• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha
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Give Up Being Safe

Safety Is An Illusion



Today’s post is somewhat different than my usual ramblings on Shiatsu and Mind-Body-Spirit healing because it includes an oath that I wrote a month or so ago. The oath honors the tradition of Hara as it has been cultivated in the Eastern healing and martial arts.

You might be wondering what Giving Up Being Safe has to do with the philosophy of Hara?

To have Hara translates into the ability to get things done; to not shy away from the difficult and to overcome setbacks. These are noble qualities that show strength of will. The challenge here is when one is operating purely on personal power in pursuit of a goal because it is common to force our will onto the environment and onto other people. It is so easy to fall under the spell of our attachment to an expectation, which then fosters the need to control others for our own assurance and safety. To avert this end requires personal standards for accountability combined with integrity.

However, one can access the will of the Spirit-Mind, which comes from an ego-free understanding and use of Hara. In this context Hara is a thought in action, manifest, and it is connected with all that is, as all things are a manifestation of the Tao. One realizes that the will of the Spirit-Mind integrates with the will of others to assure the best path for us. Herein there is no need to cling to safety, which is only an illusion.

In Shiatsu, we are taught how to use our Hara to access the total power of our whole body while giving a healing session. We are also taught that a person with a healthy Hara acknowledges that it is in facing challenges and trying new things that we develop self-esteem and confidence.

For me the greatest aspiration of a developed Hara is for a level of acuity where you are always calm and sensitive to the developments around you. Engagement at this level is when one can “see what cannot be seen,” and responds in accord with the Spirit-Mind to coming events.

I find it fascinating that the final element of training for indigenous healers and shamans in some parts of the world is to personally face death. This spiritual calling is survived by very few since the path is meant to challenge their faith and to compromise their integrity.

Initiates from some of the older traditions will be taken to a cave, temple or remote area where danger exists in the form of venomous cobras, scorpions or other deadly threats. Sitting still in meditation for an extended period while surrounded by imminent danger crawling, or, slithering over your defenseless body is not an easy test to pass.

Focus and compassion and the willingness to renounce safety are the qualities that keep these people alive and sane. Those who pass this deadly challenge become praised as mystics carrying with them the knowledge of death and rebirth and often return bringing to their tribes and communities new approaches to harmony and peace.

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I wrote the oath below after I meditated on renewing the emotional and spiritual energies associated with my navel and with my solar plexus. Both of which are anatomically housed within the physical Hara.

Perhaps you may feel inspired to awaken the will of your Spirit-Mind with this simple oath:

In honoring the fact that the world is not safe, I willingly give up my need for safety and assurance.

I have to let go of wanting everything known ahead of time in order to overcome criticism, misunderstanding, rejection, and the possibility of failure in my future.

While it is important for survival, I realize that there is no challenge to actualizing my dreams if everything I do is already removed from any real risk. It is okay for a child to cling to safety and security, powerlessly needing the world to be shaped for them. However integrity challenges me to mature, accept responsibility, and carve the shape of my future.

My personal power increases through meeting challenges and by resolving them with integrity. I am willing to take risks, be courageous, venture into the unknown, and release the familiar in order to expand upward and outward in my life’s story.

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Key Concepts & Theories Used In Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork that works to balance the energy of the Body and Mind. To this end, Shiatsu makes use of the body’s natural energy.

The basic concepts and theories used in Shiatsu are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They include (but are not limited to) :

Ki Energy

Yin & Yang

Meridians

5-Elements

Imagine Your Body As Land--The Meridians Are Your Body's Main Highways

Imagine Your Body As Land--The Meridians Are Your Body's Main Highways

The aim of a session is to encourage ki to flow harmoniously throughout the body’s energy pathways, known as meridians. The meridians are associated with aspects of the Body and Mind, such as movement and thought.

The meridians are divided into pairs which are yin and yang. And are further subdivided according to one of the five-elemental transformations (Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire).

Modern practitioners of Shiatsu continue to deepen their skills in two ways:

– by developing greater sensitivity to the subtle energy, which flows throughout the body and concentrates in the meridians;

– and by using the traditional theories of Chinese Medicine to accurately read the body and assess its condition for treatment.

 Despite its roots in TCM, the general approach and techniques of shiatsu reflects the cultural background of Japan by emphasizing the importance of being connected with and moving from your hara, and the philosophy of modern shiatsu reflects the philosophy of Zen Buddhism with its emphasis on self-understanding and awareness.

For the practitioner, focus and awareness comes from using hara, which is the body’s center of gravity. This is located in the belly. By using your hara you are using the total power of your whole body.

Using your hara requires you to originate all of your movements from your belly area. To be more specific–to move from a point just below the navel which is your body’s central pivot point. This point is called tanden (or dantian in Chinese).

The Japanese term HARA means to be focused in the vital center of self.

The Japanese term HARA means to be focused in the vital center of self.

The concept of hara, anatomically refers to the area below your ribs and your sternum all the way to just above your pubic bone. This part of your body contains many of the vital organs. Japanese culture believes the hara to be the seat of the soul, where self-consciousness is anchored.

From a pathological perspective, people hold emotional stress in their abdomen, affecting digestion and causing other physical problems.

In the west, the shiatsu practitioner receives many benefits, both physically and psychologically, by moving from their hara and by connecting harmoniously with the client.

These same benefits may be experienced by the home practitioner who uses shiatsu exercises and methods as home remedies for prevention of illnesses. Home application of shiatsu techniques can be very effective, however proper assessment of the state of ki and the meridians is essential for professional results.