Heijoshin

 

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 a confusing  and controversial time.  

 

     Because we all have different experiences,  personalities and circumstances 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 continual effort to reshape the mind yet what we seek is the byproduct of this training which is something that should be natural and spontaneous as walking.
 

     As one trains diligently one becomes more intimate of the consequences of what one is training for.  It is then that one understands 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.  It is through diligent training that the practitioner gets a better appreciation of how tenuous life can be held in the balance. The samurai like other warriors understood that when they awake it could be the last day they would live, 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 maybe robbing a bank? Would you sort all of your personal matters or 
possibly try to reach out to society and give as much as you can 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.

Mustangs

Gopher Snake

Greeting Critter

Deer at Night