You don’t breathe in the future and you don’t breathe in the past. You’re always breathing in the present, which makes breath potent as an object of meditation practice. Breathing is dynamic, not static. On one hand, one breath follows another, over and over, all more or less the same. On the other hand, each breath is unique and happens just once.
Like life, breathing seems to be continuous, but in fact it is not. In each breath cycle, the inbreath is birth, the outbreath is death, and the little period in between is life. In meditation, you tune into this arising and dissolving process over and over again, and so you become more and more familiar with it. With each breath, you are born and you die. With each breath, you let go and you allow something fresh and new to arise.
The simple bodily activity of breathing teaches us about dying—not only as a future possibility, but as a part of everything we do. Our breathing takes place within rivers of breath flowing continually among all living, breathing beings sharing one atmosphere. It connects us with the greater flow of living and dying beyond the personal.
Listen to the breath. It is direct teaching. No need for words. – Judy Lief
The holiest Name in the world, the Name of the Creator, is the sound of your
own breathing. – Lawrence Kushner