Mushin – A concept of innocent simplicity

1. Introduction

There is a lot still going on here, but at this point it seems that barring something unexpected in regard to the nuclear reactors, we should be safe in Tokyo.
Still though, there has been aftershocks every day, and the ones that occur in the middle of the night, are the most unsettling. Oh well… It offers me a good opportunity to practice Seishindo!

I would like to once again offer everyone the Seishindo coaching tool
“Eight Essential Questions- Focus on the Life You Desire”. More than 400 of you have downloaded it since last month, with many people already writing back saying the document has been very helpful.

All too often in our lives, we speak, without really hearing and feeling what we are saying. The Eight Essential Questions” are meant to reconnect your words to your feelings, so you can begin to live with greater clarity and purpose.

If you would like the Questions document, please contact me.

Regards,
Charlie

2. Mushin- A concept of innocent simplicity

From time to time I get to meet exceptional teachers in Japan. Often what happens is I go to visit a friend and it turns out that one of the other guests is a highly regarded sensei.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet a man that works as an architect. Here is what Okamoto sensei had to say about his work.

“Charlie-san, our host said you have an interest in architecture. She suggested I tell you about the concepts that influence my work, and thus I’ve taken some time to think about this topic. In Japanese culture, and particularly in Japanese architecture mushin is an important concept to understand. In relationship to my work, the two ideas I hold in regard to the meaning of mushin are “innocence” and “free from obstructive thinking”. I strive to make all my work as simple as possible, without any visual, emotional, or physical obstructions.

What I’ve found over the years is, the simpler you make something, the more obvious the obstructions in your thinking appear. Rather than being bothered or constrained by the relationship between simplicity and obstruction, I find it very energizing. In the early stages of each new design, I look forward to discovering the weakness in my thinking. This leads me to understand I sometimes try to hide my weaknesses by obscuring them with complexity. The more simple the design, the less there is to hide behind. I must say that each time I discover this I am humbled. It’s only by being willing to own up to my many personal flaws, that I can little by little do away with the flaws in my designs.

In both my personal and professional life, I attempt to discard all extraneous actions and thought. I strive to be economical, ecological, and graceful, and follow a path of least resistance and optimal effect. I’ve found that I am most likely to embody this way of being prior to reflecting on what I’m doing. At such times, which still only happen rarely for me, I’m in a state of open focus relaxation, and my thoughts and actions occur simultaneously. Nothing comes between my thoughts and my actions, and neither is anything left over, or left undone. When I’m able to embody such a state I feel better both physically and emotionally, and I consider my work to be a reflection of my soul.

Sensei paused to make certain he still had my attention. “If you don’t mind,” he said, “let me please say one more thing, at the risk of filling the space with too many words.

Tao de Ching, the classic Chinese text of wisdom says the following,

A door and windows are cut out from the walls, to form a room. It’s the emptiness that the walls, floor, and ceiling encompass, that allows for the space to live in.
Thus what we gain is Something, yet it’s from the virtue of Nothing that this Something derives.


If you’ve ever been in a traditional Japanese room or Zen temple you’ll see that these spaces are filled with the same emptiness as described in the quote I’ve just read. Space is filled with “nothing”, as a way to allow for the infinite potential a room encompasses. This is an important part of the Japanese design aesthetic. The experience of “emptiness” is an invitation to empty one’s thinking mind, so that a new, innocent reality might appear.”

3. Seishindo Offer

If you would like to return to a simpler way of living, engaging in some coaching sessions might be just the thing to get you started in the right direction.

Beyond the “Eight Essential Questions” I will give you a series of mp3s that will help you regain your emotional balance, and reduce the stress you’ve been feeling.

Just email me at charlie@seishindo.org and we can engage in a “chemistry check” conversation to see if you would like to explore further.

Charlie

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