Renewal, New Years and Reiki with Reiki Women PodcastJanuary 13, 2024
What does ‘Play’ mean to you? with Urban Crow Oracle CardsJanuary 22, 2024
There is satisfaction and encouragement in finding continual layers of understanding and depth in your practice, especially in its basics. It’s like uncovering the gift of a massive billion-year-old rock resting beneath your house, giving you strength and support no matter what occurs around you.
Jōshin kokyū hō is one of these supportive rocks in the Japanese system of Reiki. As a foundation meditation practice, let’s see what this rock is comprised of.
The explicit meaning behind the kanji, as you can see below, is an integral part of this meditation’s makeup.
淨 jō : clear, pure
心 shin (kokoro): heart/mind, essence
呼吸 kokyū : to breathe
法 hō : method
We often translate this as ‘focussing the mind with the breath’ or more literally, a ‘breathing method to purify the heart/mind’.
To understand this practice better we need to examine the kanji for shin, 心, more commonly pronounced as kokoro in Japan, which has its roots in ancient Chinese pictographs.
“The earliest forms of this character, found in oracle bone inscriptions and bronze inscriptions, showcased a more detailed representation of the human heart. With its chambers and connecting vessels, it was a symbolic embodiment of life’s essence. Over the millennia, this pictograph underwent simplification, leading to the streamlined character we recognize today.” Ejable.com
Therefore the original Chinese oracle bone of shin looked like a heart. Yet, the heart does not function on its own, and for this reason, kokoro, or shin, symbolises the unity of the physical heart with the psychological mind and is often translated as heart/mind.
Kokoro transcends the simple Western dichotomy of heart and mind. This dual nature signifies the connection between the physical aspects of our being, like the heart’s beating rhythm and the psychological impacts of our thoughts and emotions. When we feel strong emotions like anger and grief, research states that our heart responds to our stress hormones with a matching rhythm sometimes known to cause severe or even fatal responses. Enjoyable emotions on the other hand lead to a more regular and stronger heartbeat. Understanding and working with this link between the heart and mind offers us opportunities for better health and well-being in our everyday lives.
The concept of kokoro extends beyond the physical and psychological. It’s viewed as the essence of our being and, intriguingly, the essence of the universe itself. This perspective suggests that our individual kokoro is part of a greater, universal heartbeat.
The practice of Jōshin kokyū hō, therefore, involves more than just meditation or breath control; it’s an exercise in purifying and focusing kokoro. It teaches the art of honing one’s concentration, offering clarity, self-awareness, calm and a heightened consciousness. As we learn to focus the mind through breath we recognise and experience the interconnectedness of all things. This practice encourages a sense of oneness, aligning the individual with the universal flow.
Jōshin kokyū hō is more than a Reiki practice; it’s a journey into the depths of kokoro, offering insights into the interconnectedness of our physical, psychological, and universal existence. It’s an invitation to experience and understand the vastness and purity of our heart-mind, aligning ourselves with the rhythmic beat of the universe.