, absorbing, or sucking in the vitality from the first hand. This flow or movement of vitality between the hands is an introduction to the way etheric vitality is different from the biochemical vitality that maintains the physical body. Again, etheric vitality can be moved about, accumulated, transformed, and even transferred in and out of the body.
A Few Etheric Steppingstones and Attainments
Uniting Shakti and Shiva in the Body
In the area of yoga, one of the great attainments is uniting the primal energy in the body based in the root charka with the transcendental awareness in the crown charka. Kundalini, the “serpent power,” is awakened in the body, guided upward passing through each of the major charkas, and then unites with her Lord Shiva in the crown charka based in the brain.
In some traditions, when this occurs the individual yogi enters a state of trance similar to hibernation. The senses are completely withdrawn from the external world. The vitality within the body becomes very purified and refined unleashing tremendous psychic abilities even though these powers are not the goal of the practice.
Individuals such as the late Swami Rama could at will enter such a state of trance, consciously evoking delta brain waves and deep dreamless sleep at will, while being able to demonstrate complete consciousness of his external environment.
Such inner union produces a transcendental state of detachment similar to that represented by the god Shiva. Other results are a mastery of the physiology and life force within the body, a sense of oneness with all things, great inner illumination, and profound bliss.
Among the disadvantages is that this attainment carries with it no awareness of the external world, history, or ethical commitments-- nada, nothing, zip--zero responsibility for the world. Buddhists might call this the attainment of an Arhat—one who has overcome that kind of suffering that is derived from attachment. This inner union is, however, part of the A, B, C’s of human physiology. We all have this capacity hidden within us.
There are Taoist practices similar to the inner union of Shiva and Shakti. The Chinese, being more extroverted in temperament, wanted to prolong life without having to forego being active in society. Taoist meditations do not involve the extreme internal focus of the yogis. There is, for example, movement, martial arts, and many other practices such a calligraphy, music, painting, poetry, and so forth built into their training curriculum.
The Taoists also were very keen on the idea of attaining astral immortality—the ability after death to sustain the strength and quality of the elements in the astral body so it does not deteriorate. As they pursued the “golden flower” and the “union of Kan and Li,” the Taoists tended to take greater interest in and also sought to harmonize themselves with the energies of nature. It is that emphasis on the energies within nature that led them in the direction of astral immortality. If you are in harmony with nature, then your astral body simply does not deteriorate.
The downside to the Taoist practices is that they do not seek to unite with the energies of nature so as to know them inside and out one hundred per cent in a way that leads to absolute command over those energies. This failure of command and will power means that they do not condense the elements within themselves to the extent necessary to attain physical immortality.
However, in cases where the yogi or the Taoist master did embody sufficient will power they could in fact master the vitality within themselves and prolong their lives at will. The greatest barrier to doing this when they were able to is the lack of connection to the akasha of the earthzone, namely, they had no purposes to fulfill that required further mastery of the life force in themselves.
To put it simply, when you are sufficiently developed in working with energy and in being psychic, the astral plane seems just as real, as inviting, and as much “home” as the physical world. For these masters, there is really no purpose served by hanging around here in the physical world because they had no world historic destiny to fulfill.
The Philosopher’s Stone
Meanwhile, in the Western world, even though alchemy was seen as a spiritual pursuit, the emphasis was on producing a physical substance that would both change lead to gold and greatly enhance health and length of life. Through alchemical experiments, chemistry was born. Among the practitioners was Sir Isaac Newton who practiced alchemy in part because analytical chemistry had not yet been invented.
Whatever the successes or failures of alchemical research, the intent was clearly to integrate into one substance the refined essence of everything that exists within nature. The goal, then, was not just to perfect the energies within the individual’s body or to bring the individual into harmony with nature while refining the various internal energies of the organs in the individual’s body. Rather, the goal was to bring to perfection life force as it exists within nature, as it encompasses in scope the entire planet, and includes all natural, human, and to some extent divine kingdoms within it. It was a world historical, global project that was envisioned.
In hermetic tradition and certainly within yogic traditions, it is possible for a highly developed master to materialize and to dematerialize himself. In this context, that is, in being able to control and transform matter and energy with one’s mind, it is possible to produce the philosopher’s stone within one’s own aura.
In this case, the advantage is that the individual embodies within himself a kind of life force that can greatly enhance and immediately refine the vibrations of anything within nature or that exists on earth. It can restore original balance and harmony as well as transforming something into a higher vibration—upgrading its qualities and powers. The physical philosopher’s stone, when developed within an individual’s etheric body, becomes an internal magical power subject to the individual’s will.
The disadvantage of attaining this incredible achievement is that it is primarily a physical attainment. If our science of biology was as advanced as our science of astronomy, all of us right now would already have attained this. We would know how to live for thousands of years.
And even though embodying the refined essence of the elements in nature establishes astral immortality, the actual ecstasies and divine visions within the four elements are not included in this attainment. The yogi sitting in his cave has a better sense, for example, of the oneness of life than does the master of internal alchemy.
To put it simply, the master of internal alchemy can breathe into himself the refined essence of the elements in nature so as to rejuvenate his physical body. This also animates and sustains his astral body. But it definitely does not make his mind enlightened. It does not carry with it any sense of compassion. And it does not by itself include any the purposes of akasha as it oversees evolution on this planet. It simply offers the ability to indefinitely extend one’s life span.
Immortality in a Divine Context
Implicit within Franz Bardon’s writings is a vision of an individual who is united from within to God, or, however you wish to express it—to divinity, to the Divine Majesty, to Divine Providence, to the One Light, etc.
In this scenario, like the higher spirits of the solar sphere, the individual embodies an akashic emptiness and all-penetrating purity that enables the highest light and a boundless level of vitality to flow through him. Physical immortality is a side effect of the practice.
It is the massive amount of vitality and light that the individual has access to that allows him to rise to the level of assuming responsibility for overseeing and guiding human and planetary evolution. Physical being and vitality on this level are inherently interwoven into a cosmic consciousness. You can not produce this level of vitality without feeling that you are joined to and a part of the unfolding purposes of the larger universe.
Furthermore, this vitality is not an individual possession. There is no “Oh gee, now I don’t have to die” to it. It is an ability that comes with other abilities that are part of being a servant of the light.
The yogi, Taoist, and even those who work with the philosopher’s stone may be involved in working with a lineage or great tradition. But in the Bardon scenario, the individual is assisted by a series of divine beings in unfolding his potential. His motivation is not that of an individual Arhat or a very accomplished master. Rather, in the end, he is an agent of Divine Providence and wears the mantel of its authority, power, and responsibility.
Consequently, the individual’s approach to his own body, to life force, and to soul, mind, and spirit take a totally different approach. He does not see himself as separate from others. The goal is not to build within oneself something for oneself but to develop oneself in order to serve.
[As an apprentice to the Judges of Saturn, I sometimes act as a general accounting office. I present the strengths and weaknesses of various traditions in order to indicate opportunities that have been taken and opportunities that are lost. Put bluntly, I monitor the conscience of others.
If I look carefully at the three greatest Swami/yogis now on earth and the three greatest Taoist masters, these individuals are typical of the race of Homo sapiens—they take three times more energy from the planet and use it for their own selfish needs than they give back to the planet.
The planet is like a mother. She is happy to give to her children. But at some point even a mother expects her children to attain maturity by rising to the level with which she gives.
These masters have utilized the incredibly beautiful energies of nature, the life force and magnetic fields of energy that encompass this planet. We are not just on another planet. We are on a planet that is almost unique in this galaxy. But their attitude has been “Oh, I have attained these various realizations; I have mastered the teachings of my lineage or tradition; I have attained great inner peace and light.”
But as far as contributing anything back to humanity, the biosphere, or the spiritual aura of the planet, they are like jaded teenagers whose parents have fed and housed them, given them a home and a good upbringing. But now these teenagers feel they are entitled to receive a free college education without any plans to return something of equal value either to their parents or to anyone else. They just want to further their own careers and make no serious effort to respond to the needs of the world on which they exist.
The vitality you breathe in when you inhale is some of the most beautiful, harmonious, and rich life force in the galaxy. It is saturated with spiritual vibrations. At some point in your training, do not be like these masters of human traditions with their self-serving, self-righteous complacency. Plan at some point in giving back something of equal value that benefits the planet rather than merely accomplishing things for the benefit of your family, your lineage, or your tradition.
There is an inspiration that guides an individual to reach for a global and cosmic level of attainment. This occurs when an individual feels joined from within to the powers unfolding the greater universe. From the beginning, learn to think of yourself from the point of view of the entire species, the entire planet, and the purposes of the larger universe.]
Bardon emphasizes that the accumulation of vitality is radiant like the sun, hot, and extremely expansive. At the same time, he points out that this vitality is totally receptive to ideas, images, and commands you place within it. In other words, though radiant, it is feminine in its essence. See also my site video on breathing. I describe it in this manner:
Feminine and infinite, receptive and utterly new in every moment, the energy of Divine Providence extends throughout the universe. Intimate and dynamically creative, this energy exists within our breath.
Through force of imagination and concentration, this mysterious gift we all possess reveals herself. Physical immortality is a side effect. The horrors and suffering of history are exchanged for joy in the presence of her radiant beauty.
Astral Body Breathing
Astral Body (definition): The astral body is in the shape of the physical body but made of a more subtle substance. The astral body pertains to the realm of the soul, to feelings and emotions. It is responsive and impressionable. It gives a sense of being connected to and appreciative of others. It is this sensitivity to the present moment, our immediate environment, and our sensory perceptions that enables us to feel fully alive.
Though receptive to impressions, it is also dynamic and radiant. Every feeling you can feel in life or in a dream is focused through and amplified by the astral body. As in a dream, the astral body is highly responsive to the sensual and perceptual images presented in concrete situations. If you imagine you are in a grove, a castle, a stone circle, a cathedral, or a railway station, your astral body immediately responds with a different set of vibrations.
Astral Plane (definition): The astral plane surrounds and penetrates the physical world. Sometimes referred to as the “other side,” the “world beyond,” or “the next world,” the astral plane pertains to the realm of the soul. As feeling and soul are to the body, the astral plane is to the material world. Undines, the spirits of water, as well as many other conscious entities exist on the astral plane. Sometimes we enter this realm in our dreams. Some individuals who are naturally sensitive or clairvoyant can perceive the astral plane directly.
An Exercise for Studying the Astral Body
Grasp one wrist again with your other hand. Without in any way changing the hold, add this feeling to the hand grasping the other wrist--“I love you with all my heart and soul” or “I am one with you.” Notice at this point the new sensations and feelings that are present in the touch.
For example, with the love added you may sense increased warmth, a feeling of encompassing, a penetrating and an “inner” connection to the wrist. These sensations or forms of awareness are astral in nature. We can think of the astral body as a body of energy that fits inside of or is identical in shape and form to the physical body. But it is more subtle like a fine glove fit inside of another glove.
Sometimes in dreaming it is impossible to tell if one is awake or asleep. The dreaming body produces the exact same sensations and perceptions as the physical body.
What is astral breathing? Normally, an individual’s attention is focused on the physical (“real”) world. Astral breathing in this case is at a bare minimum. He is not aware that there is another source of energy available to be drawn upon.
In this situation, the individual’s astral body is nourished and animated through physical, emotional, and sensory stimulation with the world around him. Subject an individual to sensory deprivation and he begins to hallucinate. Separate him from contact with other people and the world and the feeling of being alive is drastically curtained.
Astral breathing, as Bardon describes it, feels exactly like you are breathing in your physical body but there is no actual oxygen molecules entering the body and no physical metabolism or biochemical process involved. For example, imagine that you are standing outside of and next to your physical body. Now produce through imagination every single sensation that accompanies actual breathing in your physical body. If you feel radiant vitality as you take a deep breath in your physical body, include that sensation as well as you “imagine” breathing in.
You are now breathing in your “astral” body at this point. This is how Bardon presents astral breathing. Actual energy from the astral plane is being drawn into your astral body. It is just not related to biochemical vitality.
Obviously, the beings who occupy the astral plane do not eat, drink, and breathe to acquire energy. Rather, it is the quality of the electro-magnetic field within their aura that enables them to absorb the energies and the elements of the astral plane to sustain their existence.
Put simply, practicing drawing in and releasing the five elements and the electro-magnetic fluids is what develops your ability to absorb energies that sustain and enhance the health and strength of your astral body. Indirectly, astral breathing greatly amplifies the productivity of biochemical processes in the physical body. But again, since there are no material substances as dense as oxygen employed, there is no etheric output of vitality from the process.
Astral breathing makes breathing attractive and enchanting like turning the factory into a home so that by going to work you feel you are actually relaxing and pursuing your favorite activity. The astral provides a magical spell that turns reality into a dream and breathing into ecstasy.
There are individuals, for example, hard core mermaid women, who can draw the element of water and also magnetism directly from nature and absorb it into themselves. They are not using “breathing” of air based on a biochemical process to do this.
Mermaid type women, for example, like to be around large bodies of water because their auras are automatically drawing energy directly from that source. In this case, “breathing” is a loose metaphor for the energy exchange occurring. Though in a human body, these women are still continuously connected to water. And, like water, it is natural for them to continuously flow energy in and through everyone they encounter. Thus, for them, giving and receiving in equal measure is a part of being alive. To take more than one gives is beyond their comprehension.
Though normally absorbing water energy would only enhance the astral body and therefore indirectly the physical/etheric bodies, there are exceptions. Once the individuals’ astral body or control of one or more elements is sufficiently developed, the astral magnetism can become sufficiently condensed to interact with the physical organs and metabolism in the same way as etheric vitality.
To lift your arm requires vitality or energy in your body. A great martial artist can lift his arm with much greater power using less vitality than a normal person. An individual with sufficiently strong astral energy can use astral magnetism to lift the arm in the same way without relying upon biochemical energy. But again, it takes a prolonged training with the four elements to reach this level for drawing energy directly from nature and the astral plane.
Bardon’s exercise of imagining being outside of the physical body and breathing is specifically designed for learning to separate the astral body from the physical. If you imagine standing next to your body and breathing, you can then reenter your body and imagine that this subtle astral body is floating inside of your physical body. You might then be able to get a feel for breathing on in both the physical and the astral at the same time.
Astral breathing occurs naturally without effort as an individual practices drawing in and releasing the four elements and also as he or she develops a rapport with nature. Feeling you are a part of a lake, river, or ocean, a mountain, a forest, the sky, etc. grants the astral body the experience of being immersed within and a part of the energies of nature.
[A spirit of the earthzone, “Bileka,” like other spirits like to suggest that a student think of breathing as immediately connecting himself to the entire biosphere of the planet earth. Even as a mermaid woman might easily, effortlessly extend her aura through all the waters of the earth, get an astral “feeling” for being a part of nature as you breathe:
Bileka: “The winds ARE your breath. Sense the vitality of the winds as the vitality within your lungs as you inhale air. The rivers, the sea, and the rain--you can feel their life force and their magnetism, the waves breaking, the depths, and the moisture falling--all of this is within your blood, your kidneys, and the waters of your body flowing.
“The sun is the fire in your heart. Its radiance is your inspiration. Its heat is your passion. Shine with its light! The mountains and the earth, the minerals and the rocks--these are your bones and your physical body. Their vibration is your own. Sense your bones--their solidity, their stability, and the strength they lend you as support. The whole earth is your home.
“The trees, the forests, the plants, the flowers opening, and the seasons of life--these are the notes and cords of a song shouting from every pour in your body and dancing with ecstasy in your fives senses. Can you sense it now? The life force animating your body is one with the life force of the planet. Full of beauty and divine passion, there is one magnetic field of love and we are all within it.”
To be more specific in regard to exploring astral breathing of the element, note for example that the water life force accumulation, as opposed to the fiery or white light kind of accumulation, is magnetic, cool, and soothing. Imagine sitting in a pool of water in front of a falls and practice breathing air in and out of your body as you are surrounded by a fine mist of vapor from the falls. In this case, you can learn to sense more of the watery energy that is present in the air that you breathe in. You are just altering your mental focus slightly to produce a different result in terms of elemental accumulation in the air you are breathing.
However, the accumulation of the water element in nature is different from the accumulation of the water aspect of vital life force in the body. If you practice focusing completely on drawing into your body in each breath cold water, you get in your body the cold, wet sensation of water. If you breathe in air utilizing the imagery for example of sitting in front of a water fall, you are getting more of the watery energy that is a part of your own life force.
This energy is not wet and cold. It is soothing and cleansing, even nurturing and sustaining. This emphasizes the health-producing, elemental energies within breath and the organic vitality of the body. However, this procedure may only slightly develop your mastery of the water element. You have to decide in your own practice whether to move directly into working with water in nature or to explore water as an aspect of organic, etheric vitality in your body.
[To review, it is possible to emphasize particular elements as you breathe in. In terms of etheric vitality, with a slight emphasis on water the vitality will tend to be soothing, purifying, cleansing, releasing tension and relaxing, cooling, etc. If you astral breathe in water, the results are more in terms of astral feelings—feeling serene and peaceful, tranquil, united to nature, etc.
The mermaid type women are united to the element of water in their astral bodies and on the astral plane. Consequently, they have a non-human identity—they sense themselves as belonging to and united to nature. Water energy is constantly flowing through their astral bodies. The result is that their innocence, love, and empathy are beyond the knowledge and understanding of human beings.]
Similarly, accumulating the element of air, and not the “weightless” air of the sky, results in a balancing and harmonizing energy. The earth element, compared to emphasizing “density” vital accumulation is peaceful, calming, and stabilizing. The akasha element concentration produces a sense of inner stillness and profound faith.
If you gather and then blend these together, combining the opposite pairs carefully and then adding the akasha, you get a feeling of strong health and rejuvenation or the combination of all the qualities of each of the five elements.
Mental Body Breathing
Mental Body (definition): The mental body is in the form of the physical body but more refined or subtle than the astral body. It relates to ideas, thinking, and analyzing. Unlike the astral body with its sensitivity and response to concrete images and situations, the mental body works with abstractions. We size up situations and solve problems with our minds. The mental body is rooted in concentration and attention.
Here we choose when and how we focus our attention. Forming plans, setting priorities, and determining time frames and means for fulfilling our purposes are mental plane activities. The mental body does not carry the emotional force of the astral. Whereas the astral body produces enthusiasm, the mental body produces dedication.
In the astral body, a connection to another can be expressed through empathy in which you feel one with the other. Actual astral energy can circulate back and forth. That beautiful or loving woman who smiles at you or who cares for you—she not only makes you feel better; some of her beauty and love passes into and through you as astral energy.
The mental body, by contrast, can contemplate anything from a position of total detachment. And yet it can focus in such as way that nothing else exists in its awareness but the thing it is contemplating. The connection is not so much of feeling as it is of awareness—you can be aware of everything you know about another person all at once so as to generate pure insight.
All the same, the mental body typically is most active in thinking, analyzing, investigating, or planning. It asks, What needs to be done and what is the time frame in which we do this? What are the available resources we have for accomplishing our goals?
The way to experience the mental body is to learn how to think. Ask good questions. Learn to think or argue both sides of any position before taking a stand.
The power of Aristotle was that he fairly and accurately summarized all facts and perspectives before offering a new conceptual system that encompassed everything. People who argue for various causes rarely represent the facts accurately. Their emotional attachments prevent them from seeing the topic with any clarity.
In terms of magic, the mental body is strengthened by increasing its mirror-like quality. This is so important that it is possible to suggest that the basis of all magical traditions is the ability to observe something without thoughts intervening.
An Exercise for Studying the Mental Body Breathing
We have used the hands for studying physical sensations. We have breathed vitality into the hands. We have placed feelings into the hands. A mental plane exercise with the hands relating to vitality is to imagine that bright white light or golden light enters the hands as you breathe vitality into and out of them with your breath.
Light is usually more subtle than either etheric or astral vitality. If you look at your hands and see them shining bright like the sun in the sky, then the energy you sense in them is similar in vibration to sunlight. But bright light can also condense so it becomes astral energy or etheric energy. In this case, on an astral level the bright light carries with it a sense of great inspiration.
You look at the sun and you may love the sunset or sunrise but to get strong feelings from that sight you need to weave into the light some sort of mythological or emotional imagery. Psychic healers sometimes add to the light their own definition of authority over the life force—they embody in some way a sense of purpose, command, and power to restore harmony and health. This is an emotional force or inspiration that is typical of the astral plane.
Bardon also adds pour breathing to mouth and nose breathing. You imagine that every pour in your body is drawing in and releasing “vitality” as you inhale and exhale. Pour breathing is completely different from organic breathing. Like astral breathing, it has no material substance such as oxygen that it is attaching itself to. It carries no emotional or astral component. The entire idea of “pour breathing” is abstract.
[Note: For myself, if I draw in intensely cold water energy through breathing, this feels exactly the same whether I do it inside of my own physical body or within an imaginary body outside of my physical body. This is because the breathing process in this case in no way depends on physical air or the physical lungs.
Astral and mental body breathing, then, produce exactly the same results whether you practice them inside or outside of your body. The exception to this is if you practice magical breathing inside of another person after having transferred your consciousness into that person.
Depending on your skill, you then can then use this person’s own etheric body to produce etheric vitality in order to assist in healing that individual. You could of course transfer your own etheric vitality to this person but the disadvantage there is that the vitality you transfer is saturated with your astral vibrations. For the astral body, it appears as if your own astral body is then identical with the other individual’s astral body.
The other person benefits from the added vitality which is more effective than astral elemental healing or mental plane light healing. But in return your body feels the symptoms of the other individual even though you are not sick. These symptoms will of course wear away quickly but may place a great deal of stress upon your physical metabolism. For this reason, Bardon suggests gathering and condensing white light outside of one’s body and using that energy to heal others. He puts off working with the magnetic and electric fluids for healing until a later chapter. Some mermaid type women have been using magnetic energy to heal others for as long as they can remember.]
Pour breathing is a mental plane activity. You are drawing in energy into the body in association with the act of breathing but this energy is a mental vibration. Like other mental plane activities, it is like having a very well trained and highly motivated management team running a factory. They do not actually do the “real” work. But they design the product cars and oversee the production insuring that resources are available in the right place at the right time and so forth.
To put it another way, imagine the CEO of your car company running for president of the United States and serving two successful terms. Now he is back as CEO of your car company. But every day he likes to walk through the factory and mingle with the workers offering encouragement and attending to their concerns. The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders may increase your enthusiasm but they definitely do not bring with them any inner light or illumination.
Mental plane breathing produces a light as brilliant as the sun. And like that radiant light it integrates and expands the power of whatever it is near. And if that former president and CEO was also a Pentecostal preacher with some hypnotic and charismatic abilities, and if he said to someone who was cripple, “Rise and walk,” the individual just might do so because every cell in his body would believe that miracles are possible. That mental plane pour breathing vibration with its light has immense faith and conviction built into it.
Pour breathing is enhanced by breathing and condensing bright white as well as other colors of light in a manner similar to Bardon’s third book on the cosmic language. It is true that there is also a dazzling and brilliant white light that appears on the astral plane that Bardon refers to. But this astral light is expressed through the perfection of the astral four elements which are always present when it appears.
Mental breathing is vastly enhanced by transferring you mind into a body part and imagining breathing in and out from that location. For example, imagine walking into a room and this room is in fact your left foot. You look around and there are you toes in one direction and your heel in the other. By simply excluding all other distractions, your mind or consciousness orients itself to “being in” the particular body part you imagine yourself in.
You can then accumulate and disperse vitality from this part according to the exercises. You can also proceed to a practice Bardon gives later on which is condensing the vitality in the body into a tiny dot. The body as a whole or say the foot in particular becomes a vast empty space. You become this space with you mind in that body part. And then all the vitality you are drawing into your entire body is absorbed into a dot at the center of this area which you also later disperse.
Akashic Body Breathing
Akasha (definition): Akasha refers to the fifth element in nature along side earth, air, fire, and water. It also refers to a plane or level of consciousness as in physical, etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual or akashic plane. In both examples, it is formless and timeless—it is a state of awareness penetrating through space and time without restriction.
Though scientific questions may arise concerning the notion of an “ether,” akasha as it is referred to in essay is primarily a physical sensation. You can approximate this sensation by imagining that your body is emitting a dark violet light that penetrates through space and time. And then imagine you are this vast space. With sufficient training, the idea is that anything anywhere in time or space that you concentrate on can be perceived as being immediately in front of you.
Akashic Body (definition): The akashic body or “spiritual body” does not need thoughts to think, emotions to feel, or concrete sensations to perceive. It acts through intuition. In its awareness, it can penetrate through space and time.
As intuition, it can simultaneously be completely detached, completely one with, and also perceive all relationships of whatever it is focusing on. Spirit or akasha incorporates into itself all experiences on the physical, astral, and mental planes without being subject to the limitations governing their perceptions and activities.
Spiritual or divine ideals are often associated with the akashic plane or akashic body. In terms of the water element, we might encounter universal experiences or ideals such as cosmic or all-embracing love. On this level, we learn to feel one with all beings and also develop an inner peace in which we feel one with the universe.
In akashic breathing, you can accumulate, move about, and transform energy without relying upon the mental, astral, or etheric bodies. “Akashic breathing” is an awareness that we are surrounded by an infinite sea of energy and that we are free to draw upon that energy without limitation. In akashic breathing, concentration is sufficiently developed that you can create vitality from out of nothing. There is no limit set on this activity.
We are all aware of being surrounded by air that we freely draw upon as we breathe. We can become aware of how energy builds up in our body and aura as we practice magical breathing.
We can become aware of how the air around our body is loaded with energy that can be drawn upon through magical breathing. The earth’s atmosphere is a sea of free energy available for anyone to draw upon.
We also become aware of divine beings who are united to Divine Providence and who act as its agents with limitless power. Akasha is fully conscious of how the seed becomes the tree and it sees the process of growth and it sees and experiences the beginning and the end in the same moment. In other words, as your practice breathing you are aware of where you are in your development in this moment but also that the divinity within you is also present and radiant. The net effect is that your etheric, astral, and mental body breathing is enhanced by a connection you have to Divine Providence or to divine beings who act as your teachers and “personal trainers.”
The akashic or spiritual body in an individual transcends, that is, penetrates through space and time. How do we penetrate though space and time when we all know time is linear? I interview people regularly who say unequivocally that “time does not exist” in their experience. For them, you are where you focus your consciousness, past, present, or future or all at once.
Let us review our simple exercise for working with akasha. Again, think of it as a study of physical and perceptual sensations. Imagine that dark ultraviolet light is being emitted or radiating from all the pours of your body. This light penetrates through space and time and fills a vast space that it completely empty of thoughts, feelings, or any perception or sensations other than the penetrating light.
Now imagine that you are this vast, empty space of pure consciousness penetrating through space and time. There is no central point and no body or location that is you. Or, to put this in imagery, you are a three or four dimensional mirror before anything is reflected in it. Like an ordinary mirror in total darkness, it is ready to reflect anything but at this moment nothing appears within it.
This is akasha. It is a state of absolute readiness open to anything and free of all obstructions and beyond all fear. It is an empty space, a purity, in which the highest light can appear without distortion. And it is a concentration so great that any vibration or substance on the physical, etheric, astral, or mental planes gradually or immediately responds or aligns itself to its intentions.
On the mental plane, an individual in a courtroom, may be asked, “Do swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” And the individual answers, “I do.” The court wants a mental plane commitment that the individual will tell the truth. The individual may not he happy about telling the truth but he is presenting himself to the court and to the community as having committed to telling the truth. Whether he believes in God or not is not technically relevant. The court can only hold the individual legally, but not spiritually, liable for his testimony.
The same thing applies in statements like “Do you swear to uphold the laws and defend the constitution?” It is a mental plane commitment that is made regardless of astral feelings or religious faith.
However, consider a blessing such as “May peace be with you now and forever more.” You can not seriously offer that blessing without an element of akashic vibration being present as you speak.
The prophet Isaiah said “And wars shall be no more.” He did not put in place a physical organization to promote this. Unlike Nostradamus, he did not describe specific circumstances under which it would occur or the shape it would take. Isaiah did not specify a time frame or delineate a plan of action for materializing this ideal.
What he did do is speak with the voice of akasha that penetrates through space and time. Some qualities of akasha are absolute certainty, conviction, purity and clarity of vision as well as all-encompassing love. When people are more receptive to the purposes of akasha, then they will commit the mental, astral, and physical plane resources that are necessary for ending wars. And then the results will endure as with any great purpose “for all ages of the world.”
Here is a quick review of the planes that leads us to using akasha for breathing. Say the words aloud, “My vitality is as dynamic and radiant as the sun.” Say the sentence again like an method actor answering perhaps a question like, “How is your health?” Answer: “My health (or vitality) is as dynamic and radiant as the sun.” That way of speaking adds the astral element of feeling.
We can add the mental level by answering the question, “How would you like your vitality to be?” You form a conception in your mind, a picture, a thought, an outline of what where you would like go and what you would like to achieve and you answer, “I would like my vitality to be as dynamic and radiant as the sun.” We can make this into an affirmation by imagining we already possess this vitality adding in a picture, a feeling, and the idea.
The akashic way of speaking is slightly different. It actually places in akasha a “cause” that inevitably manifests on the three lower planes. If the prophet Isaiah speaks with the voice of akasha and says, “And wars shall be no more,” then he is placing in akasha a cause that happens to be more powerful than all the factors that produce wars. It just takes time and space for that akashic cause to manifest.
Similarly, if you speak with the voice of akasha, “My vitality is as dynamic and radiant as the sun” you are doing far more than a mental affirmation, acting as method actor, or just speaking the words aloud. You are speaking an eternal truth.
In effect, akasha is present in your breathing through the level of concentration you use as you practice. It is present as certainty, conviction, and clarity and purity of vision; and it is present as an awareness that gradually extends itself through space and time overcoming all obstacles. Akashic speaking is an awareness existing within the present moment that joins the past and the future, the seed and the tree that shall be, and the process of unfolding—it encompasses all three at once.
Another Exercise for Studying Akasha
Returning to our example of the wrist. Imagine holding the wrist again and expressing through touch the feeling “I love you and I am one with you.” To add akasha to the astral feeling we only need to increase our concentration so that it penetrates through space and time.
There is an undine queen named Istiphul. Though she has no akashic body, for some strange reason she possesses this akashic gift—she is able to be one with anyone under any and all circumstances so that there is no element of separation present in the joining.
Let’s try to do what she can do. Imagine all the oceans of the earth and all the waters of the earth in streams, rivers, and lakes. Now image that you are one with all the waters of the earth. This is activating the penetrating power of akasha through the vibration of the element of water. This is exactly the vibration she has in her etheric body.
So when Istiphul says, “I am one with you,” she is able to place her soul within you so that there is no separation for she is joined to the magnetic field of the entire planet. To some extent, the life of every living being is already a part of her aura. Think of the seas as a billion years old and that the seas are a vibration of love and that you are that same vibration. When you then place in your touch, “I love you and am one with you” you are using the full power of akasha.
For myself, I sense in this touch sensations and feelings which are cool, soothing, healing, sheltering, nourishing, fulfilling, inexhaustible in energy, and without an element of separating being present. Though these sensations and feelings describe experiences relating to the physical, astral, and mental bodies, they can only be assembled and sustained through the power of akasha.
In brief, etheric or magical breathing increases the effectiveness of biochemical vitality and enables vitality to be accumulated, stored, transformed, and moved inside and outside of the body. Astral breathing amplifies physical and etheric vitality while being itself a way the soul or astral body can draw energy directly from the elements in nature and the astral plane.
Mental body breathing produces a radiant light like the sun. And like sunlight, it integrates, refines, strengthens, and raises the vibration of the astral and etheric bodies. The akashic breathing surrounds you with akasha: a sense of limitless possibilities.
Bardon’s pranayama or magical breathing is altogether different from other kinds of pranayama. Based ninety-nine per cent on concentration and imagination, it enhances and amplifies the organic breathing process. At the same time, through practice, a massive body of light and electro-magnetic energies accumulate on the inner planes and interact with breathing. In effect, the biochemical vitality produced by the body is purified, sustained, and vastly increased in power due to the energy on the inner planes that interpenetrates the physical and etheric bodies. Any one of these five planes by itself or in combination can be used to heal others.
Now then, someone might ask, Why are you explaining all of this in relation to the vitality and breathing exercise? If you just practice the Bardon exercises as they are laid out, you will get all of this anyway.
As the questioner suspects, I am not presenting anything not already in Bardon. But if you are aware of how breathing in vitality works, then you can observe it as it is happening and learn from the process. Your sensitivity or perception of energy is vastly increased. And it becomes much easier to see how to overcome obstacles in your practice because you know where you are, what you have accomplished, and what lies before you as your next step.
As I mention in the first essay, I had to factor in a very high level of practice with akasha and also do new, world historic research on the water element before I was able to get my basic breathing to work. Bardon’s breathing practice works with a vitality that transforms into fiery bright light. Some people like my self need the factory to have a cooler temperature with a strong magnetic field present and far less noise as in dead silence when we are producing vitality. By observing the components of magical breathing, the individual can make better choices for himself rendering the system more user-friendly and a fascinating and endless realm of exploration.
There are endless variations in how a student can put together his individual practice. This example is for instructional purposes simply to emphasize the different bodies.
Begin with the simply imagining that as you breathe in you inhale and exhale air that is charged with vitality. Add to this the sense of vitality also entering and leaving through all the pours of your body at the same time. The inhalation fills your body full of radiant vitality and as you exhale you return this charge to the outside. This is what I cam calling etheric breathing or magical breathing in that it generates a surplus charge of vitality or life force.
You then imagine the astral body as being in the shape of the physical body but more refined or subtle. Imagine standing next to your sitting body and produce through imagination all of the same sensations that accompany the etheric breathing. When I do this I do not notice that my physical body is gaining any surplus charge of vitality. Rather, the imagined image I have of myself is graining in strength or clarity.
Bring this imaged image of your body back inside of your physical body so that the two are present at once, the imagined or subtle body “floating” inside of the physical. The astral breathing, however, is not drawing actual oxygen molecules. The idea is to draw in the energies of the four elements.
A way to do this is to imagine you are breathing in not just air but the vibration of the entire biosphere of the planet—the air of the sky, the waters of the oceans, the fire of the sun and the inner earth, and the solidity and life force of forests and vegetation. In effect, this is the life force of the planet.
This is sometimes represented in alchemical imagery as in the following illustrations which involve concrete, dreamlike imagery that is typical of the astral plane:
It is not for nothing that some of the mermaid women refer to human beings as being “half dead.” The mermaid women are fully active in astral breathing—they are united from within to nature.
Human beings walk around feeling separate, isolated, without inspiration, without sensing endless streams of energy continuously flowing through them. Astral breathing, by contrast, is pure inspiration and triggers the ecstasies of the four elements. (See my separate essay on the cosmic letter J for the ecstasies of the four elements).
In the above illustration from Bardon’s book, the four elements are represented with the male relating to fire and air and the female to earth and water. Above, the head of the magician is the tantric image of the male and female or the electric and magnetic fluids in dynamic union. If you could place your hand on the sphere that surrounds the male and female who are joined, this vibration of the union of opposites, of masculine and feminine, of the electric and magnetic fluids in dynamic interaction, you would then have a tactile sensation of the energy involved in astral breathing.
The mental body breathing in and out of brilliant sunlight develops effortlessly from practicing to condense vitality inside of the body. But you can also practice it by visualizing brilliant, dazzling light or golden light or whatever color light you wish to work with as you draw the energy in through inhaling and sending it out as you exhale.
The akashic breathing again is in the level of concentration with which you imagine that the vitality you are now working with is the same vitality you will one day attain. There is a sense of penetrating through space and time as you practice and of profound conviction. At the same time, you do not want to overdo akashic breathing or concentrate too hard in this way because placing causes in akasha involves great tension. Even though we are doing magical breathing, we want the entire practice to be as natural as possible.
When you practice breathing exercises, you can “play” with this idea of breathing with the four bodies. Working with four planes is present all through Bardon’s work. The approach in this essay emphasizes this idea in order to expand the resources the student can utilize in his practice.