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Old 05-01-2010, 10:31 AM   #1
Thomas Osborn
Dojo: Aikido of Northampton
Location: Holyoke, MA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 108
United_States
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Aikido As Meditation

5/1/10 NOTE: I keep thinking about the concept and action of relaxing as it is used in Aikido. I find it the same type of relaxation I have been told I should seek when meditating. When we meditate, we are attempting [non-attempting?] to "let go" of our physical and mental tensions, internal disruptions and distractions. This is usually done by relaxing our entire being [including the effort to relax our entire being!], often by focusing on something such as a tone or our breath, to the exclusion of everything else. Unfortunately, I can not sit quietly for any length of time, for physical reasons as well as serious lack of the sort of self discipline needed. Five minutes of "stillness" and I become a total mental and physical twitch. Like asking a two year old to sit quietly.

But there are two rivers of meditation;
Soto, the calm, placid river which gets its strength from its depth and undercurrents,
Renzai, the active, dashing river which gets its strength from its coursing down a mountain side.

I practice Aikido as a form of active meditation. Often, I will use a technique as the thing to focus on. Ideally, once I have the moves of a technique [waza] and with much practice, I will focus on my breathing and my own center, comfortable in knowing that proper technique will enable partner to "throw them self".
The thing I am trying to internalize now, is taking that relaxed, centered self off the mat and moving through the day with a "Taoist mind". I sometimes manage this, particularly when driving or doing some routine work, but damn, it is hard to try, with out trying.

(Original blog post may be found here.)
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