The Swinging Door

When I was a university student I was introduced to Zen Buddhism by way of Alan Watts and Shunryu Suzuki. Of all my reading, my most favorite on the subject then and now, is Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Lately I have taken to picking it up and opening the pages to see where I land. The other day I landed at the swinging door. I held the swinging door in focus during my morning meditation and found it most agreeable. The breeze of breath swung the door this way and that. It rippled and shone and seemed to be like a river gently flowing here and there over pebbles and branches.

…When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out into the outer world. The inner world is limitless. We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door. If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say “I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind or body; just a swinging door.

(Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shambhala Publications, 2011)

A swinging door, a flowing river, a breath of fresh air.

2 thoughts on “The Swinging Door

  1. I, too, have found the “swinging door” to be helpful, and I am mindful of it every time I sit. Thank you for this post!

  2. You remind me that it was Alan Watts who first got me interested in meditation. I had forgotten that. And Zen Mind, Beginners Mind was the first book that spoke to me about being, and still does. However, I don’t think the pub date is 2011 đŸ˜‰ I am struggling with starting my first blog, looking more at what others have written. Thanks.

    Dave

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