When we’re offered instruction in zazen, we learn about joriki, the power of concentration, the ability to put our mind where we want it and keep it there for as long as we need to. The instruction is to come into our body, establish our posture, and then make contact with our breath. When we inhale count one, exhale, two. When a thought comes up that takes us away from the counting, we see the thought, acknowledge it, release the grasp on it and come back to the breath. Every time we do that we build joriki. We practice putting our concentration lower in the body, in the hara, where the more intuitive, spontaneous aspect of our being naturally arises from. Often we’re living from the neck up, top heavy, lost in thought, so in zazen we practice bringing everything down lower. We sit in an upright stable form, surrendering our weight to the pull of gravity, and letting our breath and attention move down.

In the wholeheartedness of concentra- tion, the world and ourself begin to cohere. In zazen, we invite concentration, bringing our attention to just where we are. Interesting or not: concentrate. Boring or not: concentrate. Excitement or lack: concentrate. Breath by breath, koan by koan, practice by practice: concentrate.

In any commitment of attention things will get larger. We enter not-knowing, uncertainty, which puts us in accord with how things are. It’s uncomfortable, challenging to be in this space of not-knowing, of uncertainty.

Hojin 1 of 3 Roch Hart