Meditation teachers often speak about the breath, encouraging students of anapanasati samadhi to carefully observe the breath with a continuity of mindful attention. How closely are you observing your breath as you eat breakfast, walk down the stairs, drive your car, and also when you meditate?

I enjoy highlighting mindfulness of the breath once in a while during activities. Today I am intentionally relaxing with each breath as I move through my usual work routine; I am doing my normal work, but keeping an interest in my breath. Sometimes I get wrapped up in tasks and forget the breath, then after a few moments remember my intention and feel the next inhalation and exhalation. It is a simple way of experiencing a calming, composing, way of being today.

The breath is always available as a perception to focus our attention. Each time we direct attention to the breath, we gather the dispersed energies of mind, let go of distraction, and calm attention. I find this simple exercise immensely relaxing.

I have sometimes worked with students who suffer from headaches when focusing on the breath. They may go through a process, struggling to find the cause of headaches—are they caused by over efforting? tension? eye strain? food sensitivities? a physical/medical condition? It is fine to make whatever adjustments you can to alleviate strain as you relax into the experience of breath. Use the breath to simply be present, without force, without struggle.

I hope you can enjoy your breath today.