Seishin and Quality

Seishin is the Japanese concept of “true spirit” (or as it was explained to me, “right consciousness”). Without Seishin, the practice of martial arts was physical exercise only, movement without soul. Without Seishin, life is an empty pursuit.

Pirsig wrote about the concept of Quality (note the proper noun) in his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I haven’t read ZATAOMM for many years but the central idea that Quality was almost a divine way, and the pursuit of it as epitomised by the Greek champions of old was practically a lost art, has always stayed with me.

To me, Seishin and Quality are one and the same thing. It is about doing things the *right* way. It’s not about doing things quicker or better, it is about performing at your best at all times, and constantly striving for more. It is about achieving harmony with those around you.

At times I have lost sight of my Seishin to pursue matters of the ego, but no longer. I’ve never understood harmony until recently, and I have subconciously mourned its lack.

There are words that are best left unspoken, because right words are always honest ones, but honest words aren’t always right ones. Seishin is considering harmony in your consequences, and it is accepting disharmony with good grace, always with a view to reattaining harmony.

Seishin is why I am volunteering for the AA and Australian Shadows Award judging. Seishin is why I continue HorrorScope for the benefit of dark/speculative fiction folks and why I will do so without ever expecting reward. Seishin is why my stories now take months to write instead of days. Seishin is why I praise other people without an agenda.

I would like to be remembered as a man dedicated to Quality in everything he did.

I would like to be remembered as a man whose spirit was true.

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