Breath is the vehicle of the idea
The breathing exercises that Bardon assigns to this section have little to do with particular breathing techniques, such as those practised in prāṇāyāma or the like; nor is it a way to hyper-oxygenate the blood or to inhale the vital energy carried by the physical constituents of the air (nitrogen, oxygen, etc.). The breathing act is considered here as a vehicle for welcoming an idea and translating it into reality through the intervention of the etheric element; as explained in a previous section (IA2), the Ether or ākāśa is the unmanifested essence from which the Elements that concur to define the categories of reality descend in succession.
In a way that is difficult for non-experts to understand, Bardon describes the development of this practice. By putting an idea in the air you breathe in, the air is filled with this idea due to the electric and magnetic fluids. Initially, the material part of the air element reaches the lungs and then the blood vessels, where it supplies the oxygen necessary for metabolism. Subsequently, the air impregnated with the electromagnetic fluid that contains the idea or thought penetrates the astral matrix and then the mental matrix up to the spiritual principle. At this point, a digression is necessary.
The tetrapolar magnet
When Bardon speaks of “fluid”, he obviously does not mean a liquid substance, but a force or energy that manifests itself dynamically, in a liquid-like motion. The electric fluid represents the positive and extroverted polarity at the origin of the Fire Element; the magnetic fluid, on the contrary, is the negative and shrinking polarity, comparable to the Water Element. These two poles are, in fact, the primordial forces of expansion and contraction of the manifestation, the two aspects of the Unity, which reveals itself in its differentiation. Just as the dipole moment of a magnet is preserved even if it is cut, the two elemental forces are inseparable and interdependent. The electric fluid expresses the creative energy, while the magnetic fluid is the element that welcomes and gives shape to the active principle.
The Air Element is the electromagnetic fluid, a continuum between the two fluids; it expresses the dynamic equilibrium between the charges of opposite polarity. According to the alchemical tradition, this balance is depicted by the Rebis, the perfect hermaphrodite, the pairing of the masculine and feminine principles; it is the communication bringing together the polarities. By this interaction, the sphere of creation is born.
The Earth Element represents the combination of the three previous Elements. By this, we mean that the dynamic exchange of electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fluids originates something new, which did not exist at the level of the independent parts; this process expresses itself at various density levels in the physical, astral and mental worlds. It is the principle of the esoteric quaternary, which represents stabilisation in the form of creative energy. Therefore, the Earth Element is not just a development resulting from an interrelation between Elements; it means a fourth state, the characteristic of which is to consolidate the expression of the three previous Elements, limiting them by adding the space-time categories, weight and measure.
At this point, we have the opportunity to examine the interaction between the four Elements. Fire and Water are the poles of an axis that expresses the meanings of binary opposites of expansion and contraction, light and dark, etc. Air and Earth are the principles of motion and stasis, that is, the oscillation that makes the two primary Elements interact and the resultant at the level of manifestation. The graphic rendering of these relations is expressed in the esoteric tradition by the so-called Cross of the Elements; Bardon designates it as a “Four-pole Magnet” to emphasise its interactive aspect. The terms used – electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fluid – have nothing to do with their physical counterparts, although there is an analogy. The figure above shows the four-pole magnet, highlighting the division into eight circular segments generated by combining the Elements. The central space or Ether is the non-place from which everything originates. The right area of the drawing, in red colour, represents the electric fluid; the left side, coloured blue, represents the magnetic fluid. You can use the diagram for meditative purposes to understand how the Elements interact.
Now let’s go back to practice with the notions learned in mind:
- As usual, we assume the most suitable position to relax the body. Breathing in with your nose, imagine that the desire we have made enters the body with the inhaled air; the image must be very vivid, and you must have confidence in the fulfilment of the expressed wish.
What happens in this phase is a mental projection of the idea into the Air Element – the electromagnetic fluid – that surrounds us and its subsequent reception into the Ether or ākāśa, which is the causal or spiritual principle at the origin of the Elements. Since ākāśa is at the beginning of everything, the expressed idea or desire penetrates the various levels or conditions of being, becoming an integral part of one’s impulse to fulfilment. It all depends on the degree of imagination, the represented idea and the student’s intrinsic abilities.
- Begin with seven inhalations in the morning and seven in the evening, increasing by one breath for up to ten minutes each practice session. In any case, it is not recommended to extend the sessions beyond half an hour.
Some tips on how to conduct the practice:
- The idea expressed must not be selfish but concern one’s moral advancement or physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
- You have to cultivate the certainty that the idea will come true.
- Before moving on to another idea, one must insist on the previous one until the goal is achieved. Bardon states that, depending on the student’s intentions and talent, the fulfilment of the wish occurs in a time ranging from a week to a few months. However, the important thing, especially at the first level, is to become familiar with the technique, avoiding blocking one’s progress to the following steps if one doesn’t reach the desired result.
- It would be better not to force the breath or alter the breathing rhythm. In this exercise, breathing is only a means of conveying thought. A practical method is to build the idea, impregnate the surrounding air and start breathing normally and effortlessly; with the inhalation, you bring the impregnated air into the body; with the exhalation, only the air is released, not the idea. In this way, the imagination is dissociated from the breath, making the execution more spontaneous.