A student in Seattle gave me a calendar for 2014 with calligraphy from a Zen Monk and a message about Kaikatsu Jizai. Another student gave me the gift of a question about the heart (in the metaphorical sense).
The phrases on my new calendar concerning Kaikatsu Jizai that ring out to me are:
“ all-embracing, expansive state of mind – limitless, wide-open, magnanimous”
“flexible and resilient”
“this mind [i.e. kaikatsu jizai] is who we all truly are from the origin.”
That last phrase, I need to reword as “this self is who we all truly are from the origin.” (Some people know “mind” must include “body” – and when either word appears alone it still evokes a mind/body split.)
What challenges me about some of the other text written on the calendar are phrases about this state of self meaning that you are “unshaken” by various stimuli of life. This is probably occupational – since I question any notion of the Alexander Technique that seems to say “don’t react” to the stimuli of life, anything that talks about an unflappable self causes me to concern. So many times I have encountered people who are making themselves wrong for their reactions! And I teach performers a lot – and their job is to react, to be shaken by, stimuli!
I have always thought that learning the Alexander Technique has given me a choice about how to receive and respond to the stimuli of life. I want to respond!
Perhaps “unshaken” in the Zen sense does not necessarily mean unaffected. I looked “kaikatsu” up in an online Japanese/English dictionary and its first definition is cheerful, lively, lighthearted; the second is openminded. A lively self moves with what is happening in the present moment – perhaps the choice to move with (rather than resist) the stimuli is what the idea of being “unshaken” means. That is really what we are all doing all the time – we are moving with our rapidly moving planet hurtling through space – but we look “un-hurtled.”
I like the world evoked by my evolving knowledge of “ Kaikatsu” – a world combining cheerfulness and liveliness with flexibility and magnanimity. Magnanimity - generosity of spirit - names the values of the heart as part of this state of being – the wholeness that is our birthright.
While I talk about the head/spine relationship all the time, it is the values of the heart that fuel me everyday. It is good to be reminded of that as the New Year begins. Thank you to my students for these gifts! And, with a grateful heart for all of the gifts of the past year, and looking forward to this year's gifts, I am Wishing us all a Happy "kaikatsu" New Year!