Counting breaths

A busy week or so, and, as can happen, practice dropped off a bit.

Returning to my koan, Gutei Raises a Finger, I could not find a way in. So I thought to myself, I know, I’ll put this to one side for a bit and simply count my out breaths.

I often start sitting this way before moving on to another kind of practice. But today I continued to count breaths for 30 minutes – and it was most effective.

I did this as I’ve always done it, and as most zen teachers seem to teach. Count only the out breaths one up to ten, then begin again. Over and over.

Today, a long-ish session of counting the breaths brought about a wonderful vibrant stillness that I had previously only attained through other methods.

Today I learned the simplest most accessible practice at all can also be deeply effective. If it was the only practice, it would be well worth doing.

So: more counting breaths as a fundamental part of my practice.