top of page
The term Heijoshin is actually three words that combines this state of being. We will start with the first:
"Hei" translated in Japanese means "peaceful," calm," or" steady" the closest English translation is "even" or "level" as in "even handed" or "level headed".
"Jo" has a more precise meaning in English translation meaning "always" "constant" or "continually".
"Shin" Is understood as more than just the "heart" that pumps blood throughout your system, but defines the mind, the spirit, the emotion, the character, the whole inner essence of the individual. A soft heart, a hard heart, a lion heart, an evil heart, a cruel heart, a righteous heart, a kind heart. For lack of a more direct translation we will call it a "Peaceful Mind".
Heijoshin is not simply a single attribute but a culmination of several character traits. Each aspect of Heijoshin may take years of effort, experience, and humility to develop. There are three key areas one most focus on to develop a balance of all three.
(1) The intellect-understanding,, wisdom, compassion
(2) The emotions-self control. (Lack of is considered a weakness). understanding what state you are in.
(3) The indefinable element known as character, or integrity.
To be able to cultivate this trait takes much patience, fortitude, and brutal honesty to oneself.
This demands a lifestyle of discipline, effort, sacrifice, and commitment. This character trait will help guide you in such perplexing and deceptive times.
Because we all have different experiences, personalities we will all follow different paths to achieve this same goal. The paradox of this all is that it takes a conscious effort of training and practice to reconfigure the mind yet what we seek is the byproduct of this training which is something that should be as unconscious as walking.
Through training we becomes more aware of the consequences of what one is training for. It is then that one comprehends the frailty of life and death and the consequences and responsibilities of ones actions. In Iaijutsu (sword battle) the outcome is clearly evident that one lives and another dies, this is unlike karate-do or other "Open Hand" arts where the "loser" may only become disabled or unable to continue the fight. The samurai, like many other warriors understood that when they awake it could be the last day of their life, a very real thing so one must live as if it is their last day. After all, who knows how long they will live ? A healthy person can die just as quickly as one with a terminal illness. I know this well practicing medicine in the Operating Room since 1992.
If you knew that you were to die in a week, what would you do? Would you live your last days fulfilling your own needs such as extracting revenge or and adrenaline rush like robbing a bank? Would you sort all of your personal matters or
possibly try to reach out give as much as you can of your last moments to society with your money and time? Maybe you will ask for forgiveness to those your have hurt as well as forgive those who have hurt you. Maybe, just maybe you will then interact with those around you in a more compassionate way. Those who have faced death will have an epiphany of what really matters to them and all of those things they thought were important suddenly are not. The real question is who knows when their time on this earth will end? Why does it take facing death to get a better understanding of oneself? This is the "Human Condition" of how emotions rule how we think thus act. One must walk this earth with the reality that there may not be a tomorrow for them. This is Heijoshin.
This state of mind allows the practitioner to calm their mind thus transmitting this "Calm Energy" to their
environment which is felt by those in the forest as it does with those around them. This should happen without thought of it. This state of Heijoshin allows one not to disturb the residents of the wild by transmitting a calm energy not only by mind but also through the way you move within the wilderness while under this calm influence. You will know you are in this state by how the wilderness reacts to you. The creatures of the wild will not fear you and may even come to you. If this happens then you are in the state of Heijoshin. here are some examples of interactions. Notice the lack of concern of my presence.
Deer at Night
bottom of page