5] How do we ?
As a matter of fact, believe it or not the question was expected. The hard part is to decide whether what went before was just to hint at , or how to , as no doubt you expect since you went this far; or just ! It appears that the second option is the right one even if it is a choice not free from headaches so that to the extent that it can be said, it will.
Breathing is the most vital part of everything that thrives on the planet - it is the basis of biological life - but man normally misuses it since as a rule he has something else to think about. We just breath in and out and our life goes on happily immersed in the beautifully polluted atmosphere of this gorgeous spot in space.
Breathing is the most obvious and vital process of everything that thrives on the planet - it is the basis of biological life - but man normally misuses it since as a rule he has something else to think about. We just breath in an automatic way as dictated by our autonomic nervous system and our life goes on at its best as we think it should but that might not be the case. Breathing is both an art and a discipline and as such it is disclosed and taught in many diverse forms of breathing exercises more or less exotic and we may have proof of that in any yoga treatise but we are simple people and as such we will cling to something easy and effective, like that which follows.
We do not need to seat in the lotus posture or choose any inconvenient position which will simply avoid relaxation because we would have to get used to it; our exercise may be carried out sitting comfortably on a chair or lying on a hard surface. It is well if our spine is kept erect and straight as that will make it easier to properly oxygenate ourselves, as we well know from the fact that a folded balloon is not so easy to inflate. A quiet dim or dark environment obviously is preferable and it is left to us to decide whether to keep our eyes slightly open or closed or fixing the sight to the place within the bony box above the neck where our pineal gland is supposed to lodge. This said, the breathing should be carried out with no forcing as stress might obtain the opposite result and be noxious, while timing among inhalation, retention and exhalation as well should follow a natural unforced pattern although this will change by itself with time and exercise. It is not just oxygen and vigor that you are taking in because the mind as well is a primary beneficiary of the breathing exercise. So as you will not get a good painting from a painter ill at ease, in the human being the painter is the brain, the mind is the canvas and the appreciating spectator is the psyche and you should visualize this with your mind's eye, namely, both the physical and psychical benefit that you derive from a good breathing exercise. Altogether any good breathing exercise reflects the Hindu's concept of life-force, or prana.Not barely oxygen and vigor, but a total benefit of both body and mind.
The breathing itself should be as follows:
Inhale, slowly and naturally but with a perfect consciousness of that which you are doing, filling first with air, as much as you can, the part of your body at the height of the abdomen so that it looks like a reversed beggar's bowl; then without stopping the intake fill yourself to the height of the stomach (this will to some extent deflate the beggar's bowl) and after that up and above the sternum just to have the feeling that the intake of air, now your chest fully inflated, reaches all the way up somewhere around or above your neck or, still better, that it envelopes your being completely, just like a chick is enveloped in an egg and here have a pause - retention - just so much as it is comfortable than slowly exhale, to complete emptiness, in the reverse order and here have a short pause before the next cycle of inhalation. The inhalation and exhalation should be performed through the nostrils.
The immortals of ancient China are thus described by Chuang Tzu "The true men of old slept without dreams and waked up without worries. They ate with indifference to flavor, and drew deep breaths. For true men draw breath from their heels, the vulgar only from their throats."
It is hard to say what the meaning of "true men draw breath from their heels" may be, nor a plausible explanation has been given, much less that they walked on their lungs and that we should imitate this difficult art, but we may take it as to mean that a little auto-suggestion, like in anything else may help. The breathing from the heels implies a perfect and total oxygenation of the organism, we might in the exercise close our eyes and imagine the air coming in from under our soles and leaving our body from the fontanel, the yogi's Brahmarandhra or "Aperture of Brahma" corresponding to the junction of the parietal bones of the skull on the crown of the head. And to keep up with the little auto-suggestion, we might even visualize the air that we inhale as a source of life-giving essence, or light, with the color of a white-cold light or eventually a nice color which is pleasant to us and leaving the fontanel just like the water leaves a fountain to complete its cycle. This breathing pattern should become an integral part of our life so much so that it should become so much as possible instinctive even in normal activity aside from any concerned exercise.
Whatever sensation is experienced while doing the breathing exercise, like cold feet, numb arms, or images crossing the mind: just let them have their way, do not heed them, you are simply not concerned with them. Your task is to get to the top and apex of the pyramid and everything else has its own life apart from you, mind it not. Mind control is very expensive in terms of psychic energy and the effort to control your train of thoughts, to get rid of them and to "think-not" very often is a stumbling block. The "heed them not" is psychically much more economical but where it meets some difficulty, a little visualization may be effortlessly and profitably employed. Just imagine two rails well spaced apart, ending nowhere into oblivion and that you thoughts can move only on these rails, whichever way they like. The rails are immersed in nothingness, nothing laterally and nothing in between and if any thought strays it is just lost in nothingness. Focus your attention on the empty space between the rails and let the thoughts go their way, you are concerned only with the void or naught in between the rails. That will require little if any effort and will be effective.
We now come to the pyramid, which, in the context of this writing was not a random choice but selected for a specific purpose in training the mind. It will take some time to get attuned to the breathing exercise but when that will be reached we will have to start the journey, to start to climb the pyramid, step by step. And this obviously involves some imagery - or visualization exercise since its aim is to modify our psychic environment. We should imagine something of this sort and, just like that which was said concerning the breathing exercise leaving unheeded whatever other sensation may try to disturb our exercise: that we climb the pyramid, slowly, step by step all the way up to its apex. Concurrently with the climbing, by degrees attuned to the stepping up, we must perceive that the "noise-field" within our mind should correspondingly decrease. In other words, for each step we climb we obtain or gain a reduction of our mental activity, but not of consciousness, we will need that all the way up and should avoid to be self-hypnotized or fall into reveries. On our reaching the apex of the pyramid the "noise-field" of our mind should be as much attenuated as feasible within the progress that we achieved in the exercise. Looking back at the graphs in chapter 4 under note  and comparing it with this process we will note that what happens is in some way just the reverse: we reach a state of utter serenity and relaxation, undisturbed and not far from deep sleep but without loss of consciousness and the wave pattern displayed by the graphs is - so far as deep sleep is concerned - reversed and attuned to the graph of the "alert"state.
Here we reach the very apex of the pyramid with full awareness, with the awareness of the state of "no-mind" represented by the Zen Master circle or the state of liberation represented by the Hindu's Bindu or the Buddhist Nirvana or the Dervishes' Fana and at this stage what we must do is nothing at all, just continue our breathing exercise and decide, somehow, to leave the pyramid's apex, to leave behind all mental formulations like no-mind, bindu, Nirvana-paramam, Moksa, Fana, liberation, enlightenment or whatever else, they are all creatures painted on the brain's canvas, everything must vanish completely but our consciousness and then