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Breathing and Shikantaza


Zen as Embodiment (9) – Just Breathe!

Zazen is correctly described as a practice of “body, breath and mind.” All come to play in ‘Just Sitting.’ We have already discussed “dropping bodymind,” so now let’s talk about “dropping the breath.”

Some kinds of meditation practices emphasize doing something unusual with the breath, breathing with special rhythms or with intentional contractions or special depths, in order to bring about unusual mind states. Shikantaza is different, and merely emphasizes breathing during Zazen in a natural, healthful, ordinary way. Oh, we let the diaphragm nicely expand to fill the lungs, but not in some extreme or forced way. Just breathe nice and deep so as to nourish the body … then forget about the breath. Inhalations reach their natural fullness, perhaps pause for an instant, then exhalation easily and gently begins. Your body will instinctively take care of the doing without your need to do anything………..

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