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Gently falling snow renders the world with its own unique brushstroke. The falling snowflakes the emphasize the stillness of everything else. The edges of things are blurred by the intervening motes of snowflake, distance becomes less clearly delineated. Sounds are muffled; the ensuing quiet seems to remove much of the hustle and bustle from everyday existence.
The snow seems to say "slow down, calm down; be at peace, at least for a little while…"
Aikido is, for me, like the falling snow. The motion of Aikido practice counterpoints the stillness of the dojo; walls, ceiling and floor stand, hover and support according to their nature while we whirl around, our motion defining the limits of their realm while they define the space in which we move. Aikido, an agent of integration, blurs the distinction of self, the ultimate differentiator, and fosters unity from multiplicity. The quiet single-mindedness of practice brings me closer to the moment and, for a time, the noise of my life is reduced in scope and volume.
Aikido says to me "slow down, calm down; be at peace, at least for a little while…"
Hello. I am a being of immense power. I stand outside creation and possess the ability to observe without interfering. Heisenberg and his nasty Uncertainty Principle are confined to creation; I am free of his curse. I am granting you the ability to step out of creation for a while so that we may look upon another of my works together.
Envision a universe consisting of a single switch. The switch has two possible end-states; end-state zero, called off and end-state one, called on. The switch is considered in an end-state when there is no ambiguity regarding whether the switch is on or off.
For the switch either end-state coincides with the moment. In the moment the switch has no motion, no mass, no energy; it simply is. In the moment, the universe that is the switch is static. Between moments the switch will swap end-states. Between moments the switch is not on and the switch is not off. It is between moments that the universe that is the switch is dynamic. The process that the switch undergoes when it oscillates from one end-state to another is called Ki.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
The moment is irreducible. It has no extension physically or temporally. In the moment the universe has no motion, no mass, no energy; it simply is.
Mary and I have three grandsons. Kai, the oldest, has only lately come to the point where he is able to identify with his own uniqueness as an independently existing individual. He has slipped away from unity with the moment in a way that his younger brother David and cousin Tony have yet to experience. Kai has reached a point where his memories are numerous and rich enough to form an identifiable past from which he is able to conceptualize the idea of a realizable future. He has moved decidedly away from the moment of his life and stepped onto the timeline of his life. David and Tony have yet to complete the same transition as Kai. Their pasts have yet to gel and become consciously recallable and as yet they show no signs that the idea of a future holds any meaning for them. They are still very close to the moment though moving steadily away from it.
My mother will be celebrating her 89th birthday in three weeks. Over the past couple of years dementia has eroded not only her memories but begun to eat into her very notion of self. The timeline of her life has been considerably shortened due to her condition. Her past is a chronologically jumbled collection of images and, as far as I can tell, her notion of future events has become considerable foreshortened. She moves now closer and closer to the moment; opposite the direc
Aikido was first presented to me as the Way to Union with Ki. With that in mind I'm wondering if a purely physical model of Ki will ever be able to provide a complete picture of that process.
My simplified view, built up over the years, is that I was born into the world fully integrated with the rest of creation and via the process of emergent self awareness and my concurrent socialization as an individual by society, family and friends I was essentially carved out of the whole to assume my role as a distinct person. The emergence of individual forces from a cooling post Big Bang universe is analogous to what I'm attempting to describe. One consequence of my individualization has been the loss of connection with the larger totality of existence that I came into the world with.
O Sensei notes repeatedly (From the Founder's Teachings on AikiWeb):
"…you should let the ki of your thoughts and feelings blend with the Universal."
"The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, ‘I am the universe.'"
"…I am the universe."
"You should realize what the universe is and what you are yourself. To know yourself is to know the universe."
My take on the sentiments expressed in the above quotes, and others of Ueshiba I have come across over the years, is that the Way to Union with Ki is the road that will take me back to the