When you meditate by watching the breath entering and leaving, it naturally brings you into being in the present. The breath is just breathing, nothing more. And yet each breath is completely different from the last one. The breath draws you inward, and then you share it with the world as you breathe outward. You can repeat silently, "I am here; I am now; I am present! I am here; I am now; I am present!"
Your experience is just this, vibrant and rich. When you are fully present, the world you live in becomes extraordinary, as if being seen and heard and touched for the first time, for you are without preconceived ideas or desires. There is just the experience. Like a child making the unknown known, you are simply with what is, while also impelled to know it more intimately, to explore and understand...even to become it.
Practice: Breath Awareness Meditation
Sit comfortably with your back straight; hands are in your lap, eyes are closed. Spend a few minutes settling your body, being aware of the room around you and the chair you are sitting on.
Now bring your focus to your breathing: Just watch the natural movement of air as you breathe in and out. Silently repeat, "Breathing in, breathing out."
Stay with watching your breath. If your mind starts to drift, just see your thoughts as birds in the sky and watch them fly away. Then come back to the breath.
Anytime you get distracted, bored or stressed, just come back to the breath, to this moment now. Silently repeat, "I am here; I am now; I am present! I am here; I am now; I am present!"
You can do this for a few minutes, or as long as you like. When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go, open your eyes and move gently.
Ed and Deb Shapiro are the authors of Be The Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They are featured weekly contributors to Oprah.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Care2.com. Ed and Deb write Sprint's The Daily CHILLOUT inspirational text messages. They have three meditation CDs: Metta: Loving Kindness and Forgiveness, Samadhi: Breath Awareness and Insight and Yoga Nidra: Inner Conscious Relaxation. Deb is also the author of the best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award.
Keep Reading More from Ed and Deb Shapiro:
Is meditation your friend or enemy?
Why meditation is the greatest gift you can give yourself
How meditation can calm your mind