The triangle and the bridge

The mind and the body are inextricably linked. Psychological feelings can manifest themselves as physiological symptoms, and the movement of the body can alter the movement of thought. But what connects the mind and the body is the breath.

For a few years now, I’ve had this ability to fall asleep near-instantaneously. During the day. During the night. When it’s noisy. When it’s quiet. It’s nothing special; it just comes from an understanding of the breath’s effect on our nervous system. When we sleep, our respiratory system adopts a calm, deep rhythm. I know that, so before I fall asleep I consciously manipulate my breath and mimic that same rhythm. Thus, I drift off with ease.

Individuals like Wim Hof, practitioners that train and rehab athletes, arts like mindfulness, and disciplines like Pranayama yoga have built upon this idea. But it becomes interesting for me when I formulate this trio of mind-body-breath as a triangle:

Look familiar? It’s the pyramid of life.
The trio of mind-body-breath is akin to the trio of reflection-action-philosophy. Another way to formulate these two trios is as a bridge across a body of water. Of course, in this formulation, there’s another component, so it becomes possible to speculate what the water represents. Possible, but not necessary. I’ll leave that to you.

Right now, you might be thinking, “What do I do with this?” The answer is, “I don’t know.” Not all pieces of writing need a conclusion, and not all ideas can occupy a definite category in our current catalogue of mind. But I will leave you with a question. Or three: Does the tip of the triangle influence the base more than the base influences the tip? Does the breath shape the mind and the body more than the reverse? Does our philosophy inform our action and reflection to a greater extent than our action and reflection forms our philosophy?