I'm not lying though, it has a lot to do with our greatness. The number 8 represents many things, but first and foremost, it represents the essence of all life: energy. Well, praanaa to be more specific. Perhaps you've heard this term, it's synonymous with chi, or qi, but what it boils down to is "life force". One would argue that food or water are the source of that, but rather food and water contain praanaa because they consume or carry that same life force and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change forms. Physicists of both varieties, theoretical and meta, would agree on this principle. The recycling of energy throughout the universe is represented on our planet by the circle of life, which is often represented by the infinity symbol, and wouldn't you know it, the number 8 in most Euro-centric western languages looks an awful lot like that symbol!
The most direct way that we engage with our 8th, or Pranic Body, is through our awareness and control of our breath. It is the breath which carries praanaa in its purest form, and when we bring awareness to our breath we are doing so with our life as well. The basic building blocks of that which tethers us to this complex and rather fragile existence, and we have the capacity to actively control it?! We can't say that about most of our bodily functions... we don't get to set the pace for our hearts, the amount of secretions made by our thyroids, or the schedule of our digestive tracts; however, we are able to actively and in real time control our breathing using awareness, proper form, and muscle control.
Now... this all sounds like fun and roses but then we'd be remiss to leave out the polarity of praanaa, or apaanaa, the "elimination energy". One cannot exist without the other, but both energies are swirling through us at all times, in different quantities, and determining our energy, mental faculties, and fear responses. So why would this disturb us? Well, the final common denominator of any problem in life, the last possibility we reach once all other "worst case scenarios" have been rattled off through our minds, is... well, death... the polarity of life. And since we are human and have an ego that doesn't want us to die, it instills a primal fear of death within us for self preservation purposes. But most of the time when we feel fear, death is actually not eminent. All those scenarios would have to happen first, and there may be 35 things on that list ahead of death.
Managing fear comes from addressing and using its polarity -- courage; a word which derives its meaning from the root word "cor", which in Latin means "heart". So (just go with me here...) perhaps our courage is directly proportional to the "age" or wisdom, and therefore the strength of our hearts?? And since we fuel our hearts with our breath, when we take control of our praanaa/apaanaa balance, we can watch our minds behave differently. They move slower when observing thoughts, sift through information with ease and agility, and we don't even really need to DO anything in order for them to function this way because minds are SO powerful. All the mind needs is the space to allow the flow of energy to move through us purposefully, so that it may dislodge anything that has been stuck and enabling the seed of the problem, as well as its solution, to be found.
May it be money, power, or healing, the ebb and flow of energy is a lesson in non-attachment. That primal fear of death is in all of us because as living beings, we are mentally, emotionally, and physically attached to life. Until we are not. We often don't get to choose when this happens and we know it's coming, but we try not to think about it because then we'd be sad all the time, so instead we take a breath and feel life and energy return to us again. After a while, the mind can reach higher states of consciousness where it allows us to release our attachments and accept our eventual transformation into a new form once our flesh returns to the earth, or at least practice what it might feel like to accept death. It's much more painful when we resist the flow, like trying to stand up in river rapids.
Breath awareness can also help us create an abundance mentality. A regular breath practice can develop patterns of awareness which instill muscle memory so that our bodies remember to breathe deeply when we are stressed. It's like a little reminder that even when we no longer have air/life in our lungs (after we exhale), all we need do is inhale and that changes; this remind us that we just needed to change the form of energy! That idea can apply to the ways we generate wealth, heal ourselves or others, or feel powerful or empowering. When energy, like the breath, is restricted or restrained, that's when fear of loss sets in and sits on the mind. When we keep it flowing, we keep it moving and perpetually release attachment to it, allowing more energy to move through us.
Abundant people are often very generous too, and the number 8 is all about that! We can look at 8 as 4+4, and since 4 is the heart (callback to the "courage" theory), 8 is full of love too, so giving and receiving are key to its energy exchange. One of the greatest personal steps one can take around fear of loss is to let something go; whether it be a love, time, energy, money, or space... when we let go of what we were so sure we could never live without, and when [surprisingly] we don't die, we are reminded that the only thing we cannot truly live without... is the breath.
So please breathe deeply and fill your cup; letting it overflow and nourish the lives of those around you. Give love now; without fear, limit, or doubt.
~ In loving memory of my sweet cat Paul, who transformed into a new form of energy today. May his soul rejoin with his brother Karl's, and may they dance together once again.