Compass of the Times 165

Compass of the Times 165

To Prepare

Keiko Takahashi

To Mark a Turning Point

December is the month that concludes the year. I expect that your days are busy. “Time flies like an arrow.” Many of you will agree that time passes by very fast. This sentiment may be even stronger for those who have not achieved the theme or goal they had chosen as this year’s task, and those who started a new challenge but have not obtained sufficient results toward this. If you feel this way it is even more important that, as the year draws to an end, you reflect upon the passing of this year and exert your energy on what can be done now.

If we can all conclude this year as a preparation for the new year that is to come, it will become a significant step for us. It is indeed wasteful if we go through our life with no keen sense of awareness. If we can mark a turning point and make efforts to be conscious of it, our life will be even more fulfilled.

Particularly, the period during the New Year holidays can be a turning point when anyone can refresh their mind and heart. From ancient times, the Japanese welcomed this period as a special occasion. It is a turning point that comes around once a year. If so, we should make the best preparation we can for the beginning of a new time, toward this turning point, as we summarize our past progress by working on hindsight wisdom*1.

What Is the Best Preparation?

In some cases, we can clearly distinguish a time of preparation and a time of decision, or a period of process and its outcome. We can tell that there is a time of preparation, and there is a decision. There is a process, and there is an outcome. However, most of the time, we do not know when such decisive moments come. It might come today or it might be tomorrow. It might come a month later, or even a year later.

If things are unpredictable in this way, what does preparation mean? Is it right to make a distinction between process and outcome; the preparation period and the decisive moment?

For example, the game go or shogi is often used as a metaphor for life. In the accumulation of each of the moves, the winner of the game is determined. However, we cannot predict when the game ends. This is the same as many things in which the boundary between process and outcome, preparation time and decisive moment is not clear.

Nevertheless, it is certain that each move determines the outcome of the game. In other words, it is most ideal that each move be the best move, both during the time of preparation, as well as the decisive moment.

What Kind of Future Can We Hope for, When We Accumulate Our best moves?

In go or shogi, the most desirable move for the game is called the best move. It means the best possible move at the certain stage of a game, or at a moment when considering every possible future direction of the game.

It is most desirable for us to accumulate our best moves for whatever goal we have, whether it be the time of preparation or the decisive moment.

The best move refers to the following term in the Study of the Soul: “For everything, there is at least one best possible path.” The best move exists in any situation. What we seek is the way of living in which we search for the best move and continue to apply that best move.

Things are often accompanied by an unpredicted situation. There are times when major hurdles and trials appear in front of us. There are also times when the future we envisioned collapses.

Precisely at such times, I want you to recall the concept of the best move. By accumulating the best moves, we can foresee any future ahead of us. No matter what kind of crisis we encounter, if we can continue our best move, we can overcome it and continue our path without interruption.

This should be a persistent mindset for those who live by the Study of the Soul.


*1 Hindsight Wisdom

How were the results?
When implementing a task, were you continually conscious of your aspiration (purpose) that you initially confirmed?
Were you not lax in examining reality in greater detail?
Above all else, did you try to guide the situation to accord with your aspirations by changing yourself first, without attempting to merely change the situation in and of itself?

The essence of the hindsight wisdom is to bear in mind that the moment that you reach “completion of task” simultaneously marks the beginning of the next stage. It is a process through which you will be able to learn more from failures or setbacks that you usually would not want to reflect upon.”
(excerpted from pages 228-229, of “Prayer for Hindsight Wisdom,” The Path of Prayer, Revised Edition)

*2 The Study of the Soul

It is the perspective that grasps our lives from the dimension of the soul. It also refers to the system of the truth, the Divine Truth, that permeates every aspect of the human soul and the world. As opposed to “the study of phenomena” that is directed at the tangible world, the Study of the Soul is an investigation of all things, including the formless and intangible world.
(excerpted and summarized from page 3 of The Reason Why You Were Born as You)