One – and I’m breathing in

“As long as breath fills my lungs…”
How many times have I sang that?
I used to wonder at the eastern practice:
Sitting, breathing, sitting, breathing,
Focusing on the simple movement of air
  as if nothing else mattered
And when you understood that, they said
  you would understand everything else

So I sit:
One – I’m breathing in
  and I know I’m breathing in
One – I’m breathing out
  and I know I’m breathing out
Then Two, and Three –
  if I make it that far
Because slowly,
  a cat stalking my attention in the shadows
The cares of my world creep in
  to Pounce
To carry away those weaker moments of concentration
  that cannot fend for themselves
And leave me fretting for
  sounds of footsteps on the woodwork
  and whether the dog’s been fed

But from the scattered leavings of distraction
  again I try,
  and sit:
One – I’m breathing in
  and I know I’m breathing in

And perhaps this time I’ll make it until Four,
  in that non-grasping, non-seeking…
    what was the phrase
  that my teacher used
    when we were sitting that day under…
Damn. (in a non-grasping, non-seeking sense,
  of course.)

One – and I’m breathing in
   again.

[This whole thing is a fragment from late last year, but I’ve only now decided that it’s done, and trimmed the dead end (below) off of it]
==================================================================
(Why is breathing, simple breath
  so difficult?
It’s the first thing we do,
  on our own, when the world
    wrenches us from the womb
  free of care
    to fend for ourselves (sort of)
And the last thing we do
  when the world draws us onward again
So is that it?
That we have never known life
  without this precious focus

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