Last time, I spoke about how there is no “bad
” Zazen, even on those days when the mind is very cloudy with thoughts and emotions. But in fact, there are a couple of things we can do to settle down when the mind is really, really, really
, stirred up with tangled thoughts, wild emotions and confusion.
We can count the breaths, for example, counting from 1 to 10 at each inhalation and exhalation, then coming back to one and starting all over when we reach ten (which we rarely do
) or lose track. Or we can simply follow the breath without counting, for example, observing effortlessly as it enters and exits the nose. These are excellent practices, and will calm the mind (itself a form of Shikantaza that some people pursue, even for a lifetime!). HOWEVER
, for reasons I will discuss, I recommend such practices only as temporary measures for true beginners with no experience of how to let the mind calm at all, or others on those sometime days when the mind really, really, really is upset and disturbed. AS SOON AS
the mind settles a bit, I advise the we return our attention to “the clear, blue, spacious sky that holds all
“, letting clouds of thought and emotion drift from mind, focused on what can be called “everything, and nothing at all
” or “no place and everyplace at once
.” I will explain why in today’s talk.