Kendo’s Healing Message for February

When facing challenges, it’s natural to concentrate your energies on ‘fighting back, ‘steeling yourself’, and ‘keeping things together’. Determination is the response of the strong, and, frankly, it’s what we feel we ought to do.

However, this focus on yourself necessarily narrows your horizons and tends to shut out the rest of the world, which almost invisibly can make you feel alone with your problems.

Why is this so? You’re being brave and preventing a problem from overwhelming you – why should you then feel more isolated?

Kendo advises that once you’ve gritted your teeth and ‘battened down the hatches’, however well this helps you cope with your situation you may be overlooking your connection to the outside world and the many ways in which it can help you.

The two key things that are illustrated during a visit to the Nagasaki Retreat are stilling the mind and re-connecting with the ‘big picture’ of nature around us. Both of these things are very easy to forget in the busy, individualistic, technological western world, but once remembered, they can greatly help us to meet our challenges – and get help.

Anyone who has followed Kendo will know the benefits of taking a ‘Kyu Shin Do’ approach to challenges – resolving to put one’s problems at a safe distance while finding absolute Zen peace – but also remembering that the natural world around us is fundamentally benevolent to those who respect it can really help too. Appreciating the big picture of nature is a gesture of humility which takes ego (and therefore isolation) out of the situation; by stilling your mind and remembering that you are a part of nature around you, not only are you liberating your intuition but you’re also opening yourself to all the positive energies around you.

Kendo counsels that even when problems can seem overwhelming and meditating is the last thing on your mind, it really should be the first. Becoming the best that you can be necessarily involves facing-up to and overcoming challenges, but there’s no need to suffer in silence nor face things alone. This is a choice that will always be open to you, and making that choice will not only help you, but it will keep you in touch with the world around you and all its supportive energies.

Even when things are difficult, suspend disbelief and still your mind; at the very least you’ll benefit from a ‘re-boot’, but also remembering that you’re part of something bigger and benevolent will make it easier to reach out for the help you need – it is certainly out there and available, if you remind yourself that there’s no need to suffer in silence or isolation.

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