Kendo’s Healing Message for October

As the significant changes in our lives continue, and seem to be becoming more restrictive once again, Kendo feels that it may be helpful to have a conscious perspective on our reality, something to recall when we lament the loss of all we’ve known in our lives – at least, until there’s a vaccine for Covid.

For many of us, our realities have contracted; we can’t meet with the people we used to see whenever we wanted, we can’t go to the places we once went to without a second thought, and we are increasingly ‘house-bound’ by social distancing regulations. Life can now seem quite diminished, and perhaps even oppressive.

It would be easy to feel negatively about all this, but that is to be avoided wherever possible – negative feelings can lead to depressive feelings, and when they set-in, our creativity and optimism diminish – but all this can be side-stepped, with an ‘outlook adjustment’.

Kendo would point out that our current restrictions are actually an excellent Zen Koan – a challenge for which there is no ready intellectual solution. Likewise, his recommendation is both simple and, at the same time, incredibly profound – it’s existentialism.

This is a term from philosophy, which relates to the concept of existence; we all exist, but one could ask, “How do I exist? What is the nature of my existence?” Considering this question quickly brings us back to the issue of quality-of-life, not as in ‘what does life give to me?’, but instead, ‘how am I a positive force in the life around me?’

As he has espoused for many years, Kendo has recommended giving ourselves some contemplative space, by setting-aside our technological gadgets and screens, and remembering that we are a part of the big picture of nature. Nature is so much more than our ‘monkey-minds’, which constantly demand stimulation – and, as integral parts of nature, so are we, and it’s immensely healthy to remember that, look around at nature, and begin to feel it once again.

Stilling our minds and finding complete Zen peace by meditating will always be healing and balancing, but what Kendo is recommending now is to also adopt a conscious, waking willingness to recognise the positive in the connections we still have, even in these restricted times. We are most likely in touch with at least a few people, and one of the benefits of technology is that we can contact many more, and now is an opportunity to be grateful for those relationships and to nurture them.

Some aspects of our lives have been taken away for the time being, but there’s nothing to be gained from resenting that, because it’s entirely beyond our control – say as the Japanese say, “Shou ga nai!” – it can’t be helped, so look at what is good in your life and what good you still may be able to do. You can still make a positive difference in the lives of those around you, and adopting this attitude will mean that you are being the best you can be, which will inevitably benefit your family and, by extension, the whole of society.

Kendo points out that our current Zen Koan, while initially appearing somewhat weighty, is actually giving us all the chance to focus on what really matters in human existence – each other – and how we can help each other, both the few we are currently in direct contact with, and the many we can reach remotely.

Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, always strive to be the best you can be, and the whole world will ultimately become a better place for all.

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