Breathing beyond boredom

In my coaching sessions I have noticed, that many people like to do simple breathing exercises that include body movements. It’s called “Seon Yu” and it was invented by Zen Master Seung Sahn. You can watch, follow and practice with an introductory into these exercises by the wonderful Zen master Dae Bong Sunim here.

When we come to the part where I invite my clients to just sit with me in silence and then help to guide them towards paying attention to being in their body and their breathing, it seems to be more difficult for many to just be with that and the not-moving body.

When I ask about how watching the breath coming and going is for them, there are often some people who honestly say “Well, it is… so boring.” And that is ok. It’s almost always “boring” until you actually learn to let go of judgement and lean into the moment as it is. This is where things start to get interesting- beyond boredom. But first you must get so totally bored that the only way out of this boredom is into the boredom.

Here is a Zen story that illustrates this point:

A Zen master and a student sit by a water well. The teacher asks the student “How is your meditation going?” The student complains: “It’s ok. I am following and watching my breath… but it’s soooo boring!” Immediately the teacher grabs the student by the neck pushing his head under water and holding him there. After a few seconds the teacher pulls the students head out of under the water and the student is gasping for air. The teacher looks at him and says “And is it still boring to watch your breath?”… than the student got it.

Your breath is your very life. Treasure it. Each moment.


Mu Bul is a Zen teacher (Senior Dharma Teacher/ Kwan Um Zen tradition) and Yoga practitioner. Based in Leipzig, Germany, he is working as a life and career coach focusing on unlocking your potential with meditation and mindfulness training for greater focus, empathy, resilience and stress reduction.

https://about.me/sven.mahr