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Realizing yourself

Kawaraban No. 9


by Kenji Shimizu

This year also I spent very quiet New Year’s holidays.

However there was a difference compared to the last years. I had the opportunity to reflect upon myself unhurriedly.

Each day I repeatedly took a hot bath (I am talking about the hot bath at home, to which I added some bath salts) and doing so I tried to feel out what kind of being the human being is, whom we call our self, and what ki, mind and body is all about.

Unfortunately I concluded, that even at my age I still do not completely understand the both aspects of mind and body.

Nevertheless, I will tell you about some of my reflections.

At first I thought about the body and was thankful to the fact, that head, both arms, both legs, the intestines and inner organs are working incessantly. At the same time I was surprised, that for example the cardiovascular system is working nonstop, silently day and night to this day.

You might be satisfied, to think that this is quite natural, but who might have built such human body? You only can imagine a miracle. Our parents have sent us to this world, and again I am filled with gratefulness. At this very moment however, when we notice that we should honor them, they have already left the earth in most cases.

Remorse comes always too late. This applies to our own body as well. The importance of health, to which we do not pay attention in healthy times, will be understood for the first time only in case of injury, illness or accident. Then we will regret our shortsightedness.

I will take the hand, which is writing this article as an example. As long as nothing happens, there is hardly anything more useful. But once damage occurs, especially in case of the right hand, you are helpless. When eating, in the bathroom or when dressing you feel as if half of your body had died off. This has an impact on our ki, too. You become weak (= the ki is weak). As it is being said from ancient times, “illness results from the lack of ki”, the ki is a strong ally supporting the body, with the exception of certain diseases. For example, by means of a strong mind (kimochi) pain can be suppressed, or you can prevent yourself from catching a cold, even in winter, when it is cold and you are practicing zazen (sitting meditation) outdoors in light clothes.

Furthermore, if you have to get up early for a trip, it will be effortless, but getting up for work is so difficult.

Therefore a human being is able to live in most different ways by using ki. All of us are acting in different spheres like family, working place, area and so on. And, whether you like it or not, we live in the midst of a human society, where you find not only enjoyable things as requested, but sad and painful things as well.

The most important thing in human life is training your own energy of life and the state of mind to become perfect.

Nowadays people are shocked in case of sudden changes in the international situation or in case of natural disaster. But if vitality is perfected, you will calmly encounter such occasions, considering, what changes and what emergencies could happen, and take adequate actions.

Liveliness is an indication of life, and I wish, that it will last until death.

Every human being has weak points. Either you do not know your weak points, or you tend to ignore them intentionally.

In aikido practice we differentiate between ‘shite’ and ‘uke’. In doing so you discover your weaknesses (uke) and you are able to take advantage of this (shite) to strengthen yourself. Thus weakness will turn into strength, self-confidence will be built up, and vital force will be perfected.

Isn`t it like this, that we will realize who we are, if we would detect our weak spots and train them?

Now at the beginning of the year I am refreshed and I have come to the decicion, that I want to make this year a meaningful year.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 04/2005