Ri-Ki-Ai-Funi: Find out what it means to me!

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Spiritual Journey

I really can do grown-up stuff on occasion, sort of.

Without going into details, I recently ended a relationship. Actually, to put it slightly more accurately, we discussed it and decided to step away from what the relationship had become.

This is one of the most mature and emotionally developed end to something I’ve ever had and, as with so many things, it made me think of a piece of kongo zen philosophy; Ri-ki ai funi.

Roughly translated it means “strength and love in harmony” although I always preferred the slightly longer winded version: “The strength to live and the courage to love.” The strength to live part is pretty self-explanatory, in this context there’s a certain element of self-reliance, an acceptance that a relationship does not define you, that you do not need it, but are an active and enthusiastic participant regardless.

The courage part, that’s trickier. Firstly it’s the courage to enter into any form of relationship in the first place. By emotionally investing in others you inevitably open yourself up to potential harm (oh hello hedgehog dilemma, it’s been a while). But more than that there’s the courage required to do the right thing, even when it’s not the easy thing. I shan’t go into details, but I’ve seen first hand the destructive effect of this on relationships, of the slow deterioration because making a clean sharp break was always somehow too hard. And I will never let myself do that again.

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