The Importance of Noticing the Breath



Following the breath is the practice which the Buddha is said to have used when he attained Enlightenment. It’s usefulness as a method is significant.

Following the breath is a practice that can be used to increase our awareness of our bodies, feelings, and minds. It starts with relaxing and settling the mind, which leads to great benefits, strengthening our Buddhist practice and ultimately leading to Awakening.

It’s best to find a quiet place, but that isn’t always easy in the modern world. Being in a place that’s slightly more disturbed makes things a little more difficult, but not impossible.

It’s best to have a stable posture, ideally the full lotus or half lotus. But, sitting on your knees is okay too and plenty of people who have back problems sit in chairs or lying down.

We being by noticing the breath. We notice whether our breaths are short or long, hard or soft.

Then we become aware of our bodies. We notice how our breath comes into and out of our lungs. We notice how our stomachs rise and fall. We feel the breath passing through our noses and into our lungs.

Then we spread our awareness. We are now able to notice more subtle sensations in our minds and bodies.

Here we can enter a deep meditative state that expands our concentration and insights.
Then our bodies calm and we experience bliss. When we have an intense enough experience we can get a sensation of oneness.

This state is the doorway to Enlightenment. Once we’ve experienced it once, it becomes easier to return to in our meditations.


Our goal with this practice is to strengthen the mindfulness of our bodies. Following the breath is our tool in the practice.


About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.

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