The following is an excerpt from the book "Aikido and Words of Power - The Sacred Sounds of Kototama", by William Gleason, due to be published in 2009.
This chapter is "In the Beginning—The Kototama of Su"
Aikido has its roots in Japanese Shinto, the original teaching of which is the kototama. It is from the kototama, which translates as "the souls of words," that the innate sensibilities of language and thought are created.
The kototama, however, should not be seen as a tool for dividing people or distinguishing one race from another. As the root of thought itself, and therefore of all spoken language, it is a tool for understanding our common origins and ultimate unity.
The kototama is not a theory or even a teaching. It is the life energy, or ki, that gives birth to consciousness in all its myriad forms. In other words, it is mind that creates human beings, and not the other way around. Our uniqueness as members of the animal kingdom is our ability to translate our feelings into abstract thought, and therefore into creativity. The manner in which we use this tool largely determines the quality of our lives and even the life of our planet.
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"Aikido and Words of Power" will be available in early 2009, care of Destiny Books, www.innertraditions.com