Compass of the Times 195

Compass of the Times 195

Begin with Our Minds

Keiko Takahashi

An Era of Calling from COVID-19

The declaration of emergency caused by COVID-19 has changed our lives significantly. There have been restrictions on our activities, forcing us to refrain from going out for nonessential purposes and traveling across prefectural borders. Such restrictions have also been applied to economic activities that support society as a whole, such as corporate activities and small store operations. The scenery of the deserted town on weekends shows us something completely different from before, and the Golden Week1 in May changed into a quiet week, which was different from previous years.

The coronavirus, which seemed to overturn all conventional medical knowledge, affected all humankind, and the impact of the virus was not limited to just changes in our lifestyles.

COVID-19 has posed an enormous calling to humanity. There are especially many callings around production and economic activities—activities that have made human beings as humans, and these callings are issues that we must face seriously. Some reports described a significant improvement in the environmental pollution in the last few months due to the worldwide restrictions on corporate and economic activities. The quality of air and seawater has improved, and a cleaner environment has emerged, better than one we have seen in recent years.

The number of worldwide deaths due to environmental pollution is said to reach one million every year. According to some reports, the improvements in the past few months have resulted in a significant reduction in those deaths in China alone, saving about 90,000 lives, and will save more lives in the future.

What a paradoxical phenomenon it is! The coronavirus that has given human society a deadly blow is also a calling for us to fundamentally reexamine our human activities.

An Invitation to the Inner Life

In these days of imposed abstinence from travel due to the spread of COVID-19, we have inevitably been forced to stay home longer. We must spend most of the day at home and refrain from going out even on holidays. Those of you who love the outdoors or who like to meet and interact with many people may have experienced frustrating and dull days.

On the other hand, it can be said that we are being led to rotating our inner cycle more than ever.

Modern society emphasizes the outer cycle that produces various crystallizations in the outer world. We tend to value the numbers, achievements, and results that appear outside, and we do not consider the inner processes, causes, motives, and objectives behind them to be of the same significance. However, human activities that continue to expand outward can only be balanced when there are activities also going inward. It is no exaggeration to say that the quality of the outer cycle that produces crystallization is determined by the inner cycle.

I call the way of life that supports the inner cycle the inner life. It is a way of life that focuses our energy on the workings of our own minds, rather than on the external stimuli. We face our minds and feel the presence of our minds. We look back on how our minds perceive things, re-cultivate our feelings and thoughts, and discover our new aspirations and visions. By focusing on the feelings and thoughts that arise in our minds, we develop and evolve them, and further, we create a new order in them. One of the ways to do this is to accept the reality that emerges as a result of our minds’ activities and connect it back again to the dimension of the feelings and thoughts of our minds.

We can also continue to turn our inner cycle while reading or writing about changes in our feelings and thoughts. Perhaps, there has never been an occasion in the past in which we have been given so much quiet time to face ourselves. This process is nothing but the re-cultivation of the life that begins with our minds.

“One Day One Sheet” Special Seminar to Know Oneself

A seminar is currently being held that invites you to understand such an inner life entitled “One Day One Sheet, Special Seminar to Know Oneself.”

With my book, The Power to Know Oneself as the main textbook, you will be led through this seminar by a guidebook especially created for this seminar. It aims to nurture your mind by observing how your mind feels, moves, and works by taking time to face yourself every day, little by little. Furthermore, it enables you to discover new aspirations and a purpose in life through this practice. I would like you to look at how it is organized in the special features section on the members’ site on the GLA website.


Editor’s Note

1. Golden Week

Golden Week is a national holiday that lasts about one week from the end of April to the beginning of May each year.