INSPIRATION

PNEUMA

The Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew. Here the term ruach can mean “air”, “wind”, or “breath” - but also “spirit”. The New Testament, written in Greek, uses pneuma with the same multiple meanings.

 

SPIRIT, BREATH AND WIND

Hit by the wind meditationThe various meanings of the Greek word are particularly striking in the third chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. Here Jesus is instructing Nicodemus, a leading member of the Pharisees, who had secretly become his follower. The message is that one can enter the kingdom of heaven only through being born again “of water and Spirit” (John 3.5).

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BREATH = SPIRIT

In the older cultures that preceded today's world, people did not make any distinction between breath and the human spirit. This is reflected in the fact that the great classical languages use one and the same word for both.

 

BREATH AND THE PRAYER OF SURRENDER

breath prayerBy allowing yourself to be breathed freely and fully, you are saying with your body that you accept life whole‑heartedly, that you embrace the circumstances of your life in this present moment. However, for many people this surrender may not be possible to begin with. Anxiety, fear or traumatic experience may have paralyzed their spirit. This can lead to a distortion in the natural flow of breathing, making it tense, shallow or uneven. In this way the breath truly mirrors the condition of the soul. But there is also a positive aspect to the parallel movements of breath and spirit. By practising awareness and relaxation of the breath, you can over time find healing for your soul and a renewed faith.

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Breath and Spirit Surrender to God

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