Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breathing Bob

One of the participants at the meditation workshop I went to last weekend was a man named Bob. At the afternoon discussion session, Bob was making a point about our interconnectedness. He observed that he was breathing in the air that someone else was breathing out.

During meditation, we had been focusing our awareness on our breath, so someone else suggested that we were breathing in each other’s awareness. And that led a joker in the bunch to blurt out, “We’re breathing Bob!”

I know, it’s a stretch. Meditation humor – you sort of had to be there. But the phrase stuck with me. The air does connect all of us in a very physical way. And since the oxygen we breathe comes from the “exhalation” of plants, we are connected through air to all living things everywhere.

I’ve been using the phrase as a little reminder of that connection. Last night I was thinking of someone far away. I just thought to myself “breathing Bob,” and smiled at the funny way of reminding myself that I am always connected to the people I care about.

Likewise, I passed someone on the street this morning from whom I inwardly drew away. I whispered to myself “breathing Bob,” and experienced my basic living connection to this other person.

It reminds me of the greeting used in certain cultures. Namaste means “I honor the place in you where, if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”



  1. ::smiles:: That's really lovely. I absolutely believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

    I used to go to Buddhist meditation. I would really love to get back to it.

  2. Oh My! You and I are on the same wave length. Watch for my post on Friday. It's on the very same idea. The soul of the whole.

  3. HaveNyx--Thanks for your comment. I'm looking forward to the next weekend retreat.

    Kara--I'm eager to see your post on Friday!

  4. I'm going to remember that now... breathing Bob! I like that. :-) Great post thanks!

  5. Hi Galen,

    Thanks for sharing about "breathing Bob." :)

    I can appreciate the humour which took place because you described it with enough detail. It is a little unsettling to be aware that we are breathing other people, but it is nevertheless true. We are interconnected in this manner.

    Namaste. :)

    Irving the Vizier

  6. I have to constantly remind myself to breath and not so shallowly. 2 years ago I tore the ligament that moves one's ribs in and out when one breaths (only on left side) I spent 2 years sleeping in a chair because I could not lie down and I had to breath in my upper chest. It is amazing how long it took to heal and how painful it was. At meditation time each day, I have to give myself a pep talk to breath deeply and expand those ribs to not hold my breath

    Nice idea sharing in your post from experience to connection.

  7. darlin--Bob will never know what he started!

    Irving--Namaste to you, my friend.

    Patricia--Thank you for sharing your story. We take breathing for granted until something happens to make us aware of it.

  8. I started thinking about this when my kids were small. Sometimes [they told me] they would hold their breath when they passed someone in the street who needed a bath. And I do get that [grin] I've practiced yoga for a number of years and the thought does occur to me how much we breath each other's air in a session. With all that puffing and blowing an exchange is inevitable! Love the Breathing Bob metaphor. So true. You are you. I am me. We are "at one" Thanks Galen... lovely [thoughtful] post.

  9. You know Galen, you are beginning to cement yourself into your Happy Place.

  10. I think we do transfer thoughts for sure too,besides our breath.... as there are people in my life that we'll connect just by thinking of each other.....one of us always calls and says hey I was thinking about you....distance can be rough with friends....but the internet can help us now.... right?!

  11. Jean--What an interesting story about your kids. I guess we all know at some level that we are connected through the air. Especially on airplanes!

    JJ--Hmmm, is cement a good thing?

    Karen--I like your comparison between the breathing and the thinking. And the internet. So many ways to connect!

  12. This reminds me of a Chinese poem: so far apart yet looking at the same moon

  13. This is very interesting inter connection, thanks for sharing:)

  14. Dennie--connection through seeing the same moon is so much more poetic that connection through breathing the same air! Thanks!

    Toyin--Always happy for you to stop by. Thanks!

  15. Only if you like "Stay(ing) There," as you state at the top of the page.

  16. Well that is something to think about. It never occurred to me that we were breathing each other. It certainly is a way for us all to be connected. Interesting thought.

  17. Namaste Galen ji! This is a beautiful insightful post. I also want to try yoga classes, but one way or the other I always postpone it. I think that we all are one way or the other always connected to each other cause we all are a miniscule part of God. We really are connected in a lot of ways;) The green-grocer grows vegetables and then sells it at the greengrocer’s and then u buy and eat it, so that makes you connected to the green-grocer as well as to the owner of the greengrocer’s shop, without u personally knowing them. Another example is that we drink the water that trillions…no countless of people have drunk. The water u drank evaporates when it comes out of your body and after having been purified in the sky, someone else drinks it, we actually are connected to our prehistoric ancestors of whom we have no clue of as well;)


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