Hymns of Meishu-sama
How fast is Your work, O God—
The work that goes unnoticed by the human eye.
In this world,
Where everything progresses so rapidly,
How can you be saved through old, worn-out teachings?
O the plan of God’s divine work is so deep and unfathomable!
So everyone, I say,
Leave everything in the hands of God.
Sacred Word of Meishu-sama
“On Bergson again”
Before, I wrote on the famous Henri Bergson, a notable modern French philosopher. At this time, I felt an impulse to write something on him again, so I took up my pen. That is, when people inquire of me on various matters or when I talk about something, there are very few who easily understand what I say. It is usually something quite simple, so people should have no difficulty in understanding, but this seldom happens. Many of those whom I talk with are well-educated, but they struggle to understand what I say. It is only after I bring up many examples and analogies, talking to them at great length, that they finally comprehend what I say. Whenever this kind of thing happens, Bergson’s philosophy comes to mind.
Why can’t people understand something so simple? It is because they do not become what Bergson refers to as “‘I’ of the instantaneous moment.” Well, I guess people aren’t even aware of this. According to his theory, once people reach the age of discretion, they start to hear a variety of things and are crammed with folklore and fixed ideas. So when they come of age, all of that knowledge forms something of a “rod” in their minds. This prevents any new ideas—ideas that do not conform to the rod—from reaching their minds, because the rod obstructs that from happening. Of course, if one’s mind is empty, that is, without any rod, one can easily accept new ideas without any trouble. We often talk about the importance of clearing your mind and this is true indeed, yet almost no one realizes that there is a rod in their mind. So to those who are reading this, I suggest you become an “‘I’ of the instantaneous moment” from now on. When you see or hear something, there is a spark, if you like; it is the feeling you have right at that moment—this is what “‘I’ of the instantaneous moment” is. You should not allow any time for the rod to obstruct you; you have to be just like a child. We are often impressed by what children say in response to questions from an adult; this is because children are not obstructed by the rod.
Bergson also called this the “philosophy of intuition.” It means to observe something straightly and squarely, without distorting it, because that is the right way to see things. I believe this is something to supplement his theory on “‘I’ of the instantaneous moment.” There is also the idea of “the perpetual flux of things” in his philosophy, and I find it quite interesting, too. It means that all things are always evolving without a moment’s rest. For example, when you compare last year with this year, everything should be different in some way—the world should be different; society should be different; and one’s mind and environment should be different, too, or rather, there should be something different between the present you and the yesterday you or even between the present you and the five-minutes-ago you. This must be the reason why we say that we never know what is going to happen next. In this way, everything—absolutely everything—is in a state of flux without a moment’s pause.
When this theory is applied to humans, it must mean this: When you are faced with an issue, the way you see and understand it should be different from that of a year ago. Look at the complete difference between how we were before WWII and after it; the changes that took place in such a short span of time are truly astounding. Unfortunately, many continue to hold on to the way of doing things that has not changed for centuries or to the way of thinking that they held for the last few decades. From generation to generation, they inherit these ways of doing things or ways of thinking, that is, they inherit the rod. This makes it impossible for them to grasp the present moment correctly. This must be the meaning of expressions like “feudalistic” or “old-fashioned thinking.” Everything is always moving, is in a state of flux, but some people do not change, being motionless like mud. It is these people who will be left behind from society or whose life ends in misery.
Glory, no. 113, July 18, 1951
(Excerpt from the article)