zanshin…listen deeply, just listen.

“…‘zanshin’, which I translate as learning without end. It means on-going attentiveness and connection. For this study I have chosen to translate it into English as ‘listening’…,”

~ R.Moon, The Power of Extraordinary Listening

listening. we are nothing but listening.

we listen to the colors of the setting sun, the roundness of a freshly picked apple, the rapid scouring of a rabbit across our lawn, the darkness of the night sky and the brightness of a camera’s flash. we hear the aroma of freshly blooming flowers, the fumes of a young man’s car, the perfume she wears on that first date, the tea which brings solace after a harsh meeting. we hear the fresh herbs that savour our favourite dish, the sweetness of a decadent dessert, the freshness of raw vegetables, the lightness of spring water. we listen to the ruffling of leaves in fall, the scuffing of a teenager’s hurried walk, the warmth of a singer’s voice, the dripping of a tap. we listen to the peaceful embrace of a child, the needing grasp of a spouse’s hand, the reconnection of a friend’s hug, the warming comfort of our childhood blanket.

all of our senses, awake and aware, are but listening. observing, perceiving, subtle, acute.
every moment, waking or not.

in listening, there is no response. no reaction. there is only listening. perception. observation.

of late, i’ve come to respect and accept that some senses are more accommodating, more comfortable with the simple act of listening. but all senses struggle with finding the harmony of simply being with whatever is being heard, simply being with full attention, with mindful attention.

There is no truth. There is only perception.

~ Gustave Flaubert

in some moments, sounds are simply sounds, and we do not jump, startle, or attach to the smashing of a cup, the slamming of a door, the honking on a quiet street, the silence during a tense meeting.

in some moments, light is simply light, and we do not glance harshly, attach, or look away from the tears of a grieving husband, the harshness of a stranger’s stare, the warmth of a colleague’s smile, the indifference of a neighbour’s regard.

in some moments, aromas are but molecules which nerve endings detect, and we do not melt with desire to the aroma of our favourite dessert, cringe to the smell of foul foods, or become irritated by the disruptive scent of someone’s most loved perfume.zanshin

some moments, so many moments, are but physical sensations triggered by infinite nerve endings permeating our body, to which we do not scratch the itch, we do not worry ourselves sick over the slight tightness in our chest, we do not become addicted to the melting feeling of another’s touch, or tighten in reaction to a sudden burst of cold wind.

all these sounds are but vibrations, vibrations of light and moving molecules of air, vibrations of sensory cells charging and discharging, vibrations of skin and nerves and muscles fibres and sinews. just vibrations, large and small, high and low, near and far.

infinite vibrations, near and far, bombard our senses every moment of our lives.

some vibrations are more difficult to hear and listen to: our own reaction, thoughts, feelings. these are mental sensations, mental secretions, mental vibrations, which, unlike all other sensations, originate within the mind. as such, perceiving, observing, listening deeply to these mental vibrations requires discipline, patience, detachment – a practice beyond simple will power – a practice rooted in silence and meditation, still and in movement. aikido is meditation in movement.

listen to these mental vibrations the same as you would a rainfall, leaves of a tree in a wind storm, or a setting sun. no thinking or doing can prevent such events from occurring. so observe. listen.

listen as the vibration arises. listen as the vibration departs.

zanshin is listening. zanshin is beyond listening. zanshin is pure perception and non-attachment in listening. zanshin is attention with pure presence, no past, no future, only the vibrations in the infinite space that is the present moment.

zanshin is detachment from all, but not by rejecting all. zanshin is acceptance of all. zanshin just is.

zanshin is inviting the ki of the universe to flow freely into all the senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, physical sensations, and mental sensations. zanshin is inviting ki to flow out of all senses. zanshin is taking up ki slack of the universe.

let ki flow through your senses.

listen to ki flow through your senses.


How do I experience what is before me and remain at peace…

~Ken McLeod

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