Franklin Merrell-Wolff on Deep Breathing and Bliss – Part 1/2

The Teachers Speak (KEEP)

By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

This is a part of The Teachers Speak, a series of articles on the Culture of Awareness. Read full post here.

Franklin Merrell-Wolff was a philosopher who, after experiencing a spiritual awakening in 1936, became dedicated to jnana yoga and the theologian Shankara.

He gave detailed accounts of his experiences with a higher consciousness, and he referred to the bliss which frequently surrounded him as ambrosia. I’m interested in his writings because he shared his experiences with no bias and no underlying need to convince the reader.

He simply wanted to document his journey for the sake of helping others, and he probably knew that one day, more people would awaken spiritually and would benefit from reading his experiences. He had plenty of insight to share, and he shared it for everyone who would eventually seek enlightenment.

Here, he shares one of his experiences in a deep and ‘delightful’ state of contemplation.

“One day, after the evening meal and while still sitting at the table, I found that, by gradual transition, I had passed into a very delightful state of contemplation. … My breath had changed, but not in the sense of stopping or becoming extremely slow or rapid. It was, perhaps, just a little slower than normal.

“The notable change was in a subtle quality associated with the air breathed. Over and above the physical phases of the air there seemed to be an impalpable substance of indescribable sweetness which, in turn, was associated with a general sense of well-being, embracing even the physical man.

“It was like happiness or joy, but these words are inadequate. It was of a very gentle quality, yet far transcended the value of any of the more familiar forms of happiness.” (1)

He also sheds light on the value of breathing in meditation, telling us that the outbreath is ‘the true ambrosia’.

“Introspective analysis revealed the fact that the elixir-like quality was most marked during the exhalation, thus indicating that it was not derived from the surrounding air.

“Further, the exhaled breath was not simply air expelled into the outer atmosphere, but seemed to penetrate down through the whole organism like a gentle caress, leaving throughout a quiet sense of delight. It seemed to me like a nectar. Since that time I have learned that it is the true Ambrosia.” (2)

The outbreath – the true ambrosia – makes way for the subsequent illumination.

“[The true Ambrosia] seems to have had a vital part in clearing the way for the Illumination that came later.” (3)

I’ve read that breathing deeply enhances meditation, and sometimes, I breathe deeply while I read over these articles. It allows me to meditate while I work and puts me in a clearer, less-mind centered state, and I can then imbue the work with a higher vibration. Who wouldn’t enjoy meditating while they work?

I can reach out to all of my brothers and sisters in the spiritual community by sharing love and good vibes while I write, and breathing deeply is a great way to do it. I never realized how helpful it really is, but it provides a potent source of meditative bliss that enhances creativity and expands consciousness.

Franklin shares another wonderful experience he had with ambrosia (or bliss).

“I felt the Ambrosia-like quality in the breath with the purifying benediction that it casts over the whole personality, even including the physical body.

“I found myself above the universe, not in the sense of being above space, time, and causality. My karma seemed to drop away from me as an individual responsibility. I felt intangibly, yet wonderfully, free. I sustained this universe and was not bound by it.” (4)

The current stops when we’re focused on mental or physical action, and it also tires out the body.

“Consciousness focused in action, whether intellectual or physical, stops the Current. The presence of some people affects It adversely, while that of others does not.

“The effect on the body is interesting. The after-effect of this surprisingly gentle Current, with all its exquisite delight, is a feeling of intangible tiredness in the body, somewhat like that which would be experienced after a period of protracted pain. Physical effort is difficult.

“The reason for this seems to be evident. One effect of the Current is clearly purifying, and this action upon the matter of the body is something of an ordeal. There is no emotional nor intellectual discomfort, save that without the Current the world seems barren.” (5)

(Continued in part 2 tomorrow. Read full post here.)

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