To really meditate is to acknowledge that – at this moment – nothing is more important than experiencing your own existence through your breath.
That’s an astonishingly selfish* thing to do. And I think it’s great.
We are surrounded by thousands of beliefs, ideas, and expectations which tell us that we exist for the sake of pleasing others, impressing others, placating others, pacifying others, satisfying others, and helping others.
We must have a reminder that we exist for our own sakes – that we are ends in ourselves.
Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, through meditation and a focus on our own breaths, we become aware that our existence needs no outside validation or justification.
There is a world of experience and goodness within our own breath, and the pursuit of that goodness is enough.
The experience of meditation can give us confidence that the same goodness exists in the other experiences of life. But those experiences may only come to us when we are selfish enough to notice and claim them, just as we are selfish enough to notice and claim our own breath.
*”Selfish” is a much maligned word, but here it means “beneficial to the self”.