The language of breathing?

Watching a video by David Abrams entitled Mindfulness In Nature‘.

Abram talks about how he sees God in nature, and refers to his Jewish heritage by explaining that in Hebrew – as with many languages – the words for breath, air, spirit, god, etc are often similar or even the same (37:40). He goes on to explain that a mysterious name is given for God in Hebrew, a name that consists of the four letters YHWH with no certain pronunciation, although it is commonly stated as ‘YAHWEH’. This is partly due to the Hebrew language not using vowels. But Abrams suggests that part of the great secrecy around the name of God can be derived from the fact that ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ have a shared word in Hebrew. Abrams suggests that YHWH is not pronounced, but rather breathed. In other words, rather than filling in the gaps with vowels or verbal language, the gaps are instead filled with air, breath, something more-than-human that is life sustaining, physically intangible, yet sensorially experience-able. So when we breathe, when animals and plants breathe, when air and water interact to co-create climate, we are sharing in a communicative form devoid of any one specific language. Even those animated forms of life considered ‘abiotic’, like rocks and mountains, are touched and formed by wind and air…indeed, some of the most startlingly spiritual moments I have encountered have involved the sound of rushing of air through underground caverns!

The intention of considering more-than-human language needs to be one of decentering the dominant human ways of knowing. We need to considering realities outside of those paradigms, so that those realities are bought into the circle and included as part of a repertoire of possible ways to approach more-than-human research.


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