What Are True Necessities?
Food. Clothing. Shelter.
Sure, I’ll concede that these are “necessities.” For most of our modern world, at least for anyone with the capability to read this, they are.
But another, even more basic necessity often goes unconsidered. Yet this one true essential holds the key to not only life, but enlightenment.
I’m talking about breath.
Just consider it. However unpleasant, you could survive without shelter. And by shelter, I’m calling to mind some kind of lodging, say a house or apartment. In a temperate climate, some kind of temporary structure would suffice in more extreme weather.
Clothing. Well, that’s something we could go without as well. I’m not saying always. But it’s possible to shed your clothes and be “au natural.”
Food… well, people have survived for a month or more with no food.
Water… the second essence of life. After only three or four days, your body starts to shut down without water. Most people would die after a week to ten days with zero water. (Sure, there are survival stories that take it to the more extreme.)
But our true essence, or true necessity is breath. How long can you go without breathing? A month? A week? Of course not. That’s ludicrous. After four minutes, unless you are really well trained, your body will shut you down and get you out of the way so it can breathe on its own, for example, if you are holding your breath.
After five minutes without precious breath, you may start to experience brain damage. Six minutes could cause irreversible brain damage or death. Again, you can train to alter these parameters.
Your life essence is breath. And so is your spiritual essence. Breath is the secret to enlightenment that is right under your nose.
As with eliminating the attachment to material world objects and stripping down to essentials, stripping all the trappings of would-be meditation practices down to simply breathing takes you to the doorstep of deeper awakenings.
(Note: it’s certainly wonderful to have all of our material objects, but identifying with them, attaching to them can cause so more pain – real or imagined. I’m not suggesting giving up the objects themselves at all. Nor am I suggesting you value them any less.)
Just breathe. Develop awareness of your breath. Keep that in mind. Then, as you are ready, extend your awareness. That you are breathing. And you are in the world. Carry your breath and awareness of the here and now around with you.
You will be having authentic experience of life.