…familiarization with the breath is what we experience as we go on in our practice: the connection between our zazen and the rest of our daily life…
Excerpted from Healing Breath (Orbis Books)
Click here to Read Part 1 of Rediscovering the Breath by Ruben Habito.
In seated meditation, with one’s back straight, one is enjoined to breathe naturally but deeply, intentionally and slowly, so that the breathing is centered on the lower diaphragm. One thus becomes aware that it is the whole body, not just the lungs, that participates, or rather, partakes, in the breathing. And as one becomes more and more familiarized with this way of breathing while doing zazen, this way of real-izing one’s connectedness with the breath flows into what one does after zazen. One finds oneself breathing more easily and with a greater sense of relaxation and satisfaction.
This process of familiarization with the breath is what we experience as we go on in our practice: the connection between our zazen and the rest of our daily life…
taking the fourfold posture given above, gyo-zen, or Zen in action, ju-zen, or Zen in passivity or relaxation, and ga-zen, or Zen in horizontal position, that is, even while one is asleep, in addition to zazen, comes to be realized more and more.
One helpful way of enhancing this awareness of the connection is by taking advantage of those odd or idle moments in our day, such as while waiting for a red light to turn green at an intersection, while waiting for an appointment, or in the interval that naturally takes place as one goes from one task to another, and during those moments, intentionally taking a deep breath or two, placing oneself in the here and now where one is. As one is able to catch those moments and bring them back to the here and now with the help of the breath, one actually notices the qualitative difference in the way one lives one’s day. Instead of losing those moments fidgeting or getting impatient or anxious, one finds that those moments become connectors that tie one’s life together, back to the living center where it originates — the here and now.
Published as Rediscovering the Breath on the Maria Kannon Zen Center website.