A Journey In Consciousness

Monday, February 23, 2009

The suffering in the Japanese Heart

After my 5 years of meditation retreat in India I began teaching in Japan in 1981 and stayed there for six months. The japanese culture being new to me, I did not understand many of the japanese ways and made many cultural mistakes. I tried my very best to learn and adjust to japanese culture.

One day again my friend corrected my gajin behavior when it occured to me to say to her the following, "I realize that I make many behavioral mistakes in my relating with japanese people. But do you realize that you are trying to teach me ways of behavior that japanese people are actually suffering from? They come to me to be liberated from the constraints of behavior you are trying to teach me."

This statement shocked my friend greatly. She stopped for a moment to contemplate what I had said and then said, "I think you may be right. It seems to be a dilemma."

Over the recent years we have been touring the world, we found that different cultures suffer from different types of heartache. The japanese heartache seems to be very much connected to ISOLATION.

During one of our tours in Japan we gave a workshop in Osaka. The room was filled with about 120 people. We decide to do something daring, for japanese standards.

We said: "Please turn to your neighbor and start to make eye contact. Maintain the eye contact." This turned out to be difficult for about 20 percent of the people that were there.
Then we continued "and now say to the other person I LOVE AND ACCEPT YOU JUST AS YOU ARE."

This would have been no big deal in California, but we were in Japan, and right here this was revolution, a communication mode unheard of. Again, about maybe one quarter of the group had difficulty with this and we said, "please continue to say this to each other, don't worry if you do not exactly feel this, just say it and let us see what happens....

After another 5 minutes of this, the quality in the room had dramatically shifted. We introduced Kokoro into the room - the Spirit of the Heart. Love was in the air.

That session was a huge success. An elderly woman came up to me afterwards and hugged and hugged us, she was ready to adopt us and take us home.

We broke through some cultural conditions that exist in Japan as a daily suffering there, the suffering of isolation and not being able to say what is on one's heart.


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