Why Focus on the Breath?
You may have heard people say something along the lines of “I need to learn how to be more present.” While I understand the sentiment, I think it’s the wrong way to look at things.
You don’t need to be more present; you need to get better at reminding yourself that the present moment is all that exists.
In the middle of trying to focus on something, you may notice that you’ve been distracted; lost in thought and forgetting that you were supposed to be concentrating. However, your minor veering from the task at hand doesn’t mean that task goes away during that time. Just the same: just because you aren’t feeling present right now doesn’t mean the present moment is gone.
This is a beautiful reason why we often focus on the breath in meditation. Like the present moment, it never leaves us. We pay attention to where we feel the breath most, count the inhalations and the exhalations, feel the rising and falling of our chest…Then, inevitably, our minds wonder and we forget we are meditating for however long. Once we are reminded that we are focusing on the breath, we gently come back to it; pleasantly realizing that we were breathing the whole time. It never left us.