My Prayerful Life: Air

Naoko Yogi Takiguchi
5 min readMay 6, 2020

When the whole covid thing blew up, my first thought was, “How interesting, ‘they’ are trying to take our breath away.”

When I had the most profound ‘rapture’ experience in my life during a conscious breathwork session, I became convinced that nothing would ever shake me again from that moment on. Breath was the vehicle that carried me to the transcendental state of no time where I experienced ‘oneness.’ There was no fear, no worry, none of those emotions on that spectrum, but love, awe and indescribable freshness. I knew I’d be OK till the day I die because I’d always have my breath. If I get into an emotionally sticky situation, I’d just breathe consciously. Then life would always make sense.

Earlier this year, the virus gifted me with a momentary, imagined, near-death experience in the comfort of my own home. I say gift because I was able to bring back a couple of insights from ‘the other side,’ one was compassion and the other was renewed confidence in myself. It seemed I could deal with extreme negative emotions, even without the use of conscious breath.

The fear of death by covid was brought on by the fact that I was unable to breathe deeply without coughing because of some lung condition I had developed. When I faced death head-on, surprisingly, I was ready to surrender to it. Heck, I’ve been in love, I’ve experienced motherhood, I’ve lived in some of the most stunning locations on the planet… I’m content with that, thank you very much. I did think of my son but felt he’d be alright. He has a fantastic father.

There was another thing too. I’d lived long enough to know heart-breaks and I saw my death to be the ultimate liberation. No, the scenes from my life didn’t flash before my eyes. Instead I had an image of a gazelle whose neck was locked in a lion’s jaw, her blood trickling down her neck and dripping onto the dusty ground underneath. She kept breathing but did not fight to hold onto the life that was fleeting from her body. The word to describe her was grace.

Growing up in a spiritually orientated household, I naturally cultivated an interest in the mysterious. Being a timid child, I was very much comforted by the concept of an omnipresent/potent being watching over me. In a children’s book about insects that my mother had bought, I learned that bees had a totally different perspective to humans. This instilled in me that perception depended on the individual. In my little head, I reasoned that just because we didn’t see something, it didn’t mean it didn’t exist.

By the time I was studying to be a breathwork practitioner, I had met my main spirit guide in an induced semi-hypnotic state. The first time I met her, she explained without words the nature of our relationship, which was of love. She and other spirit beings would teach me everything I needed to know in order that the humanity could ‘walk in beautify on earth once again.’

During the breathwork practitioner certification course, I went into a deep trance, which led me to have the ultimate ‘rapture’ experience mentioned above. The highly emotive course had put me on an auto-drive due to tiredness, my body just kept breathing hard in a particular conscious way despite it being physically taxing. I have ‘journeyed’ enough times to know when my brain goes into the semi-hypnotic state. On this occasion, when my brain wave switched, I could immediately see/feel my spirit guide’s body descending horizontally upon my body lying on the workshop room floor. She wanted to merge with me.

I had attended seances where a medium became ‘over-lit’ by a spirit, so I knew I was about to have a trance mediumistic experience initiated by my spirit teacher. I understood her intention telepathically, which was to give my body the experience of how it felt to be a shaman, so I could go and recreate it myself.

When I was completely ‘taken’ by my spirit teacher, the energy I felt in my body was immense. I could see her gnarly fingers when I looked at my hands. Her skin was paler than I had previously imagined, and she was just as petite as I. I fought to steady my body, which was completely overwhelmed by the energy waving inside. I grabbed onto my guide’s wooden staff with my right hand to try to get up. My body hardly moved, it was like trying to move against an ocean current, only the ‘water’ was much thicker than the actual sea water. My body was becoming heated by friction.

In desperation I cried out to my spirit teacher, ‘It’s too much! I can’t do this!’ I then rephrased, ‘How can I hold this power? It’s too much for me!’ She replied calmly, ‘Just open…’ I understood what she meant immediately. That’s the thing about telepathic communication, it’s much more efficient than words.

I ‘opened,’ meaning I let the universal energy go in and out through me. The sensation of it was indescribable. I felt a tremendous relief and joy. It felt as if sacred wind was blowing through me. It was so fresh that it cooled my body back down. My sense of time became altogether warped. When I came out of my trance, I could not believe how much time had passed.

My guide taught me, through experience, that shamanic work involved this transfer of energy. There was no doubt in my mind about her capability as a shaman. There really is a potent and ever-present being watching over me! She has said to me once, ‘I’m not going anywhere, I’m already dead.’ All in all, I was left in awe of just how powerfully energetic the universe was. The whole experience was loving as we were joined by other spirit beings who also patiently answered my questions.

As I recall this event, I become more convinced that, in a way, I have transcended death. I assume I’d move to that enraptured state of being when my body dies. This does not mean that I have transcended the fear of pain, or the fear of painful death for that matter.

I feel determined to fulfil my destiny, which my spirit guides seem to suggest, of being of service to restore the beauty in the world. There is a part of me that screams, ‘I am not worthy of the task!’ However, I am determined to overcome even that. If the saying ‘we only get one shot at life’ is true… I’d say I might as well die trying.