Breathing will accompany us until our death, so it is always there if we are still alive. That’s why Buddha taught us to start from breathing. Our life depends on breathing, and our practice depends on our life. So when we say: “there’s no time to practice”, we should ask ourselves: “do you have time to breathe?” The breathing can tell us many things, and even all about life!
When we have done the mindfulness on the form of breathing – the abdomen’s rising and falling for certain period of time, we’ll gradually see through the form into the inner reality of our breathing, which can be divided into two parts: physical part and mental part.
About the physical part: when we breathe in, the wind comes in and supports the abdomen to make it fuller, the outlook is rising up. When we breathe out, the wind goes out and abdomen becomes flatter, the outlook is falling down.
About the mental part: when the mind is going to cause the breathe-in (consciousness), the wind begins to flow in, the we can feel the abdomen is tenser (feeling), the outlook is rising up, our mind perceives this changing as the form of breathing in (perception), then the mind is going to keep this form to go on until we feel there’s enough wind inside abdomen (mental formation). Then the mind is going to cause the breathe-out (consciousness), the wind begins to flow out, the we can feel the abdomen is looser (feeling), the outlook is falling down, our mind perceives this changing as the form of breathing out (perception), and is going to keep this form to go on until we feel there’s not enough wind inside abdomen (mental formation).
The breathing is a continuous recycling consisting of physical and mental forms together. You may ask who decides to keep this recycling. It is the physical and mental process as a whole, without inherent existence. We can use the same way of viewing and understanding to see into any other forms in our daily life.