Thursday, November 26, 2009


Kai: meeting. One of the hassetsu (eight steps) of kyudo. The bow is fully drawn; kai is, according to one author, the "spiritual draw" of the bow, the moment at which we "pass the baton to God" and prepare for the mystical moment of the release, when the arrow leaves the bow and flies towards the target.

Yesterday, I got a wonderfully elegant and eloquent note from a friend who also has MS, and he described how he realized that he had realized that there was no cure, no valid treatment, no known cause, and an unpredictable course, and after a very long struggle with a lot of negative emotions he came to the realization that the only thing to do was to live fully. Now. Today. And it strengthened his resolve to live to the fullest and work on himself, without delay. Now. Today.

He had come to his moment of kai. And, then, experienced the mystery that is the release.

And now, every day, he "shoots again." (A very beautiful bit of kyudo practice and philosophy, I'm sure I've mentioned this before... Hit the target? OK. Shoot again. Missed the target? OK. Shoot again.)

In my own kyudo practice, at one point I realized that I was afraid of the bow and the arrow. I was always holding it away from myself, rather than bringing myself to it and meeting it. (Meeting? Hm...) Now I'm less afraid of it, I'm willing to actually bring the arrow up to my face where it's supposed to rest before it's released... but I have to be truthful, I think I'm still giving that moment lip service. I think I'm still not willing to bring myself fully to the bow, to give myself fully to the bow: to truly, fully, and completely, meet it.

Thus it is with me and MS. I have yet to really, truthfully come to kai. To bring myself to the arrow, to the bow, and fully give myself to the truth.

The bow and the arrow always tell you the truth about yourself.

I am so missing the target right now... Well then, OK. Shoot again.

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