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October 03, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (5)

This article is translation of Koichi Tohei sensei's book, "Ki breathing (Ki no Kokyuho)". We will upload new article every Monday.

Shinichi Tohei


Live with plus Ki (1)
Mind has a power

Our Ki is a part of the Universe and our body is the vessel used to house our Ki.
The mind is that thing, given by the Universe, with which we must protect and bring up the physical vessel and with which we must prompt and control the exchange of our own Ki with that of the Universe.
Perhaps we could make a comparison between the processes involved in the generation of electricity and those in the flow of Ki. In the generator, the basic essence of electricity becomes electricity and flows out to activate machines. The Universe is filled with Ki, our mind similar to an electrical generator, we use our mind to receive Ki, which in turn becomes our own Ki, the Ki that moves our body.
In fact, “Extend Ki” means by using our mind positively, mind generates Ki just like a power plant generates electricity. This means by using mind positively, our Ki interchanges with the Ki of the Universe.
Therefore, I call “plus Ki” as to extend Ki, “minus Ki” as to pull Ki. Now, I will talk about “plus Ki” which is important to do Ki breathing.

If I ask “Have you ever been injured or caught a cold?”, most of the people will say “Yes”. And if I ask “Have you ever got angry, suffered sadness, had a conflict?”, nobody will answer “No”.
Did I ask you two separate questions above? Most of the people think that first question is question about body, and the second question is a question about mind.
But let's consider well. When we get sick, we are sensitive about small things and easy to anger, be afraid, suffer sadness, be jealous and have conflict.
Many people become sick mentally by thinking as “Others are living happily. Why am I sick? What kind of bad thing have I done?”
As described above, physical ailment is closely associated with mental issues. Physical ailments are on the surface, however, the cause of sickness comes from mental sources in many cases.
The reason we catch cold is not only due to the fact that we become physically weaker, but also from problems originated from the mind.
When people get sick, many people think only about their body and forget about their mind. Many of them do not realize their own mind problems and think they will get well if they take medicine. They are living forgetting some things and are living an unnatural life.
I will talk about my experiences with unnatural life which forgets about mind and only thinks about body.

I suffered a severe illness in the past. Before I was born, my mother had a close encounter with death from severe pneumonia which a doctor gave up on as hopeless. After that, I was born. Therefore, she was incredibly protective of me.
Even after I entered elementary school, my mother made me absent from school if I sneezed once, because she believed I was weak child. I embraced it and I was absent from school many times. I attended school only six months until I was in the 2nd grade. I had a caretaker with me on my way to and from school to protect me from being bullied by pupils.
However, the more my mother took care of me well, the more I got sick. If some kind of sickness was to appear, I was the first one to catch the sickness in my family.
My father changed my weak mind and body. He made me wear light clothing even in the winter. Also, he taught me Judo. Thanks to Judo which my father taught, I got strong and healthy. When I entered the Judo club in Junior high school, I was awarded a black belt in Judo at 14 years of age.
I experienced other difficulties soon after. Judo which I learned for health gave me some important life lessons. When I was 16 years old, I entered Keio University. I had been practicing Judo, therefore, I entered the Judo club at Keio University. I met with misfortune while attending spring camp of the Judo club.
During practicing Judo, I was tangled with a huge senior and we both tumbled. My left chest was hit very hard. I went to the hospital and found I had contracted pleurisy. The doctor told me to enter a hospital immediately.
Lucky for me, my fever went down the next day. The doctor permitted me to leave the hospital after a 17 day hospital stay. I thought that I could spend my University life like before. However, my doctor told me unexpected words at the very last medical examination. He told me to not practice Judo anymore. Not only Judo but also tennis, table tennis and so on. He permitted me to take walks. He also told me, “Your body is like a cracked cup. If you hit your chest again, it will be the end. Therefore, you should not raise your left arm high, and you should not do anything that will cause shock to your chest. You should not talk in a loud voice because this shocks your chest.”
The doctor's words brought me back to my young days when I was weak. After that, I talked with others in a very small voice. When I tripped over a small stone while taking a walk, I felt shock on my chest and I was worried about the crack in my chest. Therefore, I was nervous even when I took a walk.
When I went to the seashore to a health resort for therapy, someone said, “Sea breeze is too rough for pleurisy. You should go to the mountains.” Therefore, when I took a walk along the seaside, I wore a mask.
Suddenly, I had a high fever nearly 40 degree. The doctor said this was a recurrence of pleurisy. I took medicine for the fever and lowered it. This was my daily life.
Not only with the doctor but it is common practice that if we have a severe attack of sickness, such as pleurisy, we should rest quietly. This is common practice for most people.
However, in contradiction to above, I did things which most people would consider out of the norm. When I got sick, my mind became weak, and I took things in a minus way. By doing this, I found that everything went bad through my experiences.
I decided to change myself from living a minus life.
I visited Tetsuju Ogura sensei, a senior student of Tesshu Yamaoka sensei who had been known as a sword master and an excellent calligrapher.
I began my practice of misogi. “Misogi” is the practice of the breath which came from Japanese Shinto. This practice is sitting all day long for many days and exhale breath with loud voice as much as possible. We lose our voice in a half day. In addition to that, the seniors hit the backs of the participants during this practice. “Making loud voice”, “Being hit on my back” I did these things which I was prohibited to do by my doctor.
When I start practicing Misogi, my left chest started to hurt and I worried about a recurrence of illness. However, I promised my teacher that it was okay to die at the dojo during practice before I started. Therefore, I made up my mind to let things go. I was practicing forgetting about my sickness and my pain disappeared during practice. After one year, I went to the hospital and took a medical examination. The pleurisy was completely gone. In general, the heavy pleurisy such as mine left patterns of pleurisy. However, there was no trace of pleurisy.

My pleurisy was cured by doing Misogi. This experience let me know if we train our mind and body and use mind in a positive way, we can use the great power that is naturally ours.
If I had continued my life as the doctor suggested, I would not have made a loud voice, run, played sports and would have worried about the recurrence of pleurisy at all times. It is easy to imagine that this was not a good life.
The doctor advised only about the body.
We call body sickness “Yamai” in Japanese, and both mind and body sickness are called “Byoki” in Japanese. My experience shows that we cannot grow strong in health if we take care of only our body and we have worries or sickness in our mind.

If you hope to grow strong in health, it is important to realize not only the visible body but the invisible mind. Mind has such a power.

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