Compass of the Times by Keiko Takahashi

October 2016

Compass of the Times 151

Envision the Goal

Keiko Takahashi


Season of Harvest


October is traditionally called kannazuki (month with no gods) in Japan.

The most common theory is that the name derives from the “month of gods” as it is the month to worship gods. There is also another theory that the name kannazuki is based on Japanese folklore that the gods are missing from the usual abode and have gathered at Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine from all over the country to discuss the coming year.

The background to this folklore is that the gods who come down from the mountains in spring become the gods of the rice field. After watching over the harvest in autumn, they return to the mountains, an act which is

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called kannazuki (seeing the gods off).

AThis was tied with the worship of Izumo, which later became the tradition that the gods go to Izumo every year.

This tells us how important the rice crop has been to Japan as an agricultural society.

October is the time for harvest. The crops which have been grown with the greatest of care come to the time of harvest. In the case of rice farming, it is the season for rice reaping.

This month can be called the "season of harvest." We would like to think of the "harvest of life,” together with our destination or a final goal that brings it to us.

Where Is the Goal, Our Destination?


When we think about the “harvest of life,” the goal (of life) is an important issue that cannot be neglected.

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The “goal” means the place that we aim for, both the destination and the final objective.

For example, the goal of rice farming over the year is to harvest the most rice possible. To attain this final objective, farmers will try their best day after day. Excellent farmers will never forget their final objective, constantly coming up with new ideas to improve the quality of the rice and to increase the amount of harvest.

Now, let us think of our own life.

It is a well-known fact that the beginning of life is birth and its final destination is death. However, many may feel that it is wrong to say that death is our goal.

Certainly our life comes to end with death. However, although death is the end it is not the place for which we aim. In other words, the place that we aim for, the destination or goal, is somewhere else.

It is you who will decide your goal, of course. What

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should be set as a goal is to be decided by each individual.

“It’s not so easy to know what the goal of our life is.”

Some may say so. Certainly, we do not have to set the goal of life. The truth is that each and every one of us may be searching for our destination or goal while we live our lives.

However, I think that even if this is true, what is important is that we aim at some goal of one form or other.

Envision the Goal


Someone who harbors their will, aspiration and purpose, is aware of their goal. If we are aware of our own goal, we try to build closer connections to the real world and to concentrate our energy toward it.

We think of the goal of this work, of this project, of this term, of this year, of the next ten years, and so on.

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We can envision a goal in various aspects of our lives. By envisioning this goal, we will be clearly aware again what we are aiming toward. The goal emerges in front of us with a clear outline.

What should we do now? How should we confront reality? We will learn about these as our own experiences not just as words (concepts).

I would like to urge you to envision your own goal.

If you already have something that you can describe as your goal, you are a fortunate person. This is because you have already found the target into which you are to pour your power and energy. If so, I would like you to concentrate on it.

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We must awaken the will to return to our origin.

The busier we are, and the greater the burden that we must take on in specific act, the more important it is to invoke such a will. This is because it is solely the time when we face the mind/heart and soul within us that gives us an unwavering central axis in this ever-changing world.

Preliminary translation as of October 7, 2016

GLA member-volunteers translated Takahashi Sensei’s words.
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