The following excerpt is from an interview with Willow Creek Lynne Hybels, in which she discusses the “breath.”
You’re getting ready to do a conference at Willow-and also here in Australia–called Breathe. What does the word “breathe” mean to you and how does that apply to your life right now?
Breathe is a wonderful image for so many good things in life. Inhaling deeply is a great metaphor for taking in the soul nourishment, the refreshment, the sense of rest that we need in order to offer to the world-to exhale-the gifts, talents and passions that God has placed in us.
Breathe also implies relaxation. You let your shoulders drop, you close your eyes and take a deep breath, and your whole body settles into a more centered place. I also appreciate the image of breathing in all that is of God and breathing out all that isn’t from God. Breathing in what’s true and breathing out what’s false. The term also implies something that is natural, real, authentic, life giving. The Breathe conference embraces all of those ideas. It’s a time to admit what’s real in our lives, to acknowledge our needs, to open ourselves to fresh perspectives and insights, and to look forward to new things God might want to do in and through us in the future.
The opposite of breathing deeply, of course, is to feel like you can’t catch your breath, like you’re smothering. For many years that was how I felt: trapped in a life I was barely surviving, drained of energy, wishing I didn’t have to get up in the morning. I didn’t have a clue how to take in what I needed, and I certainly didn’t have anything to give out. Click here to read this entire interview.
For more information:
For information on breath prayers, please click here.
Also see our research titled: Willow Creek and Contemplative Prayer