Immunity of Mind / Heart

April 4th, 2013 by admin

On May 10, 1994, Mr. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first black President of South Africa, four years after he had been released from 30 years in prison. Heads of state from all over the world gathered in Johannesburg to bless Mr. Mandela on that day for this historic event. Among them was an obscure white man sitting on the front row. His name was Mr. Blant, and he had been the warden at the prison during Mr. Madela’s incarceration. He came as honored guests by Mr. Mandela. Mr. Blant’s presence was very important for Mr. Mandela. It was a moment of a complete forgiveness and beyond. Mr. Mandel changed his 40 years of suffering in prison into a bright future. A strong immunity of mind/heart means not only can you forgive your enemies, but also you can change the enemies into your true friends.

The immune system has been given to our body by Nature It always defends and protects us from illness. Whenever a virus comes into our body, our immune system stands and fights against it. It is the wonderful gift that the universe has given to every person. If a person is healthy, his immunity works properly all the time. To maintain a strong immune system, we should eat nutritious foods with sufficient balance, exercise properly, and get adequate rest. The same is true of our mental health, or mind/heart. The big difference between the immunity of the body and mind/heart is that the immunity of mind/heart is not made by nature like of our body. Therefore, we have to train our mind/heart to achieve a certain mind state and mental condition to have a strong immunity of mind/heart.

Since the end of the last century, the field of immunology has made huge progress. The study on immunity has been divided into many sub-categories and many facts were discovered. And many treatments and medicines to enhance the immune system in our physical body have been introduced. Perhaps the movement to enhance our physical immunity is currently its peak. Nonetheless, more people are sick now ever and many people have grown disappointed in Western conventional medicine, and as a result, the holistic style of the Eastern approach has become very popular. More and more, the general public has become interested in and exposed to many kinds of Chinese medicine, diet, that yoga, Shiatsu, acupuncture, and the like. This is wonderful, but I wonder whether this is enough to save people from their diseases. If people didn’t have any mental stress, they wouldn’t so easily fall ill. A human body has enough natural healing power to protect against physical ailments, as long as one’s hair and nails grow. When the natural healing power of our mind and body work together, there is no such a things as an incurable disease. When the natural order of things is disturbed, abnormality occurs, the balance is lost, disease appears and even accidents take place. But these “seemingly” negative situations are warnings, to avoid the disaster and to turn the incident into something positive. When something abnormal happens, such as illness or accident, we should aim to learn the cause of the incident and make an effort to change it. We should think of such abnormalities as a sort of alarm and appreciate them, before things get out of hand. These moments of crises are the time to use our immunity of mind/heart. Unfortunately we cannot do this so easily, and instead, we complain and blame others for our affliction, and search for a solution only outside of ourselves, but real healing is only within oneself. If all illness is related to mental stress, the cause can not be illuminated or treated by caring only for the body. To achieve ultimate health, we should put more effort on the health of our minds. After meeting hundreds of suffering people, I came to the conclusion that I have to find the way to boost the immunity of our mind. Many bad negative things can happen in our lives, worries, sadness, irritation, problems over career, relationship, and finance, accidents, being hated, deceived, and getting hurt by bad relationships and so on. Such things happen in life and these problems become a source of “stress” and attack our mind. When the poison called stress is produced in our mind, we suffer, get depressed and fall ill when we do not have a strong immunity of mind against our stress. Our body also falls ill when our immune system of body fails, but mental stress is much more poisonous. Then what is immunity of the mind/heart? How can we enhance it?

In wrestling with this question, I recalled a wonderful Shinto doctrine called “Rokkon Shojo haraikotoba (mantra of six roots of cleansing mind/heart purification): Kokoro no kessai”.
Rokkon Shojo Harai Kotoba (mantra of six roots of cleansing mind/heart purification)
The doctrine is translated as follows

The eyes see many kinds of dirt, but the mind/heart does not see any.
The ears hear many kinds of dirt, but the mind/heart does not hear any.
The nose smells many kinds of dirt, but the mind/heart does not smell any.
The mouth talks many kinds of dirt, but the mind/heart does not talk any.
The body touches many kinds of dirt, but the mind/heart does not touch any.
The mind thinks many kinds of dirt, but the mind/heart does not think any.

Although this doctrine seems to suggest that our mind should not be captured by what we see or hear through our five senses and consciousness, I do not think this is the only interpretation. It does not mean that the mind is not influenced by what the senses experience, but rather it means that the mind sees dirt—that is, pain, bad circumstances–in a different way than the eyes do. This notion can be the medicine to build the immunity of the mind

If we see some filthy garbage, we instantly think it is dirty, put the top on it, look at the other direction or have a disgusted expression. We think this garbage is dirty because of what we know and because the left side of our brain, the side that is guided by knowledge, makes that judgment. When a two-year old infant, who does not see the garbage as dirty, he might brings it to his mouth. It is very troublesome for his mother! Because of the fact is he does not see bad in this garbage yet.

There is a fruit called the Durian in Southeast Asia. It looks like a monster avocado with a very strong bad odor and slimy texture inside. And the tourists hardly like to get near it. At high-class hotels, there are even signs that say “Bringing Durian in hotel is forbidden”. The fruit’s odor is strong enough to travel to all floors through hallways and elevator shafts. However, locals see the Durian the most precious fruit, full of nutrition. As I have a very curious nature, I once decided to go to a local market in Bangkok to find and eat a Durian myself. The first bite was awful but by the third bite, I was beginning to understand its fine taste and I eventually liked it. I felt pleasant heat and energy coming up in my body. I wanted to learn what others like about this fruit, and my positive attitude ended up changing the preference of my taste.

Here is also another my personal experience. At the lobby of a high-class hotel in India, I was robbed of $400, almost in front of my eyes. I ever remember that guy who was around looking like one of ordinary workers. As I called the manager of the hotel and scolded at him, my friends started complaining and demanding that the management to call the police. As their anger escalated, I realized the lobby had become filled with negative energy. Although we had been traveling with beautiful, clean and innocent minds, we had all become very angry. Then suddenly I changed my perception and was struck with the thought that I had given that $400 to the thief. I thought to myself, “I will not die even if I lose $400 but perhaps it is a huge amount for the guy who took it. He is a very poor person. Instead of feeling robbed, I would like to think that I gave this money for something good.” As soon as I thought that way, the anger instantly turned into pleasure. This might be a selfish idea, but I was very happy about being able to change the unfortunate anger into pleasure. When I said “It’s alright, I gave that money to him” to my colleagues, they were surprised, but the negative energy hanging around there soon disappeared. Although this might not be common sense or might even be selfish, I was glad to be saved, be able to avoid stress, and even be able to appreciate that seemingly unfortunate situation by changing the way I thought. I can not change the good and evil of a person because it is his problem. At that time, I could only change my state of mind..

Everything on Earth has 2 opposite sides. The Sun and Moon are contrary, but both have their own beauty. If we combine the Chinese characters for “sun” and “moon,” , it becomes the character for brightness. For the immunity of mind/heart, we have to train our mind to see not only the one side of things, but the other side also. I guess the immunity of the mind/heart might grow stronger if we look at not only the surface of things but both (or multiple) sides and make an everyday effort to look into the depth of things. The key is that this capacity can only come from within us. The famous prayer by St. Francis, “Give light to the place where the darkness is,” can mean that a person should “give light” to the darkness of his own mind in addition to doing so for others. And bringing light to our own minds can bring the peace to the world. There are so many hardships, but they are really a tiny thing. The immunity of mind/heart means we should see everything in a positive way. We should try to change the way we see hardships instead of trying not seeing it in our heart (?). This can lead the world to peace. The “Rokkon Shojo”(mantra of six roots of cleansing mind-purification) are the six roots to create the immunity of the mind. As a tree will grow big and bloom from these roots, I think the peace of the mind will come and the stress will not remain in our bodies and minds no matter what happens. Then, peace will prevail.

The immunity of mind /heart means we should see everything in a positive way. We should try to change the way we see it instead of trying not seeing it in our heart. This can lead the world to peace. The “Rokkon Shojo” (mantra of six roots of cleansing and mind-purification) are the six roots to create the immunity of the mind. As a tree will grow big and bloom from these roots, I think the peace of the mind will come and the stress will not remain in our bodies and minds no matter what happens. Then, peace will prevail.

The summer of 2004, I kindly let Japanese mother and her daughter stay in my daughter’s room. When I asked them to leave, they became violent towards me and the police became involved on October 23, 2004. I had to go to hospital several times. My act of giving and kindness turned into a serious problem. New York law says that if someone stays in a home more than 30 days, cannot force them to move out until court orders. All of my good friends were very concerned about my safety. For these reasons I hired a former policewoman to live in my home. Although I felt a little safer, I also felt myself becoming more anxious each day. For the first time in my life I was experiencing hatred. I learned something new. I called upon a Shinto priest named Mr. Gyuji, chairman Mr. Nakagawa and others for help and prayers. I even extended my morning meditation to tow hours in order to find what this situation could teach me. I soon came to realize that there are certain “sick” people in the world and they need to be prayed for. I began to feel calmer and my days become less turbulent. Although it was not easy to turn this negative situation into a positive one, I awaited peaceful calmly for a court decision. I have lived exactly the teaching of the serenity prayer. “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.” Because of this situation, I feel the immunity of my heart is even stronger.

- Gassho

Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura Hillyer