“Demons hate fresh air.”
I first came across that quote from Ingmar Bergman a couple of years ago and I still remember how strongly it resonated with me. I remember the deep breath I took after reading it, and the truth I felt in those words as I read them.
I had been riding my bike to and from work during that time and I had been doing so for several months. One of my favorite parts of my daily bike commute was the deep inhale of fresh, cool air I would receive as I’d zip down a hill. I’d enjoy the breeze as I peddled, get some sun on my skin and feel fresh and ready to take on the day by the time I rolled up to work.
The fresh air I was getting from my rides everyday made me feel great and after reading that quote, I began to realize that aside from my daily bike rides, my life was seriously lacking fresh air. I was inside all day breathing in the same air that I was breathing out the whole time. The realization that I was constantly breathing in dull, lifeless air for the majority of my day was like a slap in the face.
I got home and I started opening all the windows in the house. I used to make all sorts of excuses to keep the windows closed. Oh, the bugs will get in! Oh, the dirt will blow in! Oh, it’s not safe! Oh, shut up and open the windows, I told myself. So, I went from room to room opening all the windows until every window in the house was open and letting air inside.
The wind started flowing into the house and soon began circulating through the air. After a few minutes of letting the fresh air into my home I noticed the enormous difference in how I felt, how the house felt. It was so… alive. The air that had just been sitting still in my room was replaced with living air that felt clean and refreshing. Sure, we would have the air conditioning on, but it just wasn’t the same. The air from outside was better, rejuvenating and energizing.
The air I had been living in was stale and dead. So, I started opening the windows regularly. I started working out outside even in the insane heat of the desert. I started experiencing the difference in my mood, my energy and my attitude. Even on days that weren’t the best to keep my windows open (raining, cold, etc.) I’d still do it for at least a few minutes to let air circulate and then close them up again.
Air that doesn’t circulate will accumulate toxins and gases that don’t support brain function, make you tired and rob you of a good mood. That fatigue you feel, those negative thoughts you are thinking, those are the demons that hate fresh air. Those are the demons that are created by the conditions of your environment, and they want to live in your mind rent-free. That negative mood that you’re in may just be from the lack of quality air and oxygen in your body.
Human beings didn’t evolve to be indoors as much as we are now. Most of the time we are just traveling from box to box. House box to car box to work box. It’s all boxes that have the same stagnant and dead air inside of them that they had in there the week before.
If you’re feeling down and tired and like you just can’t get out of a negative mind state, then open your windows, go for a long walk, run or exercise outdoors and you’ll be glad that you did. Breathe that good air in and breathe out those demons.
Sometimes things aren’t as complicated as we make them out to be. Maybe the problem is as simple as you just haven’t been feeding yourself good oxygen and maybe you’ve been doing that for a long time now. Don’t expect top quality brain function without a supply of quality oxygen.
A lot of the time I find that all I needed was to clear my mind with some fresh air. Demons hate fresh air, and sometimes that’s all you need to beat off your inner demons. Of course, it’s hard to find motivation and be stuck in negative self-talk when you haven’t been supplying yourself with a basic human need.
Go outside. If you meditate, do it outdoors. Take a hike or go on a run. If there’s something that you do inside that you can also do outside and the weather allows for it, then do it outdoors. Sometimes it can be hard to get fresh air because of your job or other responsibilities you may have, but if you use all the opportunities that you have to get fresh air, even if those opportunities are few, it will make a significant difference.
Demons hate fresh air.