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November 07, 2005

"Ki Breathing" by Koichi Tohei Sensei (10)

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

Shinichi Tohei


Mind moves body

Mind and body were originally one. We call this “Shin-shin ichinyo (oneness of mind and body).
The relationship between mind and body is compared to “when you stand in front of the mirror” and “reflection of your image in the mirror”.
In this example standing in front of the mirror is “mind” and the reflection of your shape in a mirror is “body”.
No one says “I become two people” when one sees the reflection of one's shape in a mirror. Both mind and body are you. However, mind has no color, no shape and cannot be grasped by the five senses. On the other hand, body is visible and tangible. Human beings recognize mind and body as separate by difference of their nature.

Body reflects our mind.
When you smile standing in front of the mirror, the reflection of your face in the mirror also smiles. If you feel sad and stand in front of the mirror, the reflection of your face in a mirror also looks sad. There is an old saying that the reflection of your face in a mirror never smiles in advance. Mind moves body.
Here is a simple example. Raise your hand while thinking “I will never raise my hand”. Can you do it? You can raise your hand because you think “I can raise my hand”.
To the contrary, let's think “body moves mind”. Body is influenced by your surroundings all the time. If the body moves mind, mind is always disturbed by your surroundings and will never become calm. “Mind moves body”, therefore, we can have strong mind. Even if my body gets sick, mind will not necessarily become ill. Even if my body is exposed to adverse circumstances, my mind will not necessarily be affected by adverse circumstances.”

Body is visible. Mind is invisible. Therefore, many people only think about how to use body and they do not think about how to use their mind. There are big differences between using both your mind and body when doing things and when you do things without using mind but only using body. Each movement has quality when we use mind.
If I give you an example in our daily life, you will understand it more easily.
When you do something, you might have instances that you think “I do not want to do” in your mind but you physically do it anyway. This is a state of mind and body seperation. In this state, you get tired easily and nothing good comes of it. On the other hand, when you do something which you want to do in your mind, you will feel almost no fatigue and you can work efficiently.
When you do not use your mind positively and use only your body, you are practicing the separation of mind and body. In the latter case, when using mind positively to the purpose and using body, this is the state of oneness of mind and body.
A common example of seperation of mind and body occurs when you are walking up stairs. If you are preoccupied with other thoughts and walking up stairs, it is easy to miss a step and stumble.
Another example can occur when you leave your home and cannot remember locking the door to the house. By habit you may have locked the door, however when leaving the house if mind and body were not working together, you will not remember.
Have you ever had the experience where your eyes just see letters when you read a book, resulting in the need to reread the pages again to understand the content? This is another example of separation of mind and body.
As described above, oneness of mind and body and separation of mind and body can occur frequently in our daily life.
Today people are taught mind and body as separate items. Many people tend to think of mind and body as different in nature. People tend to think of the separation of mind and body as natural. If you try to put two things in one, it is difficult. Mind and body were originally one. Therefore, it is natural to use them together.
To use mind and body together, it is necessary to remember “mind moves body”. Before using your body, you should use your mind clearly first. By doing this, you can use your mind and body together.

In the first chapter, I explained the important ways of thinking to understand Ki breathing. In the next chapter, I will talk about natural posture (posture with oneness of mind and body) which is necessary to do Ki breathing.

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