I cannot help but see the Holy Spirit as an archetype. Archetypes are universal themes existing in what C.G. Jung called the collective unconscious. They are cross cultural, transhistorical, transreligious, and appear over and over again as characters in myths, fairy tales and stories all over the world. This does not mean the Holy Spirit is not a real and living presence, but that the archetype of Holy Spirit or Spirit of God holds deeper meanings than that which appear in Biblical stories.
The first time we hear about the Spirit of God in the Jewish Scriptures is in the creation story of Genesis: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach, a feminine word meaning spirit, breath, wind, and life force. The word ruach, or its Greek equivalent, pneuma, appears over 800 times in the Bible. Jesus used this word, when he said, “The wind (ruach) blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone born of the spirit.”(John 3:8) It was the ruach ha-kodesh (holy spirit) that blew like a mighty wind in the Pentecost story.
According to the Navajo tradition, Wind appeared from the horizons of the four cardinal directions. Wind comes to each individual at the moment of birth and gives the child the vital breath of life. This archetypal idea is also expressed in the Jewish creation story: “And the Lord God formed the human . . . and breathed into its nostrils the breath of life; and the human became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
Soon after their birth, Navajo babies are ceremoniously presented to the winds who reside in the north, south, east, and west, who give them a "little wind" which reminds them that the life and breath that sustains them is the same life and breath that that the wind that dwells within them is entwined with the Holy Wind that encompasses the cosmos. In China, this wind or life breath is called qi. According to Zhuangzi, when a human is born, qi is gathered. When qi is gathered, life thrives. When qi is dispersed, life ends.
The Breath of God, the Navajo Holy Wind, Qi, surrounds and fills us with every breath we take. For us humans, wind, and breath, and spirit are meteorological, biological, and theological. The story tellers of Genesis understood something that the yogis, Taoist sages, and Navaho have also been teaching since ancient times: that there is a difference between the air we breathe and the life giving principle contained within it. This inner breath also called qi, prana, holy wind, or energy runs through our body, mind and soul.
In his Book of Secrets, Indian mystic Rajneesh Osho writes: “If you can do something with breath, you will attain the source of life. If you can do something with breath, you can transcend time and space. If you can do something with breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it. There are certain points in the breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors, the nearest doors to you, from where you can enter into a different world, into a different being, a different consciousness.”
When you go outside and feel the wind blow on your face, that is the Divine Wind reaching out to cool you, to touch you. How different our lives might be if we were conscious that we breathe in holy breath, that we share in the breath of one another, of trees and of animals, of all the people who have lived and that we are born of the Eternal Wind.