My Spiritual Health Journey: The Breath of Love - Traci Roper

Posted by Joel Bennett on

The Breath of Love


I began to gasp for air. I was not playing in a sporting game but just sitting still, watching TV. I will never forget that moment when I could no longer maintain my own breathing. It felt like something was blocking the air from entering my lungs.

This was my first asthma attack and was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 9.

During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell, and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, and mucus clogs up the airways. Although this was my first attack, asthma runs in our family.

My mom immediately drove me to the emergency room. I remember holding my head outside of the car window for only temporary relief. The doctor wasted no time, placed me on an updraft machine, diagnosed me with asthma, and provided a prescription for a rescue inhaler.

In an essay on “Lungs and Breath as Spiritual Teachers,” Frederic Brussat writes: “We take about 25,000 breaths a day, inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, seldom thinking about our lungs until we have a problem.” In a similar manner, life brings us numerous life/death encounters, mental breakdowns, failures etc.- yet, we never consider our own spiritual health.

C Diane Ealy in her book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Spirituality in the Workplace" defines spirituality as a highly subjective inner experience that is externalized as we respond to people or events. Ealy further states that

Love forms both the foundation from which spirituality arises and the path connecting us to our spiritual nature.


Staying attuned to our spirituality means staying aligned with love and being willing to manifest that connection through our behavior.


I want to make a few connections here. The lungs are part of the respiratory system, a group of organs and tissues that work together to help us breathe and live. The respiratory system's main job is to move fresh air into our body while removing waste gases. We can view spiritual health through the same lens that we view the lungs and respiratory system.

My organization (OWLS) offers a workshop where participants view each organ system as having a parallel with psychological and spiritual health. The respiratory system helps us eliminate what we don’t need and circulate what sustains our vitality. Many breathing practices (in yoga, Qigong, relaxation, mindfulness) help us discern what we need to let go of and how we can better nourish our well-being.

Likewise, when we are in tune with our spiritual health, we are able to better control our reactions, feelings, emotions toward people, and life events. We can also better filter what we take in by way of watching, listening, participating and choosing positivity instead of negativity to help reach the highest form of self.    
Remember the doctor’s prescription for the rescue inhaler that I mentioned earlier? It helps me to view love in terms of how a rescue inhaler functions. In truth, love serves as a foundation to provide stabilized breathing. It replenishes breath, it extends life, and provides hope. When I take deeper breaths of my rescue inhaler (love), I find more time to enjoy every moment, and with quality thoughts of appreciation and gratitude.  These powerful and energizing states stabilize my breathing and I get in touch with my spiritual health.


I now successfully maintain my asthma with my inhaler—much like I rely on my spiritual health to help maintain my moods, interactions with others, and life events.

I have learned to draw in (breathe in) a deeper understanding of my spiritual health through my physical experiences to improve my overall wellbeing.

Here, physical health supports spiritual health, and vice versa. Indeed, research shows that deep, diaphragmatic, breathing reduces stress, and along with other practices, can improve mental health. Another study suggests that breath consciousness and spiritual consciousness go together.


I encourage you to examine what spiritual health looks like for you. Perhaps, like me, it comes from your journey with a physical condition. I have become more health conscious not in spite, but because, of my condition. I hope your own exploration will assist in the advancement of your overall wellbeing. Keep breathing!


“Nothing is possible without breath except death.” (Roper, T. 2022)


For more readings about spiritual health, including self-assessment tools, please read this article in OWLS library. Also, contact us to receive our workshop on spiritual health.

The Quest for Spirituality and Health: Well-Being or Transcendence

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