In our modern age, all of us are connected with everyone else by some kind of communication device such as mobile phones or the Internet. Every day, many people depend on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We are very serious about how well we are connected with the ones we care about as well as the world around us.
The mobile phone and the Internet are now vital to our relationships. Because we cannot live without relationships, today we cannot live without mobile phones and the Internet. But long before the invention of the Internet, even before telephones, we were connected with each other, but in a different way. We were connected to each other spiritually, through what Meishusama called Spiritual Cords. Nowadays, because of our heavy dependence on the Internet, we tend to forget about the efficiency and importance of our spiritual connection with each other. I want to explore this connection and gain an understanding of how we can make our lives and society better through the spiritual cords.
… there are tens, hundreds, thousands, indeed, uncountable numbers of spiritual cords attached to you. Some are thick, some thin; some are long, some short; and some of them are good, while others are bad. They all, to a varying degree, influence and change your life. It is no exaggeration to say that human beings stay alive because of these spiritual cords.
—Meishusama, “Spiritual Cords,” The Essential Teachings
The spiritual cords exist where there are relationships with people, animals, plants, places, money, and things like cars, houses, furniture, jewelry, and heirlooms.
These cords carry both positive and negative energy back and forth from person to person. In the case of Facebook or Email, you can select what kind of message you send to your recipients. In the case of spiritual cords, you can neither select the recipients nor the message. If you are filled with negative thoughts and feelings, that destructive energy automatically goes to the people, animals, places, and things that are connected to you. So if you are constantly filled with bad energy, you will send such energy to everyone and everything. And they, in turn, will send bad energy back to you. This will make you feel angrier and more depressed or anxious than before. Conversely, if you fill yourself with gratitude and positive thoughts that energy emanates and goes to all that you are connected with.
When you walk down the street or through a hallway, do people smile at you as you pass? Have you ever had such an experience? If people smile at you very often, then you must be smiling all the time. Because you are sending out positive energy, people become affected by it, and they smile back at you. So, it is better to fill oneself with positive thoughts and gratitude rather than negativity and resentment. This is especially true of those who are important to you. Whether you care or not, you should think positive thoughts about them. Are you smiling at your wife, husband, or children? Are you sending positive energy to your girlfriend, boyfriend, or parents? Do you say “Hello” to your plants? Do you express gratitude to your car or computer? Do you say “Thank You” to your body and every cell within it when you eat or have a bowel movement?
How many hours you spend every day on your iPhones or smartphones or laptops communicating with your friends and associates? Do you spend more than one hour a day? Perhaps you spend two hours a day. How about three hours? How about four? Believe it or not, according to statistics, on average, people spend four hours every day on some sort of communication gadget. Can you believe it!
I really believe that we should spend more time maintaining our spiritual communication, especially with someone or something significant to us.
Maybe the most important spiritual cords are those connecting us with our spouses, children, parents, or friends. These people influence, support or damage us most strongly in our lives. Do you have good relationships with your wife, husband, children, or parents?
Spiritual cords are constantly varying in thickness. When the relationship between husband and wife is warm and loving, the cord between them is radiant and thick. When they quarrel, however, it becomes thinner and loses its radiance.
—Meishusama, “Spiritual Cords,” The Essential Teachings
Some of you may have bad relationships with your wives, husbands, children, parents, or friends. Some may have felt that you do not care for your relationships with these people or have even given up on them completely. Because they influence your life so strongly, it is not usually a good idea to put your relationship with them aside. It is generally better to try to improve your relationships.
If you have problems in your relationships, try paying more attention to your side of the conflict rather than theirs. It is hard to change others, whereas it is less hard to change ourselves. Often when we stop judging others and begin appreciating the good within them, things improve. It is amazing what a gentle smile and a kind word can do. Please remember, “What goes around comes around.”
The attitude you feel toward them is what counts. Meishusama says, “Gratitude breeds gratitude.” Do you want to send out anger, hostility or indifference through your spiritual cords, or love and appreciation? THe choice is yours.
Myself, I was able to improve my relationship with my second brother through changing my attitude towards him. I am grateful for my mother for helping me do that.
The spiritual cords not only connect us to the living but to people who have died. Aer my mother passed on three years ago, I had more opportunities to spend time with my two brothers and thus became closer to them. Since leaving Japan 38 years ago, I have not had much chance to see my brothers, especially my second brother, as he became inactive within Shumei. I did not know how much both brothers did to take care of our family matters, including our funerals and weddings. In the case of my mother’s funeral, they did everything. My wife, Jane, and I just came from America to attend the ceremony in Tokyo and greet everyone. After the passing of our mother, my brothers and I met and talked about the old days, and my appreciation of them grew a lot. I believe my mother helped us to become closer through her spiritual cords with us. During our conversation, as we looked back at the old days, we realized that something beyond ourselves, such as our ancestors, pushed us to do God’s work. We found within an old record that one of our ancestors created a creed for the Imai family to follow in which the importance of living truthfully and serving society was emphasized. We felt our ancestors had been guiding us to be and do good. This includes our mother, who is now dwelling on the other side of life. Our ancestors help us even after their deaths.
It is also true that we can help our loved ones who are dead through our spiritual cords. Janice Eshleman is a very active member of our Pennsylvania Center. She still feels very close to her grandparents even after they left this world. She feels their love and is grateful for the guidance they give her when she needs them. During one of Janice’s trips to Misono she attended the Ancestor’s Ceremony in Meishusama Hall. While quietly waiting for the ceremony to begin, her grandmother suddenly appeared to her and asked what she was doing in Japan at such an event. The family was not Japanese and the grandmother saw no reason for Janice to be there. But by the end of the ceremony, the grandmother thanked her granddaughter and told her that she understood more clearly what Janice was doing with Shumei. Then, a few weeks later, the grandmother appeared again before Janice in a dream and spoke vividly to her. She talked about the pain and anguish she had experienced by people’s prejudice and ignorance. Janice’s grandmother fled Hungary with her family as World War II approached. Their first refuge was in Paris, where they hid their Jewish heritage and started new lives. Later, they settled in America where their family’s origins remained abandoned. They had lived in denial and shame. But now the grandmother’s spirit was more at peace with the Light she received through the Ancestor’s Ceremony. She thanked Janice for what she is doing for her ancestors in this world. Janice remains very grateful that she was able to help her ancestors.
When you work in a garden or on a farm, you begin to develop spiritual cords with the plants and soil you nurture, and to the rocks, birds, and insects as well. You may not realize it, but you are creating a type of family with all the elements in your garden. Not only do you look forward to seeing them, but also I am sure they look forward to your visits.
Nature has the power to heal us on a deep spiritual level. Recently I was speaking with a man named Mark Rice who was teaching gardening to violent, troubled kids at an institution in Los Angeles. He was delighted to see how peaceful and content they would become when planting vegetables and taking care of them. Maybe it was the act of nurturing something to life that made the difference. Maybe it was the deep silence that emanated from the plants and the soil. Maybe it was the spiritual cords the kids were developing with the various elements of the garden. Whatever the case may be, the kids were noticeably benefiting from their contact with nature.
I do not know about you, but as for me, I feel God as much in nature as I do in a church, or a temple, or a Shumei Center. The beauty of a newly sprouting plant, of early morning dew on the leaves of vegetables, of sunshine through the branches of trees, and the mysterious depth and colors of clouds and sky, all these things bring joy to my heart. Through our spiritual cords with all the elements in nature, we receive healing energy and become more peaceful.
One of the most important spiritual cords I have is the one that binds me to Meishusama. is connection helps me to share the Light in the form of Jyorei. Meishusama helps me to be connected with Kannon, and with God, and it has been helping me to learn and grow throughout my spiritual journey.
I am humbled to have received significant assignments within the Shumei organization. One of them was being appointed the director of Shumei America. Within this capacity, I listen to our members’ success stories as well as to their purification stories of pain and sorrow. Sometimes I do not know how to comfort or encourage them. My heart goes out to them and I weep with them. At these times, I ask Meishusama for guidance, wisdom, and courage through the spiritual cord I share with him. is spiritual cord is vital to me. erefore, I do my best to keep this connection strong by constantly expressing my gratitude to Meishusama. Daily chanting, sharing Jyorei, performing hoshi and reading Meishusama’s writings help me become closer to him.
Some of you may already feel that you have a close relationship with divinity. If so, that is great. No matter how you support this closeness, the important thing is to be strongly connected with a higher power.
All of us are connected through spiritual cords with the divine, spiritual leaders, teachers, family, friends, enemies, animals, plants, money, cars and many other things. Countless spiritual cords surround all of us. ese cords form a Spiritual Internet. Messages are always flowing back and forth amongst everyone. It is up to us how to make use of them. It is up to us how to make ourselves, and the world around us, happier and better. As Meishusama says,
Gratitude breeds gratitude. Discontent spawns discontent. For a grateful heart rises straight to God while discontented heart finds the evils spirit of hell.
—Meishusama, “You Are What You Think,”
The Essential Teachings
Instead of receiving nothing but negative energy, we can send happy, grateful, positive energy to people, animals, plants, and things around us. Then positive energy tends to return to us, and our lives become better. This is what I learned from Meishusama and this is how my life became happy and fortunate.