Shin Shin Toitsu

Shin Shin Toitsu can be most literally defined as "Unification of Mind and Body" in English. The Japanese characters utilized for the representation of this concept mean: Mind/Heart/Core of Being, Body/Physical-Self, and Unification/Coordination, respectively. Shin Shin Toitsu and Ki are directly associated, as one's cultivation can be said to lead to the other's. However, few within the Kigei community have endeavored to effectively explain the relationship between them (other than to say that it exists) or describe the process of Mind and Body Unification--what's actually taking place from a Ki-perspective when it occurs, etc.

Shin/Kokoro: synonymous with the Spirit

Firstly, let's recognize that the word Shin is a synonym for "Soul" or "Spirit" in English. This is important, because that which is described in Japanese as preceding from the mind is not suggestive of cognitive processes, but is instead making reference to the emanation or output of that part of us that is original and unique in makeup: the Soul or Spirit. This is probably a more accurate description of the "Core of Being" than the somewhat simplistic label of "Mind." Still, this categorization does have merit, since it can be shown that the Mind certainly affects the Spirit, and can aid or hinder its development--hence the popularity of positive thinking and other New Age psychology-based life-management tools.

Simply put, the discharge of the soul is Ki; this is the shortest straightest line of explanation between the two points of Shin Shin Toitsu and biologically-based energy. Nevertheless, there is an even deeper level of justification for their relationship, and it hinges upon the interaction of the body and the Spirit; that is the "key" (no pun intended) to mind and body discernment.

WaiChi: The Chinese reference
to external discharge of Ki

It will be clear to anyone who has ever suffered any physical trauma or extreme stress that the mind can easily detach itself from the moment, to ease the pangs of over-stimulus and increase the threshold of endurance. This isn't so much the mental process of taking one's mind off of events, but more the feeling of withdrawing from that very instant and refusing to be "present" and involved in the situation. There are often physical ramifications to this act, such as reduced physical sensation and an overall sense of "drifting" above the incident, as if a spectator. Many who have unfortunately suffered sexual abuse of one sort or another report very similar impressions.

What this is an example of is the disintegration of Mind-Body Unification; that is, the opposite of Shin Shin Toitsu. When the body is threatened beyond its capacity to defend, the Spirit tends to disengage to minimize the pain and anguish experienced, also to prepare for the ultimate separation: that of death, when the Spirit permanently leaves the body.

Mind and Body out of Sync

While this makes sense under extreme situations that are beyond redeemability, the Spirit will often disconnect temporarily under the most innane of circumstances. Ever catch someone off guard and scare them as a joke? Notice how their energy and weight comes up into their shoulders, as if the very life is being squeezed out of them from the bottom up? In my experience, this is an example of the Soul being jolted right out of phase with the body. Proof of which is magnified by the tendency of those having trained in Ki development techniques to show little or no reaction whatsoever under similar circumstances, having learned to keep Spirit and body unified, even under pressure.

Mind and Body Unified

There was a method to my madness in choosing to describe the Ki Meridians prior to this page, as they are inseparably linked; and a basic grounding in their fundamentals is required for the effective understanding of the deeper levels of Shin Shin Toitsu.

Think of the body and Soul as two separate entities that must connect for successful interaction. If we accept them as such, then there must, of course, be a mechanism that not only insures they fit together, but also keeps them from falling apart during the normal course of their daily obligations. This mechanism is, you guessed it, Ki. Ki is not only the radiation of the Soul, it is also the glue that holds the body and Spirit in tandem for the process of human experience. Just as described in the Ki Explained section of this site, Ki is directly related to both the birth and death of life, via its presence or absence.

The Meridians function as grooves that not only help channel this energy, but also expedite the fitting together of body and Spirit. That is to say, that Shin Shin Toitsu occurs when the output of the Spirit (Ki) can correspond with the functioning of the body through the Meridian system.

Now, if all of this sounds confusing, it becomes much clearer through training. One of the reasons that we don't have much historical documentation on the science of Ki is because Masters of its cultivation and application knew that the particulars and intricacies could never be fully understood or conveyed through the written word, but instead must be demonstrated and experienced in real time.

To that end, organizations like the Ki no Kenkyukai and Tempukai have been created to disseminate the principles of Shin Shin Toitsu and further elucidate the relationship of Ki to the body through physical practice. Training is absolutely imperative to the development of Ki and Shin Shin Toitsu; the reasons will be more fully explored in the Training Section of this site.

Suffice it to say, for the time being, that Shin Shin Toitsu cannot occur if the Ki Meridians are blocked, so that they are impeded from conducting Ki properly. If the pathways are encumbered from channeling the vital energy, then the very "grooves" that hold mind and body in concert cannot effectively perform their task. Consequently then, Shin Shin Toitsu and Ki manipulation will always be erratic, and physical and emotional vigor elusive, to the seeker.