In meditation, and particularly in mindfulness the breath is what mediators call ‘the anchor.’
The anchor is a focal point, something you bring your attention to and something that you lay your attention upon in a non-judgemental way.
The breath although very subtle in its nature, it is incredibly powerful. It is effectively your life force manifest in a automatic, physiological response, that if not present means finality to the body. It is the one major thing that keeps you alive. Obviously food and water are also essential, however without the breath food and water would be pointless. The breath as stated is incredibly powerful and very subtle however it also possesses a varied nature that provides fertile ground for exploration. The breath if used correctly can form a very strong ‘object of attention’ to meditation practice.
Due to its subtle nature, but also it is very varied form, the breath can make meditation an interesting and diverse experience. Visitation, another for of meditation, requires an anchor (the’object’) to be something that is brought to mind. However this form of meditation requires a strong ability to see in the minds eye without judgement etc. The breath is more accessable as there is little additional effort required. The breath simply is and therefore it forms a strong anchor into the present moment. A key goal for any meditator.
What follows is a brief breathing meditation that can be used in a formal or less structured seated session.