Heijoshin is translated as presence of mind. More specifically, it can be read as meaning a “constant,” “flat,” or “steady” mind. Heijoshin, to me, refers to a mindset that is unmoving and grounded, one that is well-centered and stable. This, I believe, is the kind of outlook that we should strive for. If one is able to hold together an unmoving “kokoro,” a stable heart and mind, then one is equipped to handle everything.
Another way to understand this statement was made clear to me by my teacher and friend, Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud. She says that yet another translation for heijoshin is an “ordinary” kokoro. This statement encourages us to strive to have a mind that is extraordinarily ordinary, one that equalizes the mundane and the adverse, digesting them each in a controlled manner. This reminds me of something that my loved ones have told me throughout my life about adverse situations. Any time that feels overwhelming, whether it be stressful, sad, nerve-wracking, or exciting, is just another definition of normal. Every event in life is just part of the story we tell, so if we acknowledge the ordinary nature of it all, if we hold constant a heijoshin, we are truly prepared for anything.
Tea students in the Urasenke Urbana-Champaign association