May 14, 2023
Michael Haggiag



Dylan finds it difficult to sit still, so Jizo instructs him on the correct form for sitting Zazen (meditation).



We’re back on the gardener’s terrace behind the National Theatre. It’s as warm as last week, but the sky is overcast and the air feels heavy. The five of us are on our blue mats, listening to Jizo: 

“Last Sunday we did bowing practice. We’ll bring the same awareness to sitting on the mat. We are going to focus our attention on breathing in and out.” 

That word “attention” again.  It’s so unfair. I have a problem with attention. I can’t do this. I want to get up and run away, but before I can move, I feel Jizo balancing my shoulders. 

“Relax them. That’s it

They seem to drop from a great height. My neck and back muscles relax too. I must have been leaning to one side because my spine has just grown longer and I feel more solid than before. Jizo quickly moves on to the others, making little changes here and there until everyone is sitting straight. He looks pleased.

“This is called sitting with the right form. Form is very important. The heart follows the body, so when the body is collected the heart can also be collected. This is what the Buddha discovered when he gave up being an ascetic.”

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