Here is a passage from an article that moved me a lot a few days ago.
“…the framework of the present-day society should be based on the vision of a future,
in which the brilliance of dignity rather than the brilliance of wealth is pursued…this signifies the spirit of compassion toward those who suffer and never neglecting to rescue them…”
This passage shows us the supreme way of living our lives and the highest level of one’s spiritual state.
The present-day Japan is blessed with material abundance on one hand, but on the other the society lacks in something spiritual. The awareness of this fact agonizes one
and drives one to the edge of a cliff in desperation.
Such a state of mind is apparent in the wide range of age groups of adults and children,
losing the balance between the body and the mind.
One of my patients said recently that she seriously wanted all the portable phones to entirely disappear from the whole world. She may have had some personal reasons for making the remark, but her utterance made me feel that she was spiritually exhausted.
We must realize, however, that the most seriously suffering people are capable of understanding and extending a helping hand to the people also suffering like themselves.
The only way to cure the spiritual wounds of the people living today’s society exists in expanding one’s mind, trusting and respecting each other as “dignified individual human beings.”
The above passage made me realize that the root of genuine satisfaction of the heart resides within such an expansive spiritual richness.
A few days ago, I went to the opera. It was “Othello” by Verdi, whose 200th birth anniversaryis being commemorated this year, based on one of William Shakespeare’s famous tragedies. The plot itself may be simple enough, but it made me think a lot in the depth of my mind.
As is well known, it is a story of a man with a villainous mind (Iago) attempting to ruin the life of his friend, a Moorish general in the Venetian army (Othello), the protagonist of the play, motivated by jealousy toward his colleague (Cassio) who was promoted ahead of him. The man who was promoted over him was not directly targeted. He was just used as a means to ruin the captain (Othello) for choosing Cassio for the promotion.
Cassio was made intoxicated and was forced to fight, and then incarcerated. In the meantime, Iago made a false charge that Othello’s wife, Desdemona, had committed adultery with Cassio. Othello believed the charge and strangled his wife to death for jealousy. Soon later the charge was found to be groundless, leading Othello to commit suicide.
Why did Othello believe the words of the villainous Iago? To be sure, the false charge may have been made in superbly tactical language. No matter how it is made, one is prone to lose the capacity to listen to the truth once entrapped. While loving his wife
more than anyone else, Othello was not able to trust in Desdemona’s fidelity.
This common human propensity must be carefully watched. The frequent hassle we get ourselves involved in is caused from this inability to trust people.
We often commit the mistake of misunderstanding the language spoken or behavior observed. This weakness of our mind not to be able to read between the lines or to see through lies worries me very much.
If Othello had been able to trust the pure heart and listen to the appealing words of his beloved wife, such a tragedy would not have taken place. The basic root of the catastrophe was this inability on his part, not that of the villainous Iago.
The cause of evil resides in our minds incapable of trusting the people around us. It means the inability to trust our own minds. “Othello” made me think of and believe in the innate goodness of human nature that exists in the depth of our soul.
Last week, I drove straight from my mentor’s clinic in Nara to Sasayama city via my mother’s cemetery. It was because I’d just heard about the death of Emiko, whom I met six year ago. She was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
When I heard about her physical problem first, I took her to my mentor’s clinic one time, and I’d since been treating her for five years based on the guidance given by my mentor.
Her doctor had told her to prepare for gastrostomy feeding process because she would soon be unable to eat through the mouth. The doctor kept advising her for four months advising her to consider the option.
Being a remarkable gourmet, she was offended by the words of the doctor and stopped seeing him, and began seeing a neighborhood internist once a month. When I met her, Emiko was not able to talk or even to move by herself at all. Her husband quit working and began taking care of her around the clock, seldom leaving her alone for more than an hour at a time.
The couple kept visiting this clinic, the husband pushing his wife’s wheelchair all the way from Sasayama to Nishinomiya. Emiko burst out crying only once when she met me. After that, she always kept a pleasant smile on her face each time she saw me, although she was not able to talk.
I was wondering what had happened to them when they stopped coming to our clinic about a year ago. During that time, as I found out later, their two sons got married, her mother-in-law had passed away, and her husband had a colorectal cancer operation.
Then I heard that Emiko passed away quite peacefully on the day right after she learned that her husband’s cancer had totally healed.
Despite her hard struggle with inability to talk and move, Emiko was entirely satisfied to meet her end happily as she knew her family was doing well. Her husband and I reminisced in tears about Emiko’s heroic life when we met after her death.
According to her husband, Emiko had actually relished her meals every day until she died at daybreak on March 17th. Indeed!
As I drove to Sasayma last week, the cherry blossoms there were in full bloom as if conveying Emiko’s friendly smile all around. She went at age 66. Dear Emiko, let us meet again somewhere sometime….
“I’ve been suffering from headaches for 20 years…,” “I’ve had a painful neck for 10 years…,” “Edema has bothered me for about 15 years or so….” These days, not a few patients visit our clinic with these complaints that have bothered them for quite some years.
These people have consulted medical doctors at various hospitals, and have had plenty of medicines prescribed, attempting very hard to overcome the problems they face. All of these people come to us after being told by their doctors that they would have to “live with the disorders for the rest of their lives.”
The fact that this kind of patients keep coming to acupuncture clinics such as ours seems to predict further expansion of the popularity of acupuncture treatments in the future, signifying the limitations of the Western medical treatment based on vivisectional research.
In Oriental medicine, on the other hand, while different schools employ different systems of treatment and seem to lack the uniformity seen in Western medicine, our biological existence is regarded as a holistic entity, which binds the mind and the body as an inseparable whole. Our patients are generally asked to answer some questions that are customarily asked by psychosomatic professionals. This is especially so in our Hokushin-kai system. In Western medical treatment, as I understand it, many medical professionals realize the existence of this body/mind relationship, which is targeted by scientific researches and studies, too.
Any sort of symptom that cannot be controlled by ptotracted treatment mentioned at the beginning of this writing is obviously caused by the dysfunctioning relations between the mind and the body. The effective harmony between the two is brought about by acupuncture, “The Messenger of Harmonies.”
A few years ago, I had an opportunity to ask my mentor the following question:
“I have some patients who are struggling under unbelievably difficult circumstances.
What can I do for them?” My mentor immediately responded: “Pray for them.” I recollect how much his words struck me as though I heard them only yesterday.
This has nothing to do in what religion one believes. Praying means “wishing.” Because one wishes for something, one prays.
Recently, I read an interesting book written by Dr. Kazuo Inoue, professor emeritus of Tsukuba University. It says that widespread studies are now being carried out about the relationship between praying and its therapeutic effects. More than 1,200 cases are said to have been covered by the research.
Dr. Benson of Harvard Medical School cites some diseases such as follows that were favorably affected by prayers: hypertension, heart disease, insomnia, infertility, cancer, AIDS, depression, and rheumatism. The researches are being conducted strictly on scientific bases. Prayers sent even from far distant places have worked, it is said.
What a surprise! It seems we have all entered an astounding epoch for humanity in the 21st century. Through such scientific researches, human beings are searching for the way of regaining their genuine warm-heartedness.
The question I would like to ask myself is, “Am I seriously praying for the happiness of others myself?”