Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Sword that Takes Life: The Sword that Gives Life

As I look out into the winter wonderland of Northeast Wisconsin I dream of being somewhere warmer, preferably tropical. As I dream of blue skies, warm beaches and the sound of waves splashing upon the shore, I figured it was a good time to discuss Imagination.

As most of you know, Imagination is one of our most powerful mind-swords. I liken the Imagination to a Samurai's Katana. Long and razor sharp. Used incorrectly, it will take your life. Used correctly, it will give you life.

I am sure you can remember a time when you let your imagination run wild. It probably hurt...and people who let their imaginations run wild over the littlest of things usually have a lot of physical discomfort, ie, ulcers, headaches and even backaches. Their Katana of Imagination is cutting them and actually taking their life.

However, when you learn how to sheathe your Imagination (via Zazen) you can then learn how to use it properly to give yourself life. Your Imagination can induce physical healings, calm the emotions and even attract abundance into your life. This is truly the sword that gives life...but you must know how to use it correctly!

As you practice Zazen, or even daily mindfulness of your thoughts, be aware of when your mind has wandered from your current here and now activity or purpose. Notice its wanderings and how your daydreaming imagination takes you either into the past or the future. Just notice it and then gently return your focus to your activity or your breathing if you are doing zazen. This is sheathing your mind-sword. It must be done gently and mindfully, just like a real Katana. If you do it with any form of emotion other than gratitude or calmness you will be harming yourself. For those of you who have worked with real Katana...if sheathing your sword is done haphazardly you might just cut off your thumb! Same goes for your Imagination...but you could be cutting off more than just your thumb.

Practice sheathing your imagination. This is true Budo. This is ceasing the struggle. Sometime I will discuss your other mind-swords and the importance of putting them to rest as well. Zazen and Mindfulness training are great methods of putting your mind-swords to rest...and to give you life as well.

Hands palm to palm,

1 comment:

  1. How true! Although my imagination has been the source of my livelihood and has blessed me in many ways it has also been the cause of much suffering. Karate in general, and zazen, has helped me "let the tape run out" without having to listen to a lot of leftover gibberish. Once I "used" the memory of a friend's enchanting living room that gave the sensation of living within a tree. I would go there in my mind and sit in the dark, very peaceful.

    Love that katana metaphor.