In Japanese Kyudo archery, the practitioner is taught to treat each and every shot as though it is the only one he or she will ever shoot in life, and there will never be a second chance.
There are no short-cuts, no half-measures and no I-can-try-again. The principle is to fully appreciate the present, and to treat it with as much deliberation as possible.
Kyudo archery more than a sport. It is an exercise in disciplining mind and body, and a practice of tachi-zen (立禅 standing meditation).
Zen and the Moment
Zen embodies the concept of Ichi-go, ichi-e, roughly meaning “one life, one encounter”, a Japanese term describing the significance of appreciating every single experience as a unique, singular event.
Ichi-go, ichi-e is ever-present in all aspects of Japanese aesthetics, culture and daily life. It is used to describe the experience of enjoying the briefness of cherry blossoms in spring, in the serenity of a Japanese tea ceremony as well as Kyudo archery and other martial arts.
Practical Tips for Busy People
We don’t have to become a zen masters to find more peace in our busy lives.
We all feel rushed from time to time. Our lives can become so busy that we feel getting everything done is an impossible, endless task. Yet, regardless of how we feel, once the present moment goes by, it will return no more.
When you wish to take short break, do it with deliberation. Set your other problems aside, even if it is for a few minutes. Make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy sipping it as though you have all the time in the world, and nothing else matters.
Try doing only one thing at a time — and give it your full attention, as though it is the only thing that there is to be done.
A break in busy day, should be just that; a few minutes of calm without worrying about anything — with every moment of the break savored for its own sake.
It’s Easy to Miss the Pot of Gold
In our fast-paced lives, it is easy to pass things by. There is always the weekend, the next long holiday, or some other time we can relax and enjoy what life has to give (or so we hope!)
True as this could be, it is worthwhile to always remember that the proverbial pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is a myth.
The real gold is in savoring the beauty of the rainbow itself while it’s there, and before it will be gone — forever.