When Taking Your Time is The Best Thing You Can Do

A lesson from yamabushi (mountain ascetic) training

During yamabushi training, we are often awoken by the sound of the conch. Often in the middle of the night, and often very abruptly.

The first few times it happens, you instinctively put your robes on as soon as you wake up through fear of not being ready.

But this is exactly what you shouldn’t do. The master even reminds you of this before you go to sleep.

‘On the first conch, we wake. On the second conch, we put on our robes. On the third conch…

However short, the time between the first and second conches is a grace period. In a way, it’s your time of day to get your bearings, to have a little breather.

But if you’re nervous about what lies ahead, and for first-timers this is understandable, you skip right ahead to the next part, completely missing your chance for a break.

With experience comes confidence. The confidence to put on your robes after the second conch. Or in other words, the confidence to deal with things, the confidence to back yourself, when things happen.

Not prematurely.

Too often we expect the worse, and we prepare for it too. But the worse hasn’t happened yet, and it may never happen.

Best to have the confidence in yourself to deal with it if and when it arises.

In the meantime, enjoy that break.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


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