In some of my short lectures at Chiseikan, our Aikido Dojo here in Kyoto I explain to my students that there are differences between seeing and perceiving (both are pronounced the same “miru” in Japanese, but use much different kanji). Between listening and hearing (here both are pronounced “kiku”in Japanese but with different kanji ). And between knowledge and wisdom (with both pronounced “chi” in Japanese, but again with different kanji characters).
You may be thinking "Sensei, it’s natural to know how to use these things in different situations."
It’s actually impossible to actually perceive, hear and understand without focused concentration.
When we see, our eyes catch images as they unfold in front of us, but when we perceive, it means we also watch from our hearts.
When we hear, our ears capture the sounds that are happening around us, but when we truly listen, we listen from our hearts.
To know something is to get information from our consciousness as knowledge, but wisdom is the ability to grasp the essence of this knowledge.
If people just watch what I do and listen to what I teach, they will only know what I teach. But I want my students to see what I do from their hearts, listen to what I say from their hearts, and see the essence of the things that I am teaching to acquire true wisdom.
I think this is the same for business and interpersonal relationships. Even in a casual conversation, when someone talks about what they like, about their family or hobbies, if you listen carefully from your heart, you’ll be able to keep this information in your mind. When you need that information, you’ll be able to naturally remember it when you think about that person again. You may think you won’t be able to remember that much, but it's actually not too difficult if you listen carefully to the other person's conversation.
As an example, before you were in an actual relationship with someone you liked, you wanted to know more about this person, so that every word of the conversation remained in your head, right? Maybe you remember those words right before going to sleep, and they come to mind so vividly that they make you feel happy. You could do this because you were concentrating so much and listening from your heart to what they were saying.
But I think this is very important not only for love relationships but also for everyday relationships as well. If you are able to remember what specific people said to you, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to have closer connections with them.
Based on this, the most important point is wisdom, or “Chi”. This concept of "Chi" appears in the late master Minoru Mochizuki's song "Yamato-Kokoro." The way that this has been taught to me is that true wisdom is the ability to understand the essence of the knowledge we gain. In modern society, there is so much information flying around us that we often don't know what is true, and what isn’t. In order not to be swept away by such vague or false information, it’s critical to perceive and hear to understand the essence of the knowledge we obtain.
Right now for example, there is a lot of information about COVID-19, mutant strains, and vaccines. But instead of just listening to and believing all of this overwhelming information, we need to see through to the essence of what’s actually being said to gain true knowledge and wisdom.
The name of my dojo is "Chiseikan," which means that it’s a place where you can gain the essence of knowledge.
To perceive, to listen to gain knowledge.
I hope that you won't forget that your heart is important for all of these. From now on, I hope you’ll be able to focus on this.
This is a translation of the original article in Japanese HERE