Afterward more practice, and another time in front of Dai-Sensei, I was helped with my standing form and orientation to the shooting line, which I was blowing, yet Dai-Sensei was patient and had someone help me. I felt better on my next to last shot when I got a dead center bulls eye and heard a couple of exclamations from behind me… yeah baby, Yatta!Kyudo is closely related to Zen. Both may require long, hard practice. By being able to observe yourself, in a self-referal way, and then letting go, you start making progress. Having a great teacher is of course helpful. I like how the narrative of the Nihon Chronicles 2010 takes the reader deep into Nippon mindfulness country, a place where old people do Tai Chi at 6:00 AM in some Osaka park, and where a "foreigner" is no longer that, just a pupil, a state of consciousness, absorbing and then doing.
Every day should be like this.
More Japanese archery blogging with videos over at Kyudo - the road less travelled
In Herrigel’s book The Method of Zen, he tells a tale of eating dinner in a restaurant with Japanese colleagues. As one friend is telling a story, an earthquake shakes the entire building. The hotel creaks and sways, sending objects to the floor. While many rush to evacuate the hotel, his friend sits calmly. Herrigel fears for his life but is mesmerized by the calm nature of the friend. He sits back down at the table. As the commotion subsides, the friend continues his story at the exact point he left off from, as if nothing had happened. This story is a good example of heijoshin. Simply put, heijoshin, can be described as the calm, everyday mind. The Kyohon states that “…at full draw you must wipe away negativity like doubt, anxiety, faintheartedness, fear, and self-depreciation…”.
From Reflections of the Mind - A study in Progress
Why do we get nervous and worried? I can only suppose that we still are animals at heart. We have that instinct, to feel fear. How we deal with it - be it concerns about failure, loss, death - is up to our training. Not just what our parents or friends told us, or what formal schooling taught us. Also - what else did we aquire as we grew up, went on travels and journeys, got lost and found our footing again. Something beyond what others did.
How do we reach that calm state of mind, not easily shaken or stirred by events. Humans can achieve that, by observing nature and studying animals, by refining our cultural and spiritual practices, and not straying too far away from the advice we get. For others it comes from religious practice, prayer, or reading (and writing - even blogging!) or daily meditation. And - always remembering to say "thank you."