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Old 03-21-2013, 01:19 PM   #1
Dan Richards
 
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Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

I'm including this in the Techniques forum, rather than the Spiritual forum, because I'd like to discuss techniques and approaches for observing thoughts. And this also dovetails into observing emotions as well as the body.

I ran into an excellent article, Watching Thoughts and Emotions

The non-resistance practice of aikido, can be extended in techniques to include mental, emotional, and physical processes. And by taking on the role as non-judgemental observer - the watcher - we become more free to explore the processes. This is less about wanting to make any specific improvement or result, and more about allowing the process itself to be fun and joyful.

Aikido may appear to be an "art" on the external, but to arrive at an art, we do so through practice. And I'd like to use this topic to explore how we practice; and techniques we can employ to make the practice deeper and much more dynamic, and even redefine what constitutes the practice.

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"Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid." - Shoji Nishio
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:34 PM   #2
graham christian
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

I relate to space as space, mind as a window and body as body. Thoughts can cloud mind not space. With a clear window you will be able to enjoy your space.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

One of the ideas in the article is that rather than focusing on any one thing, such as breath, or one-point, or alignment, we instead allow what is arising to arise, without judgement, without resistance, without identification. Because by focusing on a specific object, we exclude and introduce an element of control - which is immediately going to set up judgement. And from there our "practice" then becomes one of constantly judging right/wrong and wanting to control. This immediately begins to narrow the bandwidth of our experience, to the point where we're practicing through a restricted channel.

Instead of focusing on a single object, if we, instead, just observe and allow the process to arise as it will, something interesting happens; we begin to detach from the process itself, rather than identifying ourselves with it, or even as it.

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But in this technique of watching there is no control, no exclusion, no denial.

So in this process when you learn to allow things to happen, then whatever you have repressed can surface. And when your unconscious is made conscious in this way, your behaviour becomes integrated and harmonious.

Another way of looking at this technique is that we are learning to surrender - to surrender to whatever is happening.

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Old 03-21-2013, 01:47 PM   #4
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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One of the ideas in the article is that rather than focusing on any one thing, such as breath, or one-point, or alignment, we instead allow what is arising to arise, without judgement, without resistance, without identification. Because by focusing on a specific object, we exclude and introduce an element of control - which is immediately going to set up judgement. And from there our "practice" then becomes one of constantly judging right/wrong and wanting to control. This immediately begins to narrow the bandwidth of our experience, to the point where we're practicing through a restricted channel.

Instead of focusing on a single object, if we, instead, just observe and allow the process to arise as it will, something interesting happens; we begin to detach from the process itself, rather than identifying ourselves with it, or even as it.
Hi Dan.
Firstly I would say as an exercise that could be more to do with a seated yoga or some such rather than Aikido.

Secondly saying that focusing on something does not lead to judgement so I believe that statement is incorrect and that method is indeed vital to Aikido.

The difference is this: Basically what the article is referring to and you referring to as a practice is actually contemplation.

The focusing one is meditation. Two different things. Aikido is moving meditation.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

Hey Graham, I'm looking at techniques for observing processes. Aikido takes many things that are unconscious and makes them conscious. That is a major aspect of practicing aikido, or any art or skill. Aikido seeks to move us from our conditioned responses (often programmed into us by society, culture, media, etc.) to something more free, more sovereign, more independent from any specific programming.

For instance, many of us seem to operate in a way that our thoughts seem to stream in the center of our heads. That doesn't have to be the case at all. We can shift the location of the thought stream - and in that, actually gain insight into the thought process itself. It's not as hardwired as we've been conditioned to believe.

In using a technique of observing streams of thoughts, we can place that stream out in front of us - say 6' away. And watch it - like data. One interesting thing that this does is clear the Central Channel where various dantien are located. This allows for a channel that's clear from thought streams to then be used for other purposes.

And then there's looking at the thought stream itself. Does it have to be a "stream?" From what direction does the stream flow? Do thoughts have to stream from up to down, or down to up? Can they stream sideways? Can we create several streams? Do they have to be linear streams? Can they swirl around and overlap each other? Can we create "stream patterns" - perhaps in the shape of a flower, or an ice cream cone, or a rocketship?

When we begin to observe the process, we find that we can really play around with it. It becomes fun. And this can then be extended into emotions and physical sensations. All of this is involved, intimately, in the practice of aikido.

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Old 03-21-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

Dan, it can be done prior to Aikido. It would be very useful. However it cannot be done whilst moving or whilst doing Aikido.

I'm sure many do practice such things before warm up and training. It's a good aid to Aikido but definitely not Aikido as far as I am concerned. You can apply Aikido principles to doing that, yes, but you can't do that whilst doing Aikido. You'll get hit.

So as I said, it's something like a yoga technique, designed to be done in a quiet space without interruption. Without interruption is the difference.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

By the way Dan, techniques for observing thoughts are basically as described. You add moving the stream and that means doing something and observing the effect. All good. If that's what you are talking about discussing then I would say there are many things and thus exercises you can do but is it a discussion topic?

Peace.G.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:22 PM   #8
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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Dan, it can be done prior to Aikido. It would be very useful. However it cannot be done whilst moving or whilst doing Aikido.
Of course it can. Easily. We can learn techniques for observing many things. Observing tension in the body - but with no judgement. Observing tension and "being" tense are quite different. Being tense is an unconscious state. Observing tension, without judging it, is a conscious, non-resistant state.

Observing the execution of a kote gaeshi technique. Observing it. Not "doing" it. Observing rhythm. Observing timing. No judgement, and no particular focus. Just observing the process and what the process contains as it arises.

Observing the cold on our hands with no judgement is quite different from "being" cold or "experiencing" cold.

This also allows our aikido practice to take place on a very different playing field. We can become conscious witnesses to our training. This is not mediation, and it's not contemplation. It is a technique for unfettered observation and discovery of phenomenon within our practice. And when we do that, we increase the resolution of conscious awareness within our practice exponentially.

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Old 03-21-2013, 03:31 PM   #9
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

IMHO, before we clear the mind into mushin, we need to have had mindful practice so that the body knows what to do when we switch off the controls.

Learn to control and change the clouds/thoughts before your clear them.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:31 PM   #10
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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Of course it can. Easily. We can learn techniques for observing many things. Observing tension in the body - but with no judgement. Observing tension and "being" tense are quite different. Being tense is an unconscious state. Observing tension, without judging it, is a conscious, non-resistant state.

Observing the execution of a kote gaeshi technique. Observing it. Not "doing" it. Observing rhythm. Observing timing. No judgement, and no particular focus. Just observing the process and what the process contains as it arises.

Observing the cold on our hands with no judgement is quite different from "being" cold or "experiencing" cold.

This also allows our aikido practice to take place on a very different playing field. We can become conscious witnesses to our training. This is not mediation, and it's not contemplation. It is a technique for unfettered observation and discovery of phenomenon within our practice. And when we do that, we increase the resolution of conscious awareness within our practice exponentially.
That's meditation Dan. The difference is the vital difference. One is done in Aikido and one isn't.

Observing technique or tension etc. can be done during and as part of Aikido and is all part of calmness and if you see the difference of how one is observing one thing which is meditation and the other is observing thoughts which isn;t meditation then you will see the difference.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:22 AM   #11
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

This involves techniques for self-observation. It's not meditation or contemplation, it's a different type of self-awareness. And this isn't mushin. This is the study of bringing what lies in the unconscious field into the conscious field. And I agree with Lynn about having a more mindful practice. This isn't about shutting anything off. It's about turning much more on.

I was introduced to the idea years ago through Gurdjieff/Ouspensky work.

http://www.gurdjieff-internet.com/ar...hp?ID=242&W=44

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Old 03-22-2013, 07:25 AM   #12
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

Well I'll just say that in my opinion that all leads knowhere and is full of double talk and nonsense. When we see what mushin is then we can see clearing, changing thoughts, removing etc. cannot be done without it. Nor can any observational or self observational practice.

Very simple really......If you are not using mushin then you cannot 'see' anything clearly or observe anything clearly.

I'll repeat what I've said before many times, it's never a matter of not using any of these things it's a matter of learning when you do for you cannot escape the truth.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:51 PM   #13
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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If you are not using mushin then you cannot 'see' anything clearly or observe anything clearly.
IMHO, seeing implies there is something to be seen and some one to see it, therefore still dualistic.

IMHO, the process is just looking and seeing no-thing with no-mind by no-one.

Perhaps we each need to find our own conceptualization which give us permission to let go of past patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting ... to habituate new patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting ... and then to let go and enjoy the view and the ride?

Ultimately, while there may be sky and clouds, there is no-mind. Mind is the illusion. But it can be a very useful one.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:29 PM   #14
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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IMHO, seeing implies there is something to be seen and some one to see it, therefore still dualistic.

IMHO, the process is just looking and seeing no-thing with no-mind by no-one.

Perhaps we each need to find our own conceptualization which give us permission to let go of past patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting ... to habituate new patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting ... and then to let go and enjoy the view and the ride?

Ultimately, while there may be sky and clouds, there is no-mind. Mind is the illusion. But it can be a very useful one.
That's not dualistic or as I call it now duellistic. What you say there reminds me of a mystic who says you can't know? Well how does he know?

Basically you are in essence a viewpoint. Thus you view, you see. Dualistic applies to a mind not you.

The mind of no mind you can view through too.

So actually the mind(s) are not the illusion they are windows, including the window of nothing, and a nice word folks use when intellectualizing is filters. The false view of the universe is the illusion. As you clear those windows you see and learn more and more and thus your view of the universe changes.

Self, mind(s) and body.

First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:24 PM   #15
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

The topic is self-observation. And it's "defined" by limitations. And those limitations, while being created - and an illusion - allow access to what is unlimited. So, here we're going with limitations. The beautiful thing about the unlimited and infinite is that is contains limits and finite aspects.

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Practice self-observation uncritically. Do not become identified with what you observe. Try to separate psychologically from all negative thoughts, states, and feelings. Release anxiety, let personality be passive, and observe, observe, observe.
That can lead to mushin, which is defined in Gurdjieff's language as "self-remembering."

I was quite familiar with mushin long before I began training martial arts. Firstly, I was a kid. Childhood can be a great place to explore mushin. As I got older, and as a musician, I spent countless hours as an improvisational jazz musician. Jazz can be an ocean of mushin.

It appears that we need some kind of form - some set of limitations - in which to practice, and use as a gateway to mushin. In this topic I'm focusing on the form. The form can be an illusion. The form is created. It's simply a created set of limitations in which to operate.

Within those limitations, there are no limitations. That's the infinite within the finite - as well as the finite within the infinite. No-mind is entered and exited through mind. And mind is entered and exited through no-mind. Illusion is entered and exited through the real. And the real is entered and exited through illusion. Movement is entered and exited through stillness. And stillness is entered and exited through movement. And entering is entered and exited through exiting. And exiting is entered and exited through entering.

They are the same.

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:32 PM   #16
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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Well I'll just say that in my opinion that all leads knowhere and is full of double talk and nonsense.
It's not supposed to "lead" anywhere. There's no where to go. That's the point. So, leading nowhere. Good. Let's go with that.

But in this topic we're not playing with nowhere. We're playing with somewhere. And it's playing with the somewhere, and rather than judging somewhere as being some other place; if we allow somewhere to exist without judgement, then something interesting occurs. Space/time begin to bend and collapse, and we realize that somewhere is - drumroll, please - here.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 03-22-2013 at 05:34 PM.

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:43 PM   #17
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

There's an interesting term in the West for the Eastern idea of mushin. It's called Christ consciousness. As we embody mushin, so do we embody Christ. As we become mushin we become Christ. Ueshiba had a term for it. Aiki

http://www.anointedfighter.com/profi...nd-meekness-go

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:57 PM   #18
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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It's not supposed to "lead" anywhere. There's no where to go. That's the point. So, leading nowhere. Good. Let's go with that.

But in this topic we're not playing with nowhere. We're playing with somewhere. And it's playing with the somewhere, and rather than judging somewhere as being some other place; if we allow somewhere to exist without judgement, then something interesting occurs. Space/time begin to bend and collapse, and we realize that somewhere is - drumroll, please - here.
So there is somewhere to go.....here.

All this nowhere not leading anywhere is what I call double talk. If you didn't have a goal or purpose for doing it you wouldn't be doing it. Thus there is always a destination.

Mystics who say such things sound oh so very 'wise' but are just mysterious. So you go with that if you like but I don't think you'll get many takers.

Everyone doing Aikido is practicing observing what they are doing whilst doing it and so I say it's best not to come from the position of anyone isn't doing it but rather from the position of how to improve what they are already doing.

So you cannot learn mushin like it's some super state for everything taken to it's ultimate would be super. You can learn what is meant by the term mushin and then see when, how often you are using that 'state of mind' and to what degree and then practice to improve your ability to do more.

Meanwhile you will be using shoshin, zanshin et al. cos they are interdependent.

It all leads somewhere, nice and concrete.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #19
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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There's an interesting term in the West for the Eastern idea of mushin. It's called Christ consciousness. As we embody mushin, so do we embody Christ. As we become mushin we become Christ. Ueshiba had a term for it. Aiki

http://www.anointedfighter.com/profi...nd-meekness-go
I see he believes that is mushin. Oh dear. Gave me a smile though.

Once again as I see it it's a case of someone grabbing one idea and promoting it as everything.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #20
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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Everyone doing Aikido is practicing observing what they are doing whilst doing it and so I say it's best not to come from the position of anyone isn't doing it but rather from the position of how to improve what they are already doing.
Precisely. Which is why I started this topic; to share and explore techniques for "practicing what they are already doing."

So, let's do that. I threw out non-judgemental observation of thoughts and phenomenon as the first bone. There's no double talk in that. It's an actual technique - an approach - that's as practical as letting the marinara sauce boil down all day if you want a better-quality sauce and a deeper and richer experience - not only during the cooking process, but also in the dinner.

What wine would you recommend with the dinner, Graham?

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Old 03-22-2013, 06:46 PM   #21
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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Precisely. Which is why I started this topic; to share and explore techniques for "practicing what they are already doing."

So, let's do that. I threw out non-judgemental observation of thoughts and phenomenon as the first bone. There's no double talk in that. It's an actual technique - an approach - that's as practical as letting the marinara sauce boil down all day if you want a better-quality sauce and a deeper and richer experience - not only during the cooking process, but also in the dinner.

What wine would you recommend with the dinner, Graham?
The wine of no wine. In other words you don't need to observe the thoughts. Cooking process could be equated with the tea ceremony. Observing every motion and movement. Quite the opposite to observing thoughts for it is the exercise of observing without and despite of thoughts.

As is Aikido practice and learning.

So to discuss observation in Aikido we would have to talk about which things to observe ie: the circles involved, the spaces, the paths of energy, the motions etc. etc.

If you want to discuss observation techniques used in Aikido or even useful in Aikido then you would first have to remember Aikido is an action discipline not a sit in a cave discipline. Thus we find there are things to do which aid observing better, one point being just one example. The things which aid observation in martial arts do not include looking at thoughts.

Looking at thoughts type exercises are things you can do which no doubt would also help but they exist outside of the action of Aikido. Aikido is the dinner.....those things are the after dinner wine.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:54 PM   #22
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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If you want to discuss observation techniques used in Aikido or even useful in Aikido then you would first have to remember Aikido is an action discipline not a sit in a cave discipline.
You keep sticking to the idea that there's some sort of cave-sitting, navel-gazing discipline suggested here, when I'm talking about something that's quite active and dynamic.

Graham, have you actively worked on the technique of self-observation before? And if you have, could you tell a little about how you ran into the idea and what your experiences were?

And since you mention aikido as an "action" discipline; what those actions are and are not comprised of has a lot to do with the practice. There are some actions that people make that need to be turned into non-actions. And other non-actions that people make that need to be turned into action.

Discovering those switches, and becoming conscious of them is a big part of the art. As is which switches need to get turned on and which need to get switched off.

A large part of aikido is making the various switches conscious on the part of the practitioner. And it's only then, that they would have the ability to consciously decide whether or not to turn specific switches on or off.

So, what we're talking about is active and practical.

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Old 03-23-2013, 09:36 AM   #23
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Re: Relate to your mind as a clear spacious sky and to the thoughts as clouds.

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You keep sticking to the idea that there's some sort of cave-sitting, navel-gazing discipline suggested here, when I'm talking about something that's quite active and dynamic.

Graham, have you actively worked on the technique of self-observation before? And if you have, could you tell a little about how you ran into the idea and what your experiences were?

And since you mention aikido as an "action" discipline; what those actions are and are not comprised of has a lot to do with the practice. There are some actions that people make that need to be turned into non-actions. And other non-actions that people make that need to be turned into action.

Discovering those switches, and becoming conscious of them is a big part of the art. As is which switches need to get turned on and which need to get switched off.

A large part of aikido is making the various switches conscious on the part of the practitioner. And it's only then, that they would have the ability to consciously decide whether or not to turn specific switches on or off.

So, what we're talking about is active and practical.
Dan, self observation? Please. You start the thread asking to look at thoughts and do exercises to do with looking at thoughts. So don't try to twist things. That is not aikido, not even in the same ballpark as observing actions or energy etc.

Reality Dan. You stand in front of me while I put on let's say a nikkyo. You don't go down so you are keeping good centre or whatever else. I then just ask you to look at some thought. Bang your down!

Reality. Should be done in 'caves' free from interference.

Plus switches, non-actions? Not my terminology and conceptually don't see how they fit either.

Peace.G.
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