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April 14, 2005

Dead calmness and living calmness

Last week, I told you that correct concentration is calming your mind.

If your mind clings to something, you will not be able to use your mind freely. Then you will not be able to see the whole picture, and you will not judge well. This limited state of the mind is called obsession, not concentration.

Koichi Tohei Sensei defines the state of the mind which clings to something as "dead calmness". On the other hand, if the mind is free from clinging to anything, this is defined as "living calmness".

Here is one example.

One of the apprentices (uchideshi in Japanese) accompanied Tohei Sensei to a lecture. The apprentice was not yet used to accompanying Tohei Sensei, and therefore was very nervous.

There was a vase on the table. The vase was very near the edge of the table, almost ready to fall. Tohei Sensei realized this and said to the apprentice, "Look at that vase." Tohei sensei wanted him to move the vase to a safe place.

However, the apprentice misunderstood the instruction. What did he do? He answered to Tohei sensei, "What a beautiful vase it is!"

The apprentice's mind clung to the vase, therefore, he could not realize other things. His mind was closed to the other possibilities of the moment. If your mind is in a state of dead calmness, you only see partially and you will have difficulty realizing what is. In this way, you will not be able to judge correctly.

However, we often mistakenly use our mind in this way. We cling to many things.

"Only I can do this job". When you keep your work to yourself, this is one of the expressions that the clinging mind comes up with. (Clinging to your own abilities.)

"Because I am old (or young), I cannot do that." "Because I am a man (or woman), I cannot do that." This is also your mind clinging to something. (Clinging to age or gender)

If you are afraid to loose your status, this is also your mind clinging to something. (Clinging to money, wealth, status and honor)

"I could make it in the past. So I will be able to make it this time." "I could not make it in the past, so I will not be able to make it this time, too." If you cling to past experiences (either good or bad), and you do not make an effort to improve, this is also your mind clinging to something. (Clinging to the past)

The problem is that without awareness, our mind clings to something. Once your mind clings to something, you will not be able to use your mind any further. Therefore, you need to be careful about it.

By doing Ki breathing, our mind becomes naturally calm, and our mind does not cling to anything. When I am facing a big decision, I do Ki breathing.

Let's practice Ki breathing together.

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