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Life In Every Breath

Updated on February 9, 2012


Why is it so easy

To throw it all away

And why is it so hard

To try to save.


Life In Every Breath

The Samurai developed this philosophical concept of “Life In Every Breath.”

Just what does that mean? It is very typical Samurai, simple on the surface but as deep as the Marianas Trench.

Life in every breath. Say that to yourself silently a dozen or so times. Now, say it out loud, first as a whisper, then gradually increase the volume each time you say it until you shout it at the top of your lungs.

Life in every breath. What does that mean to you now that you have performed this simple exercise? Are you short of breath? Is your heart rate increased?

Do you feel alive?

I think and speak this phrase to myself each time I pick up my katana sword to begin my martial arts training sessions.

Life in every breath. When you are engaged in such a lethal art as Japanese Swordsmanship, this little mantra moves beyond mere words and becomes stunningly physical and real. In every sword battle there can only be three possible outcomes:

1. You will kill your opponent.

2. You will be killed by your opponent.

3. You and your opponent will simultaneously kill each other.

Each breath you take may be your last. Each movement of the blade may take the last breath of your opponent.

Either way, the sum or your entire lifetime, every thought, experience, and emotion all reside in every single breath you take. Whether it is the first breath at birth or the final breath of old age. Each and every one is sacred, unique, and will never be duplicated…ever.

Life in every breath…every moment of our life is valuable beyond measure. Do not waste it on things that are of no consequence. Take special care in the small details in life. Accept that death comes to us all and utilize each breath to become a better person.

Life begins and ends with something so simple, a single breath. Seize each small moment of your life no matter how inconsequential it may seem. It is kind of like “Carpe Diem,” the Latin phrase, Seize The Day, only deeper, more powerful, it is physical and tangible. You seize the day by living each breath with purpose, direction, intensity, and focus. You never really know when it will be your last breath so live your life as if each breath will be your last.

Define your life; do not let it define you.



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    • jgiecek profile image

      jgiecek 5 years ago

      "Each breath you take may be your last." So true in every thing we do, from just sitting in a chair to watching the sun set to battling one another in the field of battle, this is true.

      Great piece. Thank you for sharing it.