pocoapocowithsmile

Ma and Ki 間と気

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I live in Canada. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn something in Japanese, I try hard to attend.

It was 2-3 years ago. Sadly I don’t remember what the title of the event was, or who the instructor was, but I went to an interesting presentation that made me think.

The talk was about ‘Ma’(間). ‘Ma’ is a tricky Japanese word, hard to translate exactly right into English. It sort of means ‘empty space’ or ‘space of nothingness’. The lecturer drew three circles like below to explain why ‘Ma’ is important.

She said, the characters for ‘Human being’ are 人間, ‘Time’ are 時間, and ‘Space’ are 空間. You can see that there is a common character in these three words. That is 間 which can be read ‘Ma’. Human being, time, and space are the key factors connected by empty space ‘Ma’. She said, when ‘Ma’ from these three factors meet, there is an encounter, and encounter brings opportunity. For example, when you encounter someone, the two people both have to be in an open mindset. If you are preoccupied with some intense thoughts, you might not notice the other person. And, the two persons have to be at the right place at the right time. When you are there a few minutes later or earlier, you might not meet that person. If two persons were separate from each other by a few meters, they might not encounter. So human beings, time, and space have to be just right for the encounter to happen and to bring opportunities.

So why is Ma so important?

Ma, according to this instructor is a space where there is no obstruction. it is important because that is where ‘Ki’ flows. Ki is a Japanese word for energy or Qi in Chinese. When Ma is stuffed, lost, stuck, or too full, Ki can not flow smoothly. Clear space is necessary because that is where energy flows. If energy cannot flow, there would be no encounter, thus no opportunity.

Hmm hmm…. the instructor continued….so try to have clear space in your heart and let your energy flow, try to have flexibility in your schedule so you are not tied down to minutes and seconds, and try to get rid of unnecessary unwanted stuff from your home and make a clean open space, so your energy can flow….. my brain stopped at that moment.

I raised my hand and asked her. “What if I don’t have anything I can get rid of? I have tons of unnecessary things or things I don’t particularly love, but they were passed down from our parents and they bring so many memories…. I can not get rid of them.”

Then this cool woman instructor said, “well, then you do Ha Hu Ki!” “What? I’ve never heard of such a word!” She smiled and said, “Ha is short for Haku (sweep), Hu is short for Huku (wipe), and Ki is short for Kiyomeru (purify). This is a Japanese ancient wisdom.”

Wow…I see…really?…. I came back home with so much reflection. I tried. I swept and wiped my stuff-filled house. I have to say….I was truly surprised how different I felt. I could feel that the energy inside the house has shifted. She was right! Sweeping and wiping did purify the house! Positive energy is now flowing in the house and I was so happy.

So ever since, I try every morning, sweep and wipe, whispering the word to myself “Ha Hu Ki” over and over.

外国に住んでいると、日本語で学ぶことが懐かしくて講習の機会があるごとに、何とか都合をつけて行けるようにしようとがんばってしまう。

2ー3年前に聴いた講習、何とも悲しいことに何の講習だったのか講師は誰だったのか全く覚えてないんだけど、変に共感して大いに反省したことだけ覚えている。

それは『間(ま)』についてだった。『間』がいかに大切かということをこんな図を描いて説明してくれた。

人間という言葉は人と間と書く。時間という言葉は時と間と書く。そして空間という言葉は空と間と書く。この三つの間が重なり合ったところに『出会い』が生まれる。人間が違ってもあダメ、時が遅すぎても早すぎてもダメ、場所が少しでもずれていてもこの『出会い』は訪れない。そして『出会い』が『機会』を呼んでくれる…

ではこの『間』って何だろう。なぜ『間』が大切なんだろう。この講師によると『間』とは『何もないところ』だそうだそうだ。『間』のおかげで『気』が流れるのだそうだ。『間』が詰まってたり失くなってたり満杯だったりすると『気』が流れない。そうするとせっかくの『出会い』も『機会』も訪れなくなる。

フムフム…心にゆとりを作って『気』が流れるようにする。時にもゆとりを持って1分1秒に縛られないようにする。いらないものを捨てて『気』が流れる空間を作る…とまで聴いて、ハタッと気がついた。そこで質問。

「いらないものがなければどうするのですか?使わないものや好みでないものはたくさんあるけど、親や大事な人からいただいたり思い出が詰まっていたりしてとても捨てられなかったら…」

すると講師の先生は涼しい顔で、「それならば『ハフキ』ですよ」とおっしゃった。「ハフキ?」と私が怪訝な顔をして聞き返すと、「そう、『掃いて(ハ)拭いて(フ)清める(キ)』これは日本古来からの知恵ですよ」と返ってきた。

なるほど〜と感心して家に帰り、早速掃いて拭いてみると、本当に家の中の気が変わったような気がした。掃いて拭いたことで家の中が清められたんだと思った。ポジティブなエネルギーが流れるようになった気がして嬉しくなった。

それからはできるだけ毎朝、頭の中で「ハフキ、ハフキ」と唱えながら掃いて拭いて清めることに努めている。

Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

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