The individual's empowerment through total breathing
With this exercise, we extend the practice of conscious breathing of Step I. This Step II exercise shows no substantial differences between the two sections, except that breathing occurs both from the lungs and the whole body through the skin’s pores. It is, therefore, necessary to explain what is meant by pore breathing.
Our skin has these small openings that direct the sebum to the surface – through the sebaceous glands – and sweat – thanks to the sweat glands; breathing through the pores, therefore, seems nonsense since they exert an excretory function. A layman would consider the practice groundless from a scientific point of view; some students, on the other hand, are led to believe that the purpose of the exercise is to activate breathing through the skin physically. Who is right? Let’s leave the word to Bardon: “Try to think that, with each inspiration, not only your lungs are breathing, i.e., inhaling air, but the whole body is doing so. Be firmly convinced that, together with your lungs, every single pore of your body simultaneously receives vital power and conveys it to the body.”.
The answer lies in that “try to think”. The secret of hermetic breathing lies in the conscious application of the natural sensitivity of our dermis to the sensations that come from outside – heat, cold, pressure, etc .; therefore, in being able to stimulate in full awareness an impression that has the qualities of a physical experience. It means creating a current that descends from the mental and astral plane – the world of sensations – to the body level, thus laying the foundations for the unification of being on all three orders of existence. It is not a question of deluding oneself into experiencing a non-existent physical perception but of realising breathing from the body through mental visualisation and transposing it onto the physical plane with the mediation of the astral body. It is precisely the inversion of the natural process that, through an external perception, gives us a feeling that is subsequently processed in the brain. Here the practitioner begins to create, placing himself on the plane of the conscious will that enhances the methods of nature. Describing the experience in words is impossible because everyone partakes it based on personal sensitivity.
Something still needs to be said about what Bardon calls Vital Energy. From the theoretical part of IIH, it is clear that vital energy is an energetic matrix formed by the four Elements (Fire, Air, Water, and Earth) plus the ākāśa and by the electric and magnetic fluids mentioned in the section on the tetrapolar magnet. It is not a substance that can be measured experimentally, except in its effects on the human body; it is mental and astral energy, which is the causal basis of the biochemical and oxidative processes through which the physical body sustains itself. It is visualised as a golden yellow radiance that harmonises the vital bodily mechanism with the astral and mental subtle principle.
The practice is divided into four sections:
- Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position. Take a few empty breaths, then start thinking that the lungs and the whole body are inhaling air with each inhalation. A helpful analogy is that of a dry sponge that absorbs and swells when immersed in water. The visualisation must arouse a particular sensation, not limited to the mental level; in other words, you need to feel as the air is entering your pores as well as your lungs.
- Once the sensation is established, think that together with the air, you also breathe the etheric vital energy surrounding you like a golden cloud, and that from the pores and lungs penetrates the different organs and parts of the body.
- Next, replace the inhalation of life energy with that of a desire, as described in the practice of conscious breathing; the only difference is that here you breathe in with the whole body and not just from the lungs.
- Once the exercise is stabilised, one can move on to exhalation, imagining that together with the air coming out of the pores and lungs, the opposite and complementary aspects of desire are expelled, such as weakness, selfishness, physical, mental or emotional ailments, etc.
You can experiment freely with the four sessions, and there are no time limits in their execution. Once you get the desired results, the exercise is complete.