I appreciate everyone participating in this new format and welcome to everyone coming for the first time. We are working to keep our regular class schedule going so it will be easier to return to our training together.
Please share any comments, suggestions or questions.
This difficult time; while we wish it was not going on, is an opportunity to deepen our practice by appreciating what is really important to us and what we can let go of-The Heart of Aikido translated by John Stevens (pg. 68).
In our last on-line class we concluded our series of practices on experiencing deeper and fuller levels of the I. We also focused on a stronger connection between these deeper levels of I and the creation as manifested by the Aikido technique with which we were practicing.
Our goal with this series was first to achieve a more balanced and integrated level 1 starting I. Then working to experience the deeper, fuller levels of I and to realize its benefits and to align the deeper levels of I with the creation.
We concluded our series with a focus on experiencing I in Manifest, Hidden and Divine dimensions of consciousness.
Responding From Wholeness
Today we are starting a series of classes on responding to the daily life situations we encounter from a place of wholeness rather than fragmentation. When we engage with activities that we find challenging, either because they are difficult or ones for which we feel enthusiasm, the I can react in ways that causes internal conflict and other forms of difficulty. One example is the mind of I separating itself from the body of I and getting entangled with the unit. A second example is the body of I pulling in and separating itself from the mind of I with the resulting absence of grounding and support for the mind of I. In a previous series of classes a few years ago we called this movement towards fragmentation the flash response.
The second element in this series is to recognize the presence of an energy “pool” which can be either the source of the situation when it is internally or voluntarily initiated by us. It may also be a natural response to provide us with the needed energy to effectively work with a situation that is generated externally. O Sensei and many other spiritual traditions teach it is a universal law that we are provided with the energy to deal with difficulties when a challenging situation presents itself.
Our goal is when we sense the push from the energy pool we recognize it as an opportunity to allow the energy to create a unit that is capable of responding from a place of wholeness and inner harmony rather than fragmentation and internal conflict. Our shorthand name, borrowing from Nadeau Sensei, for this moment of recognition is a doorbell. Our goal is to recognize the doorbell as a signal not to entangle or withdraw but to see it as an opportunity to reinforce the inner relationship between the two parts of the I and to allow the energies generated to mix a unit that can respond effectively to the situation.
Our Aikido technique for today is mune-tsuki irimi nage.
Let’s bow in and start with misogi breathing and a good full warm-up.
Our tip today on the misogi breathing is with each of three rounds to feel a deeper sense of center.
Five Principles for Ki Breathing
- Breathe out with the sound of HA, don’t let your breath just leak out
- Breathe out as calmly and quietly as possible
- Breathe out the Ki of your head to the Ki of your toes
- Breathe in from the tip of your nose until your body is full of air
- Calm your mind infinitely smaller at the one point after inhaling
Let’s begin with a round of practice with the technique.
- Begin with a round of practice of mune-tsuki irimi nage as both uke and nage.
- Get feedback on the technique to establish a baseline to use for comparison as the practice progresses.
Orienting the I Toward Wholeness
- As we focus our attention on the technique as our situation of the moment, we will start by reinforcing the relationship of inner harmony between the two parts of the I. Our desire is perform the technique as well as we can and with a high degree of personal satisfaction. If the I becomes fragmented in the effort we will not be able to achieve either good performance or personal satisfaction. Before going back to the technique let’s practice mirroring between the parts of the I.
- Now let’s return to the technique and experience if the mirroring practice we just did is helpful. If not we can repeat the mirroring practice or work more deeply with the I if necessary.
- Now let’s put our attention on the pool of energy that corresponds to the technique/situation on which we are currently focused. The energy is freely available to mix up a unit with the functional capacity to perform the technique effectively. This mixing process is the same one we use in our forging practice. Once the mixing and jelling has come together into an embodied functioning unit of mune-tsuki irimi nage we can go back to the technique and see if it has helped improve our performance and personal satisfaction.
- Now let’s return to the technique and see if the unit practice we just did is helpful. If not we can repeat the practice or work more deeply with the unit if necessary.
We began work on a series of classes to recognize through what we are calling the doorbell when a situation presents us with an opportunity to reinforce the inner harmony with the I and allow the pool of energy corresponding to the situation to mix up a unit that will effectively work with the situation.
Feedback and discussion.
The Secret Teachings of Aikido translated by John Stevens (pg. 80).
Practice before next class: Select a daily life task and work with the process we practiced today on both reinforcing the harmony of the I and mixing an embodied functioning unit for that daily life task.
Finish with misogi breathing and bowing out.