Relationship of Manifest to Hidden Dimension of Consciousness

We started in our last class with a focus on experiencing how the hidden dimension can provide benefits to the manifest-using with the ikkyo undo exercise we practiced in a previous class with the manifest dimension.  Today we will use the ude furi undo or two step exercise as our focus on the hidden dimension and to experience how bringing in the manifest dimension experience benefits the hidden dimension and improves functionality.

Everyone experiences these three states on a daily basis.  The manifest is the physical dimension experienced during our waking state as we go through our daily activities.  The hidden dimension is the realm of subtle energies which are familiar to Aikido students as ki.  Everyone experiences the hidden dimension in the dream state.  The dream state is not the hidden dimension but it is one way we commonly experience it.  The divine dimension is more difficult to describe but is a place of pure emptiness in which creation is present in its potential form.  Everyone experiences this when in a state of deep dreamless sleep.  But it can be experienced consciously, with practice.  

This “map” of consciousness is not unique to O Sensei or Japan.  It goes back at least as far as India (Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination pgs. 45-49). We also find it in similar forms in Tibet (The Three Levels of Spiritual Perception by Deshung Rinpoche pg. 9) and China (Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan pgs. 75-81) and many other traditions East and West. 

Ken Wilbur in his book, Integral Spirituality, also describes in a very clear manner this structure (pgs. 16-17 and 74).  There is also a helpful diagram in his book Integral Meditation (pg.90).

The Aikido of Petaluma website has more information on this in recent blog posts and some videos.

First, let’s bow in and start with a little bit of stretching and then misogi breathing.

Let’s begin with a round of ude furi undo six times.  As we do it try and remember your experience so we can refer back to it as our practice progresses.

Now we will go through a shortened process of experiencing the hidden dimension and use the practice of ude furi undo to anchor our experience in the hidden dimension.

At each point there is a sense in which you become a different person, there is a shift in identity as we quoted Nadeau Sensei in the previous classes.

  1. Open the hands and arms to include your whole body, an exercise called the Universal Post.
    • Repeat ude furi undo and get feedback-how did the whole body energy focus change your experience?
  1. Next feel your circle center and an experience of energetic fullness. What is your experience?
    • Repeat ude furi undo and get feedback-how did the focus on circle center change your experience?

We have experienced a basic level of the hidden dimension.  Now we will work with the manifest dimension to see what experiences from the manifest can enhance your capabilities in the hidden.

  1. Feel your arm including your hands, arms and shoulders. Where is your attention drawn?

Practice ikkyo undo and get feedback-what was your experience? 

  1. Now expanding our awareness let’s include legs, feet and hips. Does adding the focus to the entire lower body change your experience?
    • Repeat ikkyo undo and get feedback-how did adding the lower body focus change your experience? 
  1. Moving to the core of the body include your hara and spine from the low back to the head. What does this focus bring in that wasn’t there before?
    • Repeat ikkyo undo and get feedback-how did the spine focus change your experience? 
  1. Now let’s go back to the hidden dimension. A brief practice of universal post and circle center energetic fullness.
    • The let’s go back to ude furi undo and see how the work we just completed in the manifest has benefited you in the hidden dimension.

By using a progressive process of including more and more of the physical body in interaction with the hidden body we have explored how the hidden dimension can benefit from interaction with the manifest dimension.

This practice is a concrete example of how important the harmonious interaction between these states of consciousness is to becoming a whole person-Secret Teaching of Aikido (pg. 52).