Patterns of being, behaviour, motivation and movement. These seem to make the world: they are the world. As living things, when we look to the world around and in us, we don’t see lifeless objects bumping into each other at random, we see patterns. These are replicated at every level of magnitude. Electrons orbit a nucleus, moons orbit planets, planets orbit start, and so on. Perhaps the most fundamental pattern, and the one that can be found in a panoply of manifestations, is the pattern of breathing.
Of course animals breathe, but this inward, growing movement followed by an outward, shrinking movement is everywhere. The year grows hot then chills, the Sun rises and sets, the tide comes in and out, we live and die, and flowers bloom and wilt.
This pattern also shows up in behaviour. Political movements grow and gain momentum. Relationships flourish and can turn sour or just fade away. City traffic ebbs and flows throughout the day.
Could the highest order of magnitude we can possibly conceive of be breathing? We know that the universe is expanding, with everything in it moving further away from everything else. Perhaps this expansion will reach a limit point and begin collapsing in on itself, until it reaches a singularity and begins expanding again. Expanding, collapsing, expanding, collapsing, for eternity: as it has always done. Each expansion and collapse a different universe.
Whether or not this is the case, the ubiquitous presence of breathing probably explains in part why things like meditation, dancing, music and running have such a powerful effect on us. They get us into the rhythm, so to speak.