Mujo means “impermanence” in Japanese. It is a term I came across reading The Zen Way to the Martial Arts by Taisen Deshimaru, an old samurai and teacher of Zen. He wrote, “He who seeks the true spiritual way of Buddhism must begin by planting mujo in his heart as solidly as an oak tree.” Planting mujo in your heart means accepting that all is subject to change, nothing lasts forever, and that death is inevitable. Deshimaru Roshi taught this acceptance through zazen, a meditation practice that Bruce Lee is displaying in this post’s cover photo.
Sadly, because of mujo, we will not be inhabiting these glorious vehicles we call the human body forever. The young grow old and eventually, we all die. Friends, family, and even Morgan Freeman will have his turn to bite the dust. Even your memories will fade into the ocean of time. Nothing is permanent.
Sounds depressing right? So why do anything? What’s the point trying? What’s the point of living? If nothing lasts forever, then why work towards any goal?
Well, you should try your best at all that you endeavor ,and hold importance to all that you do because you are not “you”. “You” is the ego. The part of you that is subject to mujo. The ego is subject to death, but the spirit is not. You are a very small part of an immense, eternal being or consciousness from which all things come from. You are a spirit living in a physical body, experiencing consciousness on several different planes that you may or may not even be aware of. The body and mind die, but the spirit lives on. Do not mistake yourself for the “you” of the ego which fears death and clings to the physical. How do you do that? By accepting mujo and internalizing it so that the spirit controls the mind, by removing the fear of death and being immersed in the Now.
The feeling of separation from God (The All, the universe) that you may feel comes from the ego resisting change (mujo) and clinging to its fictitious life by creating problems and distracting you from the Now. By accepting mujo, you will learn to let go and not cling to the past or the material or to ideas of who you think you are. Mujo frees you to enjoy the present moment and all you experience because you understand the flow and impermanence of the universe. It can also help you through pain and times of suffering by reassuring that this too, shall pass.
Mujo has taught me to maximize. Nothing lasts forever so make the most of what you have while you have it. Appreciate the time you have with people and make the most of your relationships because you never know when they will no longer be a part of your life. Maximize your body. Exercise and live healthy. By maximizing, you prolong the time you have to enjoy things. Keep mujo at bay. You can say “Well, I didn’t choose my genetics”, but you do choose what you do with them. Maximize. You can say “Well, I didn’t ask to be in this situation”, but you do have a choice as to what you do with the cards you were dealt. So maximize. Its all temporary so don’t stress so much about it. Maximize and you can prolong the good and shorten the bad. Be the best you and maximize because you won’t be around forever; this life is just about your spiritual growth.
Everything is going through constant change over time. Even the past changes over time, and the future is ever influenced by the change of the present. Nothing lasts forever and nothing is real and certain except for the present moment, the Now. By internalizing mujo, you will learn to let go of things in the past and your projections of the future, and start to live in the Now. That is how you awaken the spirit and start taking control.