Yamabushi advice: Dealing in situations

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Although I know I am in an unusual situation, a Kiwi Yamabushi living in rural Japan, I really don't think I am unusual. Rather, I think it's the situation I find myself in that is the unusual thing. I was listening to Master Hoshino talk yesterday, and he said that he doesn't actively go after the situations he finds himself in, it's just that the situations happen to him. He never set about having a TV show made about him, and he even denied requests for a book to be written about him, which he now has three. In fact, the first book that I am currently translating was originally denied on the basis that Yamabushi lessons are passed on by word of mouth, so it would be unnatural to have them written down, so his first book is basically just a collection of his spoken thoughts written down (to say nothing of this blog).

It's interesting to think about situations happening to you in this way, and I think this is just life. These examples just happen to be 'good' or I guess favourable things that happen, and there also happen to be other undesirable things that happen to you. These things then combine to create unique situations that we find ourselves in. In my opinion, whether things are favourable or not really just depends on your outlook. Everything is inherently favourable if you let it be, even 'bad' experiences have great lessons to be learned. 'Unfavourable' experiences just might not be fun in the moment, but time and perspective will allow you to see the benefits of having experienced them, we just may not be able to see them yet. Living through COVID is but one of these situations, I'm sure of it. Although war is definitely best avoided, it's hard to deny that people were made all the stronger having experienced it. We will all be stronger having experienced COVID, it's how you deal with it in the moment that matters.

Another personal example I have is my experience studying abroad in Okayama in 2008. At the time, I was very lonely, only really having one true friend who I am grateful to still be in contact with. Once I got back to NZ, I felt that I had grown so much over that short 6 month period. Not only that, I knew that even with an 'unfavourable' experience in Japan, that I could live there if I felt like it. My dream to live there that started 3 years prior on a school trip hadn't changed, and it hasn't changed since either. Looking back on what at the time was a painful experience, I still wouldn't give it up, and I am extremely grateful to even be given the chance to have the experience and to have something to reflect on and learn from.

So, I think it helps to think of situations as out of your control sometimes, or maybe always. I know this may have a negative impact on goal-setting, as at the same time I believe visualising things happening can be a powerful motivator for doing great things, but this situational awareness I see more as a way of dealing with the unexpected, favourable or not.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


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