Read an Excerpt
THE SHAPES OF LOVE IN WATER
There is an expression, “The heart is filled up with hope.”
The water crystal depicted in Figure 1 might bring to mind an image of a child’s chest filled with hope; his or her dreams are growing and growing. Note how the tips of the crystal seem to be growing farther out and the beautiful hexagon at its core. To have hope, people need a solid base, such as the one seen in this photograph. The source of the base is paternal and maternal love and education. In looking back at my life, I realize my mother’s love enabled me to continue to hope to become a man who could contribute to world peace. I am grateful for her plentiful love.
I was the youngest of four children, and I received my mother’s full attention. My brothers did very well at school. Because I was the youngest child, not too much was expected of me. So I was brought up without many restrictions. After I married, my wife became the the bulwark of my life, just as my mother had been. Both my mother and my wife are like a big ocean that surrounds me in a relaxing way and lets me swim freely. I am grateful to these two women for enabling me to think that I can help build a unified world.
I hope that women who become mothers develop great love within themselves. Perhaps those who fully received maternal love in childhood find it easier to warmly love their children when they become mothers.
More and more women these days seem to feel uncomfortable in relationships of mutual dependence. If you are one of them, I hope you find someone you feel comfortable with. If you wish deeply in your heart, I am sure your wish will be granted.
Others may not like the person you choose to depend on. However, you and that person may be on the same wavelength, and that will make you feel at ease. Such a person may be near you, and may be of the same gender.
Dependence requires getting closer to someone, and this requires courage. I am positive that you can find someone you feel natural and comfortable with to build such a relationship. Once you become comfortable with depending on someone else, you will be able to let others depend on you.
With such great love, which allows others to depend on you, you can expect to become a source for giving hope to people around you.
By looking at the photograph of the water crystal of “hope,” you may remember the mother ocean. The memory of the expansive, vast sea may remind you of a state of being surrounded by great love.
When I first saw the picture, I was reminded of my mother's love and of my wife’s love, and I felt my love toward them redouble. I felt very much encouraged.
PURPOSE AND DESPAIR
If someone were to ask you, “What do you live for?” how would you respond? Even now I am unable to give an immediate answer. Why? Because the purpose of life changes over time. Try to remember: What did you live for when you were twenty, thirty, or forty? You are very likely to find that it has changed. The life purpose we choose is not necessarily always beautiful and noble.
The water crystal in Figure 2 shows a beautiful hexagon. It indicates the positive nature of what makes us feel that life is worth living. What is noticeable in this crystal is that the outer, feather-like parts have sparkling spots. They are unique to this crystal. Perhaps the purpose of life is something that shines on us.
Please take a moment to remember when you found the purpose of your life. When something takes your breath away, when amazement gives you goose bumps, and when an excitement makes you restless, your heart is thrilled. The purpose of life may be found through encountering thrilling experiences; such an encounter is what shines for you.
The purpose of life may further fortify your strengths, or it may complement your weaknesses. If you can develop your strengths more, you will be radiant and feel a greater purpose in life.
As for weaknesses, you might find yourself naturally drawn to something that helps resolve them. As we humans have a sense of balance, we tend to be attracted to what we feel is lacking in ourselves. When you encounter what you were looking for, you will probably find brilliance in it. Thus it will become your life purpose.
An encounter with a person, an encounter with a meaningful job, a dream that you want to chase for the rest of your life—all of these are leading you toward your purpose in life.
On the other hand, when we give up all hope, our immune system weakens, and our natural healing power diminishes.
Initially, I didn’t think that water would make a crystal after being shown the word “despair.” However, the crystal in Figure 3 looks like the making of a hexagon. It may be saying that any despair has hope within it. I didn’t want to show you the pictures that were too distorted, so I picked a relatively good–looking one.
The water crystal in Figure 3 seems to have shrunk. We, too, shrink when we despair. We stoop down and turn in upon ourselves. However, when we say we despair, feeling despair amounts to perhaps, 80 percent, while the remaining 20 percent is our dormant hope.
Though small, a sign of hope does come through in this crystal. In the world of water, I don’t believe there is such a thing as total despair because water circulates. Water can pass from one form to another and finally come back to its beauty. So, too, can we humans.
Even when we feel we are at the bottom of despair, we have latent faculties that bounce us back to life and allow us to find the purpose to live again.
THANKS TO (OKAGESAMA)
Strangely, the water crystal in Figure 4 has a shadow. I was surprised because water seemed to capture the word okagesama (“thanks to” in Japanese, or more literally “thanks to the shadow of”). Among the water crystal photographs I took, one was shaped like an elephant’s trunk and one like the rope ornament of a shrine. I realize that water has a mystical power to show its surroundings. Maybe we could say that water is a blueprint of reality. I sincerely think that you can find the systems of the universe in this blueprint.
An important Buddhist text, the Heart Sutra, states, “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” I take this to mean something that exists is in fact void (emptiness) and void does in fact exist. A shadow is certainly empty. Therefore, I believe that a shadow must have a high potential within itself to create something anew. It is a wonder to me that okagesama is an expression used exclusively by the Japanese. It is a beautiful phrase that everybody knows in Japan. The feeling of gratitude contained in okagesama gives off positive energy to others and transforms itself into love in their hearts. It would be splendid for people to frequently exchange such a beautiful expression. Have you said okagesama lately?
“In the beginning was the Word,” says the Bible. There is no doubt that words have a strong influence on people. The same is true with water; after being exposed to the words “you fool,” water has never formed beautiful crystals.
In the beginning, the world probably had only beautiful and creative words. Thus it must have been filled with creative energies to produce new things. Then the words with negative energies appeared, for example, “you fool” and “no good.”
The crystal depicted in Figure 5 gives us the impression of a swirling typhoon with the force to destroy everything. Looking at this crystal makes me wonder if saying “you fool” to someone has a similar effect on that person’s heart, making it corrupt and ugly like the crystal in this photograph. Simultaneously, the person who calls others names is inevitably tainted by the same negative influence. Words affect our heart and create vibrations. A good vibration creates good energy; a bad vibration amplifies bad energy.
Happiness will never come from a negative and destructive phrase such as this one. Your words have the potential to change everything.
The crystal in Figure 6 makes me realize that confidence is created by the accumulation of experiences. Overconfidence, or behaving with too much confidence not backed up by solid practices, is merely a pretense and bound to be exposed sooner or later. True confidence comes from trusting yourself as well as others. That is how one attains real, unswerving confidence. Having been shown the word “confidence,” the water creates a crystal with a complete and beautiful shape. Ideas that have positive energies produce beautiful crystals. We’ve all heard the saying “Silence is golden.” Silence—“no talk but act”—is often valued as a virtue among the Japanese. However, I myself tend to “talk and act.” I believe that confidence can be built by taking responsible actions after you have announced what you are going to do.
Those who wish to gain confidence may want to look at this water crystal photograph frequently and always have it on hand, perhaps by carrying it in a breast pocket, placing it in a pocketbook, or putting it up on the wall.
True confidence is generated by behaving responsibly. All of your experiences, whether successes or failures, will turn into confidence that will support you and help you shine.
I LOVE YOU
The water that was shown the phrase “I love you” made a big, dynamic crystal, as seen in Figure 7. This crystal also had a very large, beautiful base. When a person says to someone, “I love you”—for example, a mother to her child, a husband to his wife, or a wife to her husband—the one who hears the words will shine beautifully. Compared with crystals that were formed after water was shown the phrase “love and thanks” (which I’ll discuss later), this one, having been shown “I love you,” seems less restricted. I wonder if it has something to do with the present progressive form used in Japanese for “I love you”: “I am loving you.”
In love, agape (unconditional, self–sacrificing love) is often compared with eros (passionate love with sensual desire). I believe that eros is changeable while agape is not. Thus eros can generate more energy. When eros changes into agape, vast love will wrap you in gentle warmth.
Westerners frequently use the expression “I love you,” whereas the Japanese don’t. Japanese men in middle age or older tend to be especially shy about expressing their love for someone, and may do so only on very rare occasions. I was no exception until about ten years ago, but now I often say it to my employees and family members. Some people say, “Love doesn’t have to be expressed in words.” For those who have the vibration of divinely pure consciousness, it may be a different story, but most of us ordinary folks are better off verbalizing it.
Of course, the accompanying emotion is important. Water does not respond in beautiful crystals when “I love you” is communicated obligatorily and carelessly. So the best way of saying “I love you” would be to do so naturally and wholeheartedly, when the moment and the emotion arise.
Of course, I hope that women also feel comfortable saying “I love you,” without worrying that they are imposing themselves on others. To children, sweethearts, husbands, and friends, women should freely express it. When you say these words, the water inside of you is affected by beautiful radiance.
The crystal in Figure 8 shows a shape of hands in prayer in one of its outer parts. I believe that people feel touched when their prayers come true, or when their latent desire or hope is fulfilled. I wonder if this is why the shape of prayer appeared in this water crystal. As indicated in the two Japanese characters (kanji) that mean “touched”—“feel” and “move”—the word has a strong power to affect our hearts.
Without having experiences of “being touched,” people find it difficult to live with vigor and health.
Mrs. Suzue Kato, who lived to be 104 years old, used to say, “Live each and every day having ten ‘touched’ experiences.” Even busy people, I hope, will have at least three “touched” experiences in a day—in the morning, during the day, and in the evening.
One of the most moving experiences I have ever had since I started to take photographs of water crystals was when I saw the picture of a water crystal from Fujiwara Dam. We had initially gone to the dam to collect a sample; the water looked very dirty, as it contained impurities such as bacteria. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the picture of an amazingly beautiful crystal. At the time I had no idea why we could take such a beautiful picture. Later it occurred to me that the crystal might have been formed at the level of subatomic particles that we cannot see even with an electron microscope. Yet somehow we were able to capture the picture of it.
Between the soul of the person who took the picture and the intrinsically exquisite energy of the water, there must have been a beautiful phenomenon of resonance. Thus it was possible for us to take the wonderful picture of the water crystal. It was a moving experience for me to understand this. I was also touched by the fact that such a beautiful picture came about due to some power beyond the natural world.
Do you know the character Jean Valjean in Les Misérables? He is a criminal who one night steals silver from a church. When the police take him back to the church the next day, the bishop protects Valjean by telling the police that he gave the silver to him and proceeds to hand him some silver candleholders, too. Valjean feels as if he’s been struck by lightning. The goodness starts to grow in him. Actually, I would say that what is awakened in him is the innate goodness that has quietly remained within him together with other qualities such as truth and beauty.
As you probably know, after Valjean has this experience, he lives a wonderful life and does many things to help others. I would think that the bishop, who has had such an impact on Valjean, would also receive substantial energy of gratitude in return.
Touching experiences such as these aren’t confined to great works of literature, however: they can be found in our daily lives. One example for me was when my company went bankrupt with a 100 million yen—about $1 million—debt. We had a family council that included all of my brothers, and they said, “It will be very difficult to clear such a big debt. You should declare personal bankruptcy and divorce your wife.” I felt half–resigned and thought I had no other choice but to accept their advice. In reality, I didn’t have the energy to argue. However, my wife decidedly said, “I will not divorce him. I know he can get back on his feet again.” For the next seven years, she worked as a saleslady for an insurance company, and we lived off her income. She made it possible for me to focus on working hard to repay my debt.
Perhaps “touching” is an act of love. It is a great gift from the soul for those who live their lives wholeheartedly.