It's been about five months since I paid attention to my breathing. For almost half a year, I've neglected to carefully observe my breath, and yet my breath has still come — in and out, and in and out, etc. — a fact of which I am only passively aware because I am here, now, alive, typing these words. Not only am I alive, but I feel fine.
But article after article on pop-science websites assured me that meditation would better me in every possible way. I would be less anxious, more focused. I would be kinder, healthier. My skin would be clearer, my stomach flatter. I would feel happy, I convinced myself. I would be a better friend, a better writer.