Like observing the unconscious, accepting what arises in images, dreams, fantasies, thoughts, words, gestures without judgment, Harris writes that the same non-judgmental observation of one's breathing allows a heightened consciousness to develop as well.
At the beginning of a breathing practice it is only necessary to observe what is happening with the breath, what is happening in the body. It is here that consciousness begins. With only the simple act of observation, the breath is able to change, to transform into a breath that not only quietens but also can go deeper, gradually penetrating the cells of the body where healing can take place. (p. 59)By observing breath, a primary focus in any Eastern tradition, we come into greater consciousness (or mindfulness) about our own selves. Not only do we become more aware of what is happening within us and around us in the moment, but it is a manner of working with the unconscious through the physical, versus intellectual, realm. We come to connect psyche and matter, a union of the highest importance for our psychic and physical health.