AFTERWORD by Scott Haas

We can see from this dialogue that it is possible to diminish stress, whatever its sources, by integrating uncomplicated and daily activities and practices from Japan. 

This isn’t a prescriptive approach, or a text of secrets to achieving happiness: It is an ongoing process. And the two of us who participated in this dialogue know: some days are better than others!

What helps us, and what we hope will be of value to others, is knowing that observation, silence, and appreciation for nature bring us closer to understanding that life has possibilities.

We know that happiness is not personal. Being content implies awareness of the lives of others. Ukeireru implies an understanding of others and an acceptance of their and our vulnerabilities. That acceptance enables us to create, establish, and maintain calm.

When we are calm, we can choose to act or not act.

When I’m calm, I can better appreciate these words from Yasunari  Kawabata, writing in his novel, Thousand Cranes, whose book somehow resonated for me when I was a teenager:

“The red sun seemed about to flow down over the branches.

The grove stood dark against it.

The sun flowing over the branches sank into his tired eyes, and he closed them. The white cranes from the Inamura girl ’s kerchief flew across the evening sun, which was still in his eyes.”