How can we know we are alive? How can we understand our lives in the universe?
We know that our world exists only in the domain of spacetime. This way, our lives have a beginning and end. Someday, we will have to leave here as we have come here on our birthdays.
Life is temporary. To meet the timeless and space-less God in heaven, do we have to be lifeless? Do we have to die? Can we never enter into eternity as a living person?
The answer is yes and no.
Our lives don’t have to be only to our lifespans. You could never be born without your parents. Your parents could never be, either, without their parents. Life is not an independent component that each keeps as one’s possession. It is an indispensable piece of the whole, at the same time, the entire whole as it is.
How do we know that? The answer is radically simple.
And let’s listen to the rhythmic ebb and flow of exhaling and inhaling. Exhale as we leave this world for eternity. Inhale as we come back to this world for temporality.
Breathing is the act of listening to the moment when we are alive. It is also the way to recognize that life is not only our parts but the ebbs and flows of the entire cosmos, and beyond it, we would see a glimpse of eternity. It is our consciousness and the cosmic consciousness.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.Genesis 2:7
Let us breathe mindfully through our nostrils. We can see it is not only the flow of material air pumped by our lungs and diaphragms, but moreover, the Lord God inspired us by His Spirit.
Spirit means spiritus in Latin, which is from (s)peys- and speis- in the Indo-European language lineage, meaning blowing and breathing. Indeed, when and if we breathe and sense each movement, we embrace God’s Spirit.
As the Holy Spirit inspires us, we realize that we are alive by breathing through our nostrils. When we hear and feel the sound of wind blowing, we are born in the Spirit.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.John 3:8
When the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, their lives fired up on the fiftieth day after Passover because of the “air” they received and spoke up in different tongues. Their lives get fired up with the Holy Spirit.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.Acts 2:1-4
Let me ask again. How can we know we are alive? How can we know we are on fire? How can we understand our lives in the universe?
Breathing in the Holy Spirit, we live and die. We are in both temporality and eternity. What does that mean? We can recall the words of Apostles Paul.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.Romans 14:8
Image by Holger Schué