The Paradox of One And Many in Aikido Philosophy

Written by Charlie Badenhop

Read about how we can better appreciate, empathize with, and respectrepparttar diverse people, energies, and opinions that we come in contact with on a daily basis.

My Aikido teacher Koichi Tohei sensei used to say that in a healthy personrepparttar 122251 flow of their "ki" (the energy inherent throughoutrepparttar 122252 Universe) is likerepparttar 122253 outpouring of an underground spring sitting atrepparttar 122254 bottom of a deep lake. The spring feeds water torepparttar 122255 lake, much like we can feedrepparttar 122256 universe healing energy. The spring feedsrepparttar 122257 lake a constant flow of water without ever being diminished, and this outpouring of water is not impeded byrepparttar 122258 weight and pressure ofrepparttar 122259 lake bearing down upon it. When ki flows it followsrepparttar 122260 path of least resistance. This is a path of great power. As human beings we are designed to feed energy torepparttar 122261 universe, by following a path of least resistance. This feeding of "our" energy is what helps us to also maintain our own personal health and well being. We receive by giving, because our ki belongs torepparttar 122262 Universe, and not to any one individual.

In this article I want to talk about how we can better appreciate, empathize with, and respectrepparttar 122263 diverse people, energies, and opinions that we come in contact with on a daily basis. I hope to give some small insight into how we can begin to understandrepparttar 122264 paradox of One common energy source feeding all ofrepparttar 122265 diversity and difference that we see around us. In Aikido we practice what I guess could be called a "physical" discipline to accomplish this. We PRACTICE appreciation, empathy, and respect, in regard to our partner, withrepparttar 122266 hope that some day inrepparttar 122267 future our practice will transform into an embodied reality. We practice breathing exercises and meditation, and inrepparttar 122268 course of these experiences we have a sense of being one withrepparttar 122269 universe.

In Aikido, as new students we first learn how to balance our physical structure and relaxrepparttar 122270 body's musculature. It is this balance and release of excess muscular tension that allowsrepparttar 122271 weight ofrepparttar 122272 body's trunk to come to a natural resting place in our lower abdomen, inrepparttar 122273 general area of our reproductive organs. This area in our lower abdomen is what Tohei sensei calls "the one point" and he exhorts his students to maintainrepparttar 122274 feeling ofrepparttar 122275 body's weight resting naturally in this area. By maintaining physical balance and relaxation we release excess physical tension, calmrepparttar 122276 thinking mind, and sense a common bond with all of life. At such times we naturally generate a copious flow of ki, and exude a healing presence to those around us. Previously I said that ki isrepparttar 122277 life force that animates all living beings and that all living beings share and utilizerepparttar 122278 SAME energy source,repparttar 122279 same ki,repparttar 122280 same spirit. In Aikido we call this shared universal spirit "reiseishin." When we balance and relaxrepparttar 122281 body, unify our thoughts and actions, and calm our thinking mind, we manifest an outpouring of "Reseishin" inrepparttar 122282 same manner that a mother holding her newborn baby exudes and expresses love, protection, and compassion. When we experiencerepparttar 122283 flow of "reiseishin" we naturally appreciate, empathize with, and respect all of life.

For me personally, what is important to say in regard to sensingrepparttar 122284 flow of "reiseishin" is thatrepparttar 122285 experience is not generated byrepparttar 122286 activity ofrepparttar 122287 thinking mind. Our sense of unity with all of life comes about when we "do only what is necessary, and nothing more or less." It is this "doing less" that leads to greater power and a greater sense of connection to life. We gainrepparttar 122288 paradoxical experience of calmness and action being two sides ofrepparttar 122289 same coin. One beingrepparttar 122290 mirror image ofrepparttar 122291 other. Great calmness leads to great action, like a hurricane radiating out from its calm "eye." Great action leads to great calmness, as when a strongly thrown top rights itself and calmly spins round its center.

When you balance and relax your body, unify your thoughts and actions, and calm your thinking mind, you move from an experience of duality to an experience of commonality. At such times you understand experientially what is paradoxical torepparttar 122292 thinking mind - That so much difference comes from One source.

You breathe deeply and senserepparttar 122293 simultaneous inflow and outflow of ki. You breathe deeply and feel a "heavy-lightness" inrepparttar 122294 body. You breathe deeply and senserepparttar 122295 "immovable-movement" of your spirit.

When you sense and move withrepparttar 122296 energy that is manifesting throughoutrepparttar 122297 universe you find that you have a greater ability to live a life that is healthy and fulfilling, a greater sense of valuing and protecting all of life. When you learn to instinctively move with others rather than attempting to oppose them, you quickly come to a sense of intuitively understanding your counterpart's thoughts and actions, and you increaserepparttar 122298 likelihood of your being able to gently lead your counterpart in new directions inrepparttar 122299 future. This is certainly a timely topic givenrepparttar 122300 current conditions inrepparttar 122301 world today. Aikido is a martial art that wages peace. We have no attack form in Aikido, even though Aikido is very much an effective form of self-defense. As I said previously, in Aikido we cultivate an experience that leads us to believe that all living beings utilize and share a common energy source (ki) that helps to run and maintain our environment as well as our individual human systems. We believe that since we all share a common energy source, that in some important way we are all truly members ofrepparttar 122302 same family, and that we share our lives with all of nature. We do not have an attack form in Aikido, because attacking another human being would be like attacking a family member that you love. One ofrepparttar 122303 main ideas of Aikido is to find a way to honor and protect your own being, your own opinions, your own right to life, while CONCURRENTLY honoring and protectingrepparttar 122304 same in your opponent. Not at all a simple task, but one well worth trying to embody.

Mushin - Peak Performance States in Aikido Philosophy

Written by Charlie Badenhop

In Aikido we learn how to enter into a peak performance state that inrepparttar Japanese arts is known as "mushin." In Seishindo work we often call "mushin" a state of "embodied presence." "Mushin" is similar torepparttar 122250 term "flow state" as used by many people to describerepparttar 122251 conditions for peak performance. For several years now I have been defining "embodied presence/mushin" inrepparttar 122252 following manner: "Whenrepparttar 122253 structure of your body is balanced, and your thinking mind is fully present but not engaged in any form of internal dialogue, you will tend to release any extraneous thoughts or actions and enter intorepparttar 122254 flow state of "mushin." Your thoughts, feelings, and actions occur simultaneously and spontaneously. Nothing comes between your thoughts and your actions, and nothing is left over. When we embody such a state we greatly improve our ability to learn with grace and ease."

At such times we have a pleasing sense of fullness and great potential. We do not attempt to eliminate or control our thoughts, feelings, or actions, but rather we move with our thoughts, and feel into our experience. Breath, movement, action, and rest. Breath, movement, action, and rest. So when I say above that I want to talk about peak performance states and how we can live our lives with a greater sense of ease, grace, and power, I am referring to how to enter into a special learning state where our thoughts, actions, and feelings occur simultaneously and spontaneously.

This state of "mushin" is one that we very much strive to experience in Aikido (and in other Japanese arts as well) knowing full well that it is not a state that we will maintain throughoutrepparttar 122255 course of our everyday life. Indeed, what we do when we find we are NOT in a state of embodied presence and instead mired in a difficult situation, tells us much about our spirit and our deeply held beliefs. Mushin is an ephemeral state that is to be experienced and released. An experience that is meant to be lost and found a gain, many times over inrepparttar 122256 course of our life. Please be certain that I consider peak performance states to be an enjoyable quest and not just for some special few who are professional performers of one sort or another.

When we enter into mushin for even brief periods of time we find that we receive what I call "a residue experience." By this I mean that even when we enter back into our everyday mind, we find ourself living our life with a greater sense of vitality and well being. Our relationships with others tend to be more heartfelt, compassionate, and aware. We find ourselves feeling more connected to our "self" and our everyday experience, while living our life with a greater sense of meaning.

If you are at all like most ofrepparttar 122257 human beings I meet every day, andrepparttar 122258 one that I meet inrepparttar 122259 mirror every morning, during much of your life your thoughts, actions, and feelings occur somewhat independently of each other, and you lack a certain sense of spontaneity. To some extent this is part ofrepparttar 122260 human condition, and yet we can definitely also achieve from time to time, a much fuller way of learning and living.

One ofrepparttar 122261 unique aspects of embodied presence is that we do not have internal dialogue when we are fully present inrepparttar 122262 moment. By "fully present inrepparttar 122263 moment" I mean remaining relaxed while fully engaging in an activity, without internal dialogue taking up any of our attention or awareness.

Mushin = Embodied presence Embodied presence = Fully present inrepparttar 122264 moment Fully present inrepparttar 122265 moment = Michael Jordan during an NBA final; Tiger Woods atrepparttar 122266 Masters; My daughter watching her Saturday morning kids program.

I think that being able to be free from internal dialogue at times is quite an interesting phenomenon. One ofrepparttar 122267 main questions I always ponder in this regard is "Who is talking to who?" during internal dialogue. Another thought that I often have is "Why inrepparttar 122268 world do I need to tell myself what I am feeling? Why not just feel?" And of course asking myself such questions is just another form of internal dialogue!

To me,repparttar 122269 fact that we have internal dialogue inrepparttar 122270 first place leads me to understand that each person has at least two different selves that they experience life through. One self is a rational/cognitive self with its "headquarters" being just that, inrepparttar 122271 head. This isrepparttar 122272 self that generates our internal dialogue and likes to critique what we are doing. Our other self is an emotional/somatic self with its command center being inrepparttar 122273 body. This appears to berepparttar 122274 self thatrepparttar 122275 cognitive self is trying to inform via words. The problem is thatrepparttar 122276 somatic self thinks in feelings and not in words, so reallyrepparttar 122277 only thing it understands fromrepparttar 122278 verbal communication ofrepparttar 122279 cognitive self isrepparttar 122280 tone of voice, volume, and phrasing. Seem hard to believe?

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