BY WILLIAM REED ON
In the first article of this series, we introduced the Mandala Chart as a tool for continuous improvement, an art of flexible focus, a way of life. Yet what does one do when lives and livelihoods are swept away in a single hour, leaving a trail of destruction by an unimaginable force?
The dramatic destruction of the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan on March 11 were reported worldwide on television, as day by day estimates of the dead and the missing climbed from hundreds to thousands, to tens of thousands. And yet while the after effects threaten to bring the world’s third largest economy to its knees, somehow the Japanese people have risen in the spirit of their own proverb, Seven times down, Eight times up.
People around the world have marveled at Japan’s inner strength in the face of adversity, yet it cannot be explained solely by stoicism, determination, or experience. Many countries have experienced calamity, and many of them have rallied in crisis, but even so the way people have responded to the current crisis in Japan has caused people to think deeply on the life lessons to be learned from it.
Most of this has focused on the orderliness and cooperation, the calmness, dignity, and sacrifice observed, as if nature’s force had brought out the best side of human nature, rather than it’s worst.
Many living in Japan who were spared the worst which they witnessed, feel a deep moral calling to help, to do whatever we can at whatever level to lighten the load. Likewise, many people around the world who watched the calamity on television feel a deep desire to help, and yet lack the means to make a personal connection.
We started the WA JAPAN Project to provide a bridge across which people can contribute and feel connected to the culture, as well as develop a deeper appreciation for Japan’s Inner Strength, through the power of calligraphy, poetry, and art on 10 Meanings of WA, the character which represents Harmony, Pliancy, and the country of Japan itself.
Readers of this column will be familiar with how the Mandala Chart is designed to help you achieve abundance in the 8 fields of life: Health, Business, Finance, Home, Society, Personal, Study, and Leisure. To live in abundance in 8 fields of life is to feel connected at the common edge. By serving those on the other side, you honor that connection by sharing something of your own.
Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher whom some consider to be the Lao Tzu of the West, said that hidden connections are stronger than obvious ones. Through your connection of understanding and appreciation, and through your contribution and generosity measured by your intent, you will create akizuna connection 紲 or literally the threads 糸 that bind the world 世
Poetry and calligraphy are a way to connect with yourself as well. The brush strokes are connected in space by an energy line known as the kimyaku 気脈 which exists in poetry as well, as the energy and emotion which bind the words and carry the deeper meaning. The calligraphy, poems, and artwork we created for the 10 Meanings of WA are special, because they are connected to the crisis, and were inspired by the remarkable energy at the roots of Japanese culture, the same energy which is helping them to cope and to have hope, to survive and again to thrive.
We sincerely hope that you will visit the WA JAPAN Project Page, make a contribution in any amount of your choice, then follow the links and download the 10 Meanings of WA, an ebook of our calligraphy, poetry, and artwork, in full color and beautiful design.
We have arranged it so that you can decide the amount of the donation, so that more people can participate in our project, and we hope to attract the support of thousands of people, who will help us reach our target of raising ₤30,000, or about $50,000 for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.
William Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. Visit his weekly online column Creative Career Path and his Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.