Kendo’s Healing Message for March

It has been said that the universe naturally tends towards chaos, which may seem ominous to anyone who seeks order, but it’s worth recalling that among the outcomes of this natural impetus are such wonders as the sakura – the exquisite Japanese cherry blossom. Likewise, another outcome is the human being who is capable of appreciating the beauty of the sakura, being inspired by it, and holding and recalling an image of it, which amounts to the opportunity for lifelong inspiration from just a single glance.

In the same vein, human life can seem to be little more than a series of challenges. As soon as we overcome one difficulty another seems to arise, and this can seem wearisome and sometimes even pointless. However, Kendo suggests a helpful perspective on challenges.

Just as Kendo observes when guests at the Nagasaki Retreat reach the ‘Pathway Bench’, every single pebble in the path which has been traversed on the way there represents a challenge having been successfully overcome. With this viewpoint, the pebbles which lie ahead are given a less ominous perspective – despite all those challenges, we’ve successfully survived and reached the point of reflection and contemplation (the Pathway Bench), and our contemplations should reveal that our survival and ability to be reflective about challenges means that those which inevitably lie ahead feel less ominous. However challenging our journey has been, it has strengthened us and equipped us with resources which tip the balance in our favour as we face future challenges.

Kendo recommends that we take a moment to appreciate the warrior nature we have developed on our journeys. Having overcome so much, we should do more than just breathe a sigh of relief – we should recognise that we have developed strength, we have become skilled, we have the benefit of experience, which in turn makes us wise, capable of anticipating and reacting with the right focus, and, in the light of appreciating all this, we deserve to feel confident in ourselves and whatever future faces us.

This is actually an objectivity which comes from Zen and Kyu Shin Do – taking ourselves out of the subjective experiences of our battles and looking objectively at all the resources we brought to bear in triumphing brings deserved confidence and additional strength of purpose to our quest to be the best we can be. This is, as has been said, the ‘good fight’, recognising our hard-won strengths and remembering that they are forever ours, whatever we may face in the future.

It is with this immensely positive self-knowledge, born of meditation and reflection, that Kendo always encourages us ‘Onwards!’

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