As is usually the case, there are many layers of meaning to these biblical Hebrew terms, “Ruach El Shaddai,” but for the purpose of this practice, “Breath of Balance” is a simple and appropriate English translation. Comparable to the five layers of a being described in yoga, there are five levels of the soul enumerated in Jewish teachings, with “ruach” being that level one removed from the grossest level, nefesh. However, it is also the word utilized in Genesis designating the spirit/wind that hovered over the face of the deep at the beginning of creation. It is considered that when God breathed life into the nostrils of inanimate man, God was exhaling this “ruach”, breath, life force, comparable to the second layer in the yoga system, called “prana”. In yoga, “pranayama” is often translated as “breathing exercises”, because it is maintained that the essential life force of prana rides with the breath, and through breathing practices, one is also regulating the flow of this more subtle life force. The practice of Ruach El Shaddai/Breath of Balance incorporates and builds upon basic yogic breathing/pranayama practices, so “breath” is an appropriate term, although one should keep in mind that it incorporates the concept of prana/life force/spirit.
While God the Creator is designated in Genesis as “Elohim”, at other points in the Torah, “Shaddai” is one of a few other significant designations of a particular quality/function of God that is very interesting. A common conception to “Shaddai” is that it expresses a quality to the Creator whereby just the right amount of energy in form, quality and quantity was utilized in order to bring about the multitude of the forms of creation. Associated with this is the idea of moderating energy to the extent of “that which suffices” to bring about the desired result; not too much, not too little, just right. There is a further elaboration to this quality that it applies not only to the initial creative function, but in keeping with the idea that “God is a Verb”, it also applies to the ongoing Divine function that continues to create and sustain the universe in just the right proportions. These two functions just described correspond with the designations in yoga as God the Creator, Brahma and God the Sustainer/Maintainer, Vishnu. While it may not be as explicitly recognized as such in the Jewish tradition, the Torah is replete with stories depicting the third aspect in yoga of God the Destroyer/Dissolver, Shiva. Perhaps God as Judge is close. It is clear in the Torah that creation is not static, but dynamic, and that old forms constantly need to be dismantled to give way to new forms. While Justice may serve at times to maintain the statu quo, it also serves at times to help advance change.
Another interesting aspect to the term “Shaddai” is that it shares the same root as the term for “breast” and thus carries with it the connotation of perfect nurturance, obviously also associated with breasts and female energy. When I somewhat creatively translate “Shaddai” as “balance”, it is meant to incorporate the ideas that this quality of Shaddai contains these aspects of perfect nurturing that provides and maintains balance (that which suffices), but it is a dynamic, not a static, balance.
It is this “Breath of Balance” and the three associated functions described above that we are seeking to invoke in our healing sessions to restore balance where there is imbalance, in keeping with the kabalistic conception that our goal is to ascend the middle balanced pillar on the Tree of Life. We are not “doing” the healing, we are merely invoking the Divine healing powers that exist to assist our subjects through the agency of our focused intent. Our intervention and manipulation is thus minimal, as is the possibility for any mistakes, as we are invoking energies beyond us that work in perfect harmony and balance. We systematically invoke first the cleansing Dissolver aspect, to rid our subjects of the negative “dirty energy” and obstructions that are causing their imbalance; second, we invoke the rejuvenationg Creator aspect to restore regenerative nurturing energy to heal our subjects; and last, we invoke the stabilizing Sustainer/Maintainer aspect to circulate, assimilate and maintain the renewed energy in our subjects.
The magic and effectiveness of this healing lies in the words, “focus”, “invoke” and “intent”. We have been imbued with these gifts of being able to use our mind as an instrument of our individual consciousness connected to universal consciousness, to focus our attention and intent, and invoke powers that lie beyond our mortal limitations.
Any kind of healing can be addressed, whether it be physical, mental or a combination. Positive qualities (virtues) can be nurtured while their negative opposites (vices) can be minimized. There is no need for the subject to be present or in close proximity or even aware of your efforts, although it may magnify the effect if the subject is made aware and thus can open up receptivity on their part, even to the extent of participating at the same time, if not the same place. While there may be a benefit to physical proximity and coordination of time (the healing session occurring at the same time that the subject is aware and receptive to it, and even following along in participation), we are working at a level where proximity and simultaneity and cooperation are not essential, although helpful. Time and space are receding and being transcended, and after all, the subject is present with us all of the time on the planet earth.
1. Preliminary stage. This can be performed lying down or sitting up, with the head, neck and trunk in a straight line. Begin with normal yoga breathing and relaxation, using diaphragmatic breathing and breathing only through the nostrils. For those familiar, this can be followed by normal yoga meditation or Jewish Yoga meditation if in the seated posture.
2. Focus on the subject of the healing. After the preliminary stage has been established, bring the attention to the subject of the healing. It is advisable to always begin with oneself as the first subject, as there is usually some need to heal some aspect of oneself, and after healing oneself, you will be better equipped to focus your healing efforts on other subjects. Proceed with the following steps in a complete sequential set for each chosen subject. In other words, do all of the steps in sequence for a selected subject, then begin the process over again for the next subject. It is recommended to end the session with the planet earth as the subject, as there is always need to assist our planet as a whole to heal and attain dynamic balance. The focus on the subject can be narrowed to a specific ailment or group of ailments, or just to the general energy level of the subject. There is no need for the subject to be present or in close proximity or even aware of your efforts, although it may be helpful if the subject is made aware and thus can open up receptivity on their part. We are working at a level where proximity, cooperation, participation, receptivity is helpful, but not essential, as time and space recede and are transcended, and after all, the subject is present with us all of the time on the planet earth.
3. First, focus on exhalation for elimination of “dirty” energy causing imbalance. Once the subject and any specific condition or group of conditions is in focus, focus attention first on the exhalation, regarding the inhalation, which automatically occurs, as just a reloading and preparation for the next exhalation. With each exhalation, visualize all forms of “dirty energy” (negative energy/vibrations, influences, obstructions, depletions, congestions, weaknesses, stresses) that are the cause of the imbalance in the subject being released and flowing out of the subject. Being invoked by your intent and channeled by your exhalation, visualize the Great Force of Destruction/Disintegration/Dissolution removing all of this “dirty energy” in a gentle manner which will not be harmful or shocking to the subject, and dissolving it in the vastness of the cosmos, which is capable of absorbing and recycling everything. If it is helpful, visualize a great Fire or Sun either suspended in the air, on the ground, on a sacrificial altar, or whatever image feels comfortable to you, and visualize that your exhalation is assisting to channel all of this dirty energy out of the subject and into that Fire or Sun for dissolution. Retain the focus with each exhalation simultaneously on the subject, any specified ailments, and the dirty energy flowing out of the subject and being dissolved. Continue this focus on exhalation/elimination/dissolution until you feel it is sufficient for now.
4. Next, focus on inhalation for introduction of healing energy to aid in the restoration of balance. Keeping the subject and specific condition in focus, now shift the focus to the inhalation, regarding the exhalation, which automatically occurs, as just a reloading and preparation for the next inhalation. With each inhalation, visualize all forms of “healing energy” (regeneration, rejuvenation, positive energy/good vibrations, nurturance, health, relaxation) that can relieve and cure the distressed condition and restore balance flowing into the subject. Being invoked by your intent and guided by your inhalation, visualize the infinite resource of the Great Force of Creation/Nurturance providing exactly the precise form, quality and quantity of healing energy needed to effectuate the healing process in a gentle manner which will not be harmful or shocking to the subject. If it is helpful, as before, visualize a great inexhaustible Fire or Sun from which is emanating this healing energy in the needed form, quality and quantity, which your inhalation is assisting to channel to the subject for their benefit. Retain the focus with each inhalation simultaneously on the subject, any specified ailments, and the healing energy flowing into the subject to restore balance. Continue this focus on inhalation/rejuvenation/nurturance until you feel it is sufficient for now.
5. Next, focus equally on inhalation and exhalation as an agency of stabilizing the newly introduced healing energy. Now shift the focus to the subject as a self-enclosed entity. Focus equally on inhalation and exhalation which is creating a cycle/circuit of flowing energy within the subject. Being invoked by your intent and guided by your focus on this cycle of inhalation and exhalation, visualize the Great Force of Sustaining/Maintaining providing exactly what is needed to seal off the channels through which the dirty energy was earlier eliminated and through which the healing energy was earlier introduced, circulating the newly acquired healing energy throughout the subject in a gentle manner which is not harmful or shocking. It will effectuate the greatest benefit for the subject by acting to stabilize this new healing energy and allowing it to be properly assimilated. Continue this focus equally on a circuit of inhalation and exhalation until you feel it is sufficient for now. The healing session for this subject is now complete.
6. Continue with the next subject, repeating steps 2 through 5, and concluding with the planet earth as the final subject. Meditation can then continue, or the session can be brought to an end in the same gentle manner you would bring any meditation session to an end.