Sam Morris had just finished leading a group of teenagers on a 3,800 mile cycling journey across the United States when he was involved in a car accident, caused by a drunk driver. What followed is a remarkable story of triumph over adversity. Sam used the simple power of The Breath to heal himself. He is now the founder of Zen Warrior Training and has been featured in numerous magazines, podcasts and radio shows and is a regular guest on Business Rockstars.
We are truly honoured that Sam has taken the time to write this excerpt for us, it serves as a reminder of the importance of just breathing.
THE POWER OF THE BREATH
BY SAM MORRIS
"Breathe in ...breathe out ...breathe in... breathe out.."
These were the simple directions I gave my body late one November night in 1999 in a hospital bed in Western Massachusetts.
One week before, my whole life had changed in an instant. A car accident caused by a drunk driver had left me paralyzed from the waist down.
I had recently finished leading a 3,800-mile bicycling journey across the United States for nine teenagers. Now, all that powerful leg function was gone and I lay helpless in bed, unable to move or feel any sensation below my navel. My torso was held firmly in place with a hard shell plastic cast to protect my spine while it recovered from my surgery. I could move my hands and my head, but that was it.
The morphine to which I had become accustomed over the course of the following week was suddenly discontinued, and for the first time since the accident itself, I was mentally lucid. Panic set in and darkness overtook my mind. How would I live like this? Would I even be able to go on? "Breathe in... breathe out ...breathe in .... breathe out ..."
Deep breaths were the only things that I could think to do, and despite the constriction from the cast, I could still move breath through my body. For the first several minutes, the breathing only intensified the feelings by bringing even more awareness to the condition of my body. I reached an emotional threshold where I could no longer take the suffering, and suddenly, my conscious mind let go into complete surrender. I was no longer restricted by the thoughts in my head or the feelings in my body. I experienced a profound state of oneness with my eternal self. Instead of being “Sam,” lying alone and helpless in a bed, I was spirit itself, embodied by the sensation of breath.
My inhales and my exhales were replaced by a steady stream of breath that had no beginning and no end. I knew without a doubt that only a handful of people had ever had such a profound experience of breath. Breath was the divine healing force within me, the tool that I had from the moment that I was born and that I would have until the moment I died, but a tool that was typically ignored due to the fact that it functioned enough to keep me alive without my needing to be aware of it.
I suddenly knew exactly what the ancient yogis who sat and meditated in caves were referring to. This was it. I was more alive than ever. No longer burdened by the limits of my identity, I was one with the universe. Breath was life itself, the body, and the vehicle in which it manifested.
All the thoughts and emotions that had plagued me so deeply just moments before had vanished, literally into thin air. I was left with nothing, which was a surprisingly secure, even blissful, state of being.