What is Kensho?
"Kensho is not just thinking outside the box, it is being outside the box." - Gregory Mayers
"Kensho is the freedom to experience experience." - Thomas Cleary
The word Kensho is a Buddhist term of Japanese origin, and the literal translation is 'seeing the nature.' This implies seeing and experiencing our own true nature - a moment of pure self realization. I think of this as the 'ah hah!' moments we have, when all the details and difficulties fall away and we see and feel something for the simple and natural thing it is.
Kensho is the purpose of practice, the moment of enightenment that frees us from ourselves, from our suffering. It is not a permanent state, however. Having been gifted this remarkable insight, we are back to work again, but with new clarity and purpose.
Kensho is described many ways: a breakthrough, waking up, seeing yourself, enlightenment, self realization, mindfullness, being in the now, presence, a stroke of insight or vision, breaking free. I don't know any other single word that so completely encapsulates my ideal relationship with my body, movement, and Pilates.
The longer I do the work of the body and movement, the more I recognize that being present with myself without preconceptions is the hardest and most neccessary work we can do. In mindful movement like Pilates we are asking our mind to be present with our body in the moment of the doing, and to truly experience this act without seeking it to be other than it is. I have learned to trust the body's feedback, to move and teach beyond the form into the function and feeling.
Movement at Kensho is different
In seeking this mind/body connection, the work we do at Kensho differs from most other exercise programs out there. The current climate of exercise is 'the harder the better, feel the burn, do it til you drop.' We are taught to ignore the feedback of our body, to work through and even into pain. And so while we sought out exercise to make us healthy and strong, we end up with the opposite - a body in pain and unable to perform even small daily tasks. We're breaking ourselves down rather than building us up. This is not what we intended.
So to teach our body movement that is functional, mechanically sound, and connected to our mind and breath creates not only a strong, healthy body but a mind capable of caring for and guiding our body. When we move intelligently, without pain, we can achieve what exercise and fitness were supposed to be offering us - vitality, longevity, strength, flexibility and increased enjoyment of life.
Studying movement at Kensho is more than a workout, it's a opportunity to know yourself better, to educate your mind and body, to experience what a strong, healthy body can do.