You’re Already Dying!


Posted by admin | Posted in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Mental | Posted on 20-11-2009

Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo.

“Each moment has the potential for us to reach enlightenment.”

In our dojo—and in every Bujinkan dojo worldwide—every class starts with these words.   Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo.

What does that mean?

(As I’m finding out, Japanese is a very contextual language.  Any word or set of words in Japanese can have completely different meanings, depending on the context.  But as I’m also learning, such “duality” also contributes to the “mystical” nature of the language—more than one meaning can be intended with a single statement.  With a single statement, not only can the “how” be communicated, but also the “why.”)

The first interpretation I was given for “Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo” was “each moment has the potential for us to reach enlightenment.”  Depending on who you ask, the words may differ, but the context is usually the same.

Beyond that simple translation, I wasn’t given much more instruction.  Sure, I’ve had discussions with my teachers on it, but it is usually left to me to find out.  As it should be.  Each one of us needs to take the concept, and make it our own, something that makes sense to each of us.

Initially, I used the statement to add focus to my life.  I interpreted it as becoming aware of what I was doing each and every moment, realizing that what I was doing at that specific moment was a choice that I had made, and ensuring that all my attention was focused on what it was that I was doing.  After all, I made the choice.  Why would I half-ass it?

Such an interpretation has helped me out immensely, and I still continue to see it that way.  But as with any concept, it’s meaning evolves as I evolve.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to watch Warren Miller’s new film “Dynasty.”  (Warren Miller produces a film about skiing—and sometimes similar sports—each year.)  I had seen some of the other Warren Miller films before, and I find them all to be quite inspiring, pushing me to be become a better skier by showing me what is possible.

In “Dynasty,” there was a particular segment that caught my attention.  This segment was about “disabled” athletes and how they had overcome their disabilities in order to do what they loved.  Ski!

Disable SkierThese guys were incredible!  What they can do on a slope was breathtaking.  However, as amazing as these athletes were, it was within one particular scene where it struck me.  In this scene, painted across the back of the seat of one of the “rigs” these athletes use, were the words “DIE LIVING.”

Die living?

From the moment we are born, we are already dying.  In geologic time, one could argue that we’re already dead.  Sure, our bodies go through several changes throughout our lifetimes, but the result is invariable.  We die.  Most of us, at some point or another, will imagine ourselves when we are in our golden years.  However, not only are we not guaranteed those golden years, we are not even guaranteed tomorrow!  Death reaches us all.  “Live dying” is more accurate.

How many of us feel caught in the same morose routine day in and day out, trudging along in this world full of absurdity?  Are we happy at work?  Are we happy in the city we live in?  The state?  The country?  Are we happy with our friends?  Our health?  Our dogs?  Our neighbors?  Are our dreams only dreams?  What if we died tomorrow?

We are dying.  Might as well be.  We have so little joy in our lives, that we latch on to every little bit of happiness so tightly that we cause it to fall apart.

Die living?

Is it that simple?  Can we just turn the words around and change our outlook?

Why not?  Why am I unhappy with work?  With dogs?  With friends?  Why am I not actively pursuing my dreams?  If my state of mind is a choice, why am I not choosing to be fantastic not only every day, but every single moment?

I don’t want to live my life in such a sterile environment that doesn’t have room for risk.  Risk is where the fun is at!  I want to enjoy my life!  I want to skid into death at 100 miles an hour, with body worn out from all my adventures, yelling “what a ride!”

Anything short of that, then I might as well be dead already.

I have a choice then:  “Live dying” or “die living.”

Guess which one I’m making.  Right now.

Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo.