Like many others, we're sure, we find ourselves restraining our breath in tense situations. This is a terrible thing to do, says Will Johnson, a certified Buddhist practitioner since 1972 and a Certified Rolfer since 1976. He is the director of the Institute for Embodiment Training and teaches a deeply body-oriented approach to sitting meditation at Buddhist centers around the world.

What he says in this book is based on the following:

"Becoming aware of the breath is to begin the journey back to becoming aware of the presence of God."

Using the breath to gain a direct experience of God is practiced by Jews, Sufis, Greek Orthodox andother kinds of Christians. Johnson explains:

"The practice of Breathing God is a practice of surrendering to the breath, submitting yourself to its potency, surrendering to the presence and force of God that exists in each and every breath you take."

This devotional activity can be expressed in poetry this way:

"breathing in
breathing out
body awakens
from head to foot
a stream of felt shimmer
breathing in
breathing out"

Lots of people want to gain access to that "stream of felt shimmer," but seekers from all traditions claim that the Divine often plays hide-and-seek. The Divine Creator of breathing human beings has given us lives animated by the challenges of, as Johnson puts it in a chapter head, walking in God's footsteps.