Kendo’s Healing Message for March

How can we be the best we can be? Kendo tells us it begins with awareness – the choice to consider the quality of what we give and, perhaps surprisingly, what we receive.

Kendo counsels that it is wise to be mindful of what you allow into your essential self – It has been said that it is a mistake to give anyone else the power to adversely affect your feelings, but when you think about it, wouldn’t it be great to be immune to unfair criticism and even deliberate spoken or written cruelty? In these days of so very many people taking advantage of the opportunity to be outspoken on social media, we are likely to find ourselves the target of someone’s criticism. This could be as a result of our politics, our gender, our religion, our education, our nationality, and even falsehoods and ‘fake news’ – all such criticism is unfair but it’s out there and is sometimes all too easy to find. But how can we let it simply wash over us and fall away without it adversely affecting us? The answer is Zen, and particularly Zen through Kyu Shin Do.

As long as we’re trying to be good people, the beliefs we hold will naturally be moderate and pro-social, and therefore they won’t deserve unfair criticism just because they differ from someone else’s. Zen shows us that under such circumstances we don’t have to feel offended or become defensive – we just have to ‘know’ that those aspects of our ‘selves’ are good – moderate and pro-social. It’s not even necessary to wonder why someone else may want to be critical of us – what they think is their business, and if it’s negative, that too can be left with them, without us taking it on board. That is the kind of awareness of which Kendo speaks – discriminating between what is worth ‘allowing in’ to our essential selves and what should be allowed to ‘fall away’.

This is a level of discrimination which doesn’t necessarily come naturally – it has to be discovered, meditated-upon, and practised, because there are many other souls who can teach and enlighten us by illustrating other perspectives – we should always be open to learning and improving ourselves. But at the same time, we need to know when to disengage with unhelpful ‘input’, and ‘walk away’ with our balance undisturbed.

Practising such care with what we allow into our essential selves will naturally affect the quality of what we share – positively. By becoming immune to negativity, and therefore not engaging with it, we will only contribute to positive interactions, and because we will have naturally risen above taking offence or needing to retaliate to negativity, our own energy will not have been disturbed or diluted from making only the most positive contributions.

So, when you meditate, place yourself at that centre of Zen peace, allow all things to have a little distance from you in a Kyu Shin Do orbit around you (and include both external things as well as all aspects of your ‘self’), and allow your silent, wise, intuitive self to guide you regarding the things you can change for the better, and how to be at peace with those things you can’t change.

It would be nice if the world was always a nice place, but rising to its challenges is the foundation of how we grow and improve. It has been argued that negativity is a necessary evil for just that reason, but meditation and discrimination as described by Kendo can show us how to be unharmed by negativity, and become a naturally powerful agent for positivity.

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