Loyalty, an Aiki perspective
Loyalty has been described as the "faithful adherence to a person, government, cause or duty." It is a quality, or state of mind, that enables one to have a feeling of devoted attachment and affection for someone or some concept. It can also be "a sense of honor and duty", focusing on personal beliefs of honor and integrity.
The Japanese word for loyalty is "chusei", with "chushin" describing a "loyal subject, or a faithful retainer", referring to a historical application of the term. Even today, it is desirable and admirable to display "chujitsu", the act of being faithful, or devoted to a higher standard or to an honored personage.
No doubt these time tested and acceptable notions of correct human behavior and thinking have resonated with all cultures through the ages. It is also probably correct to point out that the actual application of these concepts have been widely varied, interpreted and applied. There are many historical examples where the loyalty of a group or class of people have been used in complicity in helping to perpetuate a myth of some sort. Facts don't lie, but liars factor. Who can truly know the real agenda in another person's heart? Great care must be taken to be sure of the worthiness of such people or ideas prior to committing.
The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, was undoubtedly loyal to certain people, to certain causes, and to certain principles he admired during the course of his lifetime. We can only conjecture which ones they were, or to the intensity he felt compelled to honor them, or the time frames he kept them in.
But of one thing can we be fairly certain of, was his sense of loyalty his spiritual beliefs, and to the greater cosmic affirmation of his life's work and purpose. Any sense of loyalty to any other human being would have paled immeasurably to O Sensei's commitment to those concepts nearest to his heart and to his spiritual identity. One need only study his koans, and other writings, to obtain verification and understanding of his mind set.
For those who study the life and accomplishments of human geniuses like the Founder of Aikido, and who wish to emulate for themselves the success attributed to O Sensei, for example, the greater message must be heeded. This message is that the only person one must unconditionally be loyal to, is the self, and the self alone. This is the only person one can truly know the mind, heart and identity of, and to whom an unconditional commitment of loyalty is both possible and appropriate.
One has to decide, on an individual basis, what and to whom, to give conditional loyalty to. After all, there are ample reasons to spend valuable time and precious energy with worthy people and with enriching concepts and behavior. Make no mistake, however, that these instances will be but guideposts throughout the length of one's lifetime, and not unconditional attachments to be held on to at all costs. All such people and notions have "shelf lives", that must be recognized, and left behind at the right moments.
Only the true self within, is the one constant that is worthy of unconditional trust, respect, genuine affection, and loyalty over a lifetime of achievement, and for the necessary fulfillment of one's life purpose.
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