We worked in our last class on the hidden dimension and how bringing in the manifest dimension experience benefits the hidden dimension and improves functionality. We used the ude furi undo or two step exercise as our reference.
Today we will continue this emphasis on states of consciousness working with the divine realm-using another exercise fune-kogi undo, the rowing exercise. Our goal in working with the divine dimension is to directly experience how the process of creation emanates from the divine dimension to the hidden and then to the manifest The Secret Teachings of Aikido (pg. 100, pgs. 96-97 and pgs. 94-95). This principle of emanation is an ancient one. There are examples from Plato and Plotinus to the Kabbalah and many others.
Consciousness flows in both directions-from manifest to hidden to divine and also in the reverse order-Ken Wilber Integral Spirituality (pgs. 75-76).
O Sensei talked about this two direction flow. When it starts from the manifest to the hidden and then the divine, it is a process of backtracking. At each step in the backtracking experience you are releasing more and more of the entanglements that restrict your being in a state of wholeness, fullness and freedom.
When we are starting from the divine, as in today’s class, it is an experience of re-engaging with the creation through the universal process of the creation birthing itself. The creation is birthing itself in a way that reduces our potential to become entangled because of the benefits of backtracking.
Before we go on to the divine dimension let’s review the manifest and hidden dimensions we worked with in our previous classes.
O Sensei spoke of three basic dimensions of consciousness: manifest; hidden and divine- The Secret Teachings of Aikido (pg. 22); The Heart of Aikido (pg. 136) and The Art of Peace (pg. 87).
One of O Sensei’s greatest insights is that these basic structures of consciousness are of equal value. This is a distinction from many traditions which regard especially the manifest dimension as a place defined by suffering and difficulty that we want to get out of. O Sensei saw each of these states as part of a whole that was seamless and necessary for an experience of our own wholeness.
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, which is our focus in today’s class.
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.
Let’s begin with a round of fune-kogi undo six times on each side. As we do it try and remember your experience so we can refer back to it as our practice progresses.
Our focus on this exercise is on the experience of in and out as first our hips and then our hands move forward and back. We also want to focus on the rhythmic movement that comes from practicing this exercise.
Do the fune-kogi undo six times on each side
The divine dimension is the realm of formless potentiality, which may at first appear empty in the sense of being devoid of content and in which we don’t appear to have a body.
Let’s go through a basic experience of the divine dimension and the divine body. We will use the circle center practice for the divine world and the wu-ji posture for the divine body.
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.
It is essential that you experience a strong center in the divine dimension because it appears to be a place that is formless. This results in there being no fixed reference points. This makes our internal experience of a strong center of great value as it becomes our primary reference point. The lack of a reference point will cause us to start looking for one, not to be found outside of ourselves in the divine dimension and this looking will push us out of the divine dimension entirely.
- Now, expanding our awareness let’s do our circle/center practice. Open the hands and arms and make a circle around the body. Since every circle has a center, next move the hands up and down in front of the spine as if you were holding a jo. Feel the interaction between the circle and center creating the experience of an alive space. Next focus on the great quiet in the alive space that can help us to more fully experience the divine world. Finishing with a focus on the center.
- Bring the feet together with the heels touching so they form a “v” and the hands are relaxed at the sides. This is a form of the wu-ji posture from T’ai-chi in which the experience is that the body is still in a state of elemental wholeness, not yet subdivided into arms/legs and torso. In effect it represents a pre-body or divine body, like the outline of a Let’s finish with a moment to focus on our own center. Repeat a second time with a focus on an open center as a passage way from the divine to the hidden.
- Let’s do six repetitions of fune-kogi undo, emphasizing the experience of the centered divine body in the divine world and get feedback-how did this focus change your experience?
- Moving from the divine to the hidden we will go to the circle center practice focusing on the experience of the alive energy space, a hidden dimension space. This helps us to transition from the divine to the hidden. Then adding the universal post exercise to bring in the experience of the hidden body. Remembering to focus on your own center as our reference point. Feel the energies from the divine coming through the open center feeding the hidden.
- Repeat fune-kogi undo and get feedback-how did the centered hidden body in a hidden world change your experience? Specifically, the effect on your practice of the movement from the divine to the hidden.
- Next, stand in the manifest space in which you are right now. Notice what in the space attracts your attention. This is one way of connecting to the manifest. Then starting with hands/arms and feet/legs move to your spine and head. This is your experience of the manifest body in a manifest world. Always finishing with your center. As with the hidden, feel the energies from the hidden and divine feeding the manifest. What is your experience?
- Repeat fune-kogi undo and get feedback-how did the focus on the manifest body in the manifest world change your experience? Specifically, the effect on your practice of the movement from the divine to the hidden and now the manifest.
By starting with the divine and then going through to the hidden and manifest we experienced in a very direct way the universal creative process in our own systems.