Kawaraban No. 12
by Kenji Shimizu
A familiar saying is, that you are lucky having a healthy body and mind, but normally you are not aware about this. Only after becoming ill you will notice.
The following story comes from priest Yamaguchi Keitei (head priest of Enryakuji temple on the mountain Hie):
"Buddha Shakjamuni used to live in asceticism and realized that mortifying the flesh is nothing else than torturing the mind."
It is meaningless, if your mind is not cheerful and is tortured only. To achieve satori and being able to see the real world, the mind has to be cheerful and easy.
But how to achieve an easy and free mind? When the body is perfect, cheerfulness will come along.
Therefore, mental and physical health is required.
We, who follow the way of aikido, always think, that physical and mental health is important. Therefore we are practicing.
However, for the cultivation of physical and mental health continuity is essential. Being able to strengthen the resistance of your body and to realize a strong body and mind depends on carrying on with practice without impatience, without tiring, without stopping. Nothing else is more powerful than ki power.
Human beings respond sensitively to their environment, and you can also say, that they are products of their environment. When you compare former people with people nowadays toughness in the past was very strong, and I am convinced that the environment has a strong influence.
In the past there was no amusement like television, games and so on. You could organize your life, as you wanted it to be without being influenced by mass media. People were keeping their feet to the ground.
I come back now again to the story of priest Yamaguchi that I mentioned in the beginning. We Japanese nowadays have to care more about our mental and physical health.
It is because a healthy mind will dwell in a healthy body.
Healthiness means to feel every day the `ki’ that is activated by exercise.
It is the nature of human beings, that they move their bodies by their feelings. And especially for that reason you permanently have to keep your ki flowing with regard to mental and physical balance.
A healthy, lively human being will leave behind a good atmosphere and will generate a bright environment when being together with other people.
Health is not only restricted to yourself, but will give a fresh impetus to other people as well.
In such sense health should be one of the main purposes in the life of a human being.
© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 11/2002