55 QUESTION: With regard to breathing, is the exhalation the natural restriction?

ANSWER: Exhalation is expansion; inhalation is restriction – backward movement. And then there is – which is again so often ignored and forgotten – the third principle: the moment in which you hold.

QUESTIONER: That is done in the yoga exercises. The holding is the most important.

ANSWER: Exactly. But not only in particular exercises. Even in normal breathing, when you are completely unaware of it, this moment, representing the third principle, is the most important part of breathing. It does not make any difference that this moment is short, but it is that element which gives rhythm and harmony to the breathing.

When any kind of a trance occurs, be it a mediumistic one or any other kind, it happens through the holding and non-breathing part that must be extended to accomplish a trance.

This same threefold rhythm is in the whole universe. It must eventually be found in your inner growth. When you make an effort to go forward, to use your energy, to search for truth, that is expansion. And when the necessary time comes to assimilate what you have learned and apply it to yourself, when you search within yourself, that is restriction. You cannot develop without both outgoing and ingoing movement and assimilating the two.

To speak practically, you cannot develop by living alone, without the world bringing out in you what needs to be changed. Without outer help, these elements would remain dormant in you and you would thus ignore what you really are, in part at least. Without going outward, no material would be given to you to point in the direction of the inner disharmonies.

Then comes the time of fruition when you actually do not seem to go anywhere. These periods will depress you in the beginning. They will be the times of heaviness and apparent hopelessness. The further you are advanced, the more you know yourself and have properly assimilated and come to terms with the knowledge you have gained, the happier the times of fruition will be for you until the next period of effort and outgoing movement is to start again.

But you will not be called upon to make the decision yourself when to change from one phase into the other. Your personality will have found its own cosmic rhythm, following the stream quite naturally. You will then be aware of this rhythm and follow it without compulsion and without resistance.

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