Breathe in the Bad

New Agers have made the expression "Breathe in the good stuff, breath out the bad stuff," a cliche.  But there are many Daoist, Buddhist and Shamanic practices like this.  Some suggest breathing in rainbows and breathing out black smoke.  Others suggest breathing in warm happy thoughts and feelings and breathing out death and destruction.  Or breathing in ease and compassion, breathing out guilt, lust, anxiety and suffering.  How about breathing into a specific organ, thereby changing it from black to red to bright orange; Or dull dark forest green to luminous emerald slime green.

I heard the other day someone was breathing fire into their belly and growing roots out of their feet.  Or sucking qi from a tree and storing it in the spine.  The possibilities are endless.

The other day I was reading an academic paper which had a quote from a Daoist priest writing in the Tang Dynasty (600-900 CE).  In the quote he was describing things non-Daoists do and one of them was, "Breathe in the evil and negativity of the world, breathe out the good and positive."  The author of this paper thought that this one line form the Daoist text was meant as a kind of joke, an obvious tease, or perhaps a gentle ridicule.  But I don't think so because there are Tibetan Buddhist practices which do just that, breathe in the bad, breathe out the good.

What the hell do all these people think we are, cosmic vacuum cleaners?

If we think about the difference between:

breathing in good, breathing out bad


breathing in bad, breathing out good

What they have in common is that they are both ridiculously narcissistic and egotistic, to the point of viewing oneself as a demi-god.

Or perhaps they just reveal how utterly alone and helpless we are.  That we are less powerful than a fungus on a dust mite's ear on the back of a flea!  Would that it were!  No, some how I just don't see cultivating weakness as the goal of these exercises.  Give it some thought though.

Anyway, I'm going to a hippy hot springs for a couple of days and I just thought I should get that out of my chest.