A substantial part of my True Will is to live my life fully, mind-fully, and one way I exercise my mindfulness skills in daily life is by practicing little rites of gratitude. In particular, I express gratitude by bowing down and shaking hands.
When I go for a walk in the woods, I bow to the woods before I enter. By bowing to the woods, I thank the trees, the birds, the forester, the wind, and even the insects, those fucking microbeasts. I thank them for their being, their liveliness, the joy they give me, and the natural freedom they give to my soul. When I leave the woods, I bow again.
When I train jiu-jitsu, I bow to the mat before I step on it. By bowing to the mat, I thank my coach, my training partners, and the art’s tradition. I thank them for their presence, their wisdom, the knowledge they give me, and the discipline they give to my will. When I step off the mat, I bow again.
When I roll in jiu-jitsu, I slap and bump hands with my opponent before we fight. By doing that, I thank my training partner for his friendliness, his skills, his strength, the challenge he gives me, and the presence he gives to my mind. When we are done fighting, we hug.
When I meet someone new, I shake the person’s hand for mutual introduction. By shaking hands, I thank the person for their existence, their attention, the social value they give me, and the warmth they give to my heart. If the person is a beautiful woman, I may continue touching her.
Importantly, however, my gratefulness is not in the gesture; it is in my intention behind the gesture, my presence of mind, my moment-to-moment awareness. I want my rites not to be automatic, my bowing not to be an empty habit, my touch not to be a meaningless reflex. Rather, I want them to be acts of mindful appreciation. I want my gestural rites to be sincere and full of intent, because only the power of my conscious will can express true gratitude. Osu!
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