Hei Jo Shin 平常心
(Ordinary, Common, Everyday Mind or Presence of mind)
Heijoshin (or peace of mind) is the by-product of a person’s complete inner being. It can only be achieved by refining the whole inner essence and this can only be accomplished if one’s intellect, emotions, and character are developed in balance. Heijoshin literally translated means “constant stable spirit”. Such a translation hardly does it justice. To understand the full nature of heijoshin one has to look to the nuances of the Japanese language. Heijoshin is comprised of three kanji (ideograms):
I) Hei - peaceful, calm, steady
ii) Jo - always, constant, continually
iii) Shin - translates as ‘heart’ or the Whole inner essence of the individual
Combining the kanji heijoshin is “the whole inner being of person being continually at peace”. One has peace of mind. Heijoshin is best understood not as a single attribute but as a culmination of several character traits. As mentioned above, to achieve heijoshin requires a high degree of mental development in three key areas: intellect, emotions, and integrity (or character).
Why is heijoshin important to us as martial artists? Although our bodies may give way to time and age, we can continue to practice and develop our character and mental faculties. Heijoshin is an unlimited quality. As martial artists, and in life, there is always room for more knowledge, greater compassion, stronger love, and a higher level of character development.
To achieve heijoshin as a martial artist requires a lifestyle of discipline, effort, sacrifice and commitment. Such a commitment to developing excellence of character is what sets the martial artist apart from most people in a confused and unhappy society. As we discover, the true nature of martial arts training leads us to a fuller understanding of the nature of life itself. With this understanding comes peace of mind and true and lasting happiness.
Updated: Friday, 10 September 2010