Last weekend was the 5th Osensei Revisited weekend, again led by Robert Nadeau shihan. It was well attended, with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday classes. I want to personally thank all those from my dojo(Aikido of San Jose) who attended and supported the event. Nadeau sensei's vision and leadership(He was a direct student of the Founder). Inspiring classes taught by Mary Heiny sensei and other instructors. So it was quite an event!
Osensei passed away on April 26 1969. So this workshop falls close enough to that date that this workshop can be seen as honoring him and his teachings. I taught the Saturday 7am class, which was focused on staff work. At the end I chanted Amatsu Norito and Kami Goto, which are Shinto chants of purification that Osensei practiced and was said to be fond of. The actual day of his passing was also honored with Norito and Kami Goto at the end of the noon class at my own dojo.
Nadeau sensei has made his life's work taking the things that were personally passed onto him by the Founder and fitting them into an experiential process hopefully mirroring Osensei's own process. Those who have not attended this event please consider doing so next year. It will be virtually the same weekend, April 23, 24, and 25. Teachers and schedule will be announced as the date draws closer, and this year I will try to keep updates a regular feature of the Osensei Revisited Facebook page.
So what were the takeaways from this year's event?
1,Nadeau sensei feels Osensei's spiritual direction is quite different from what is usually stressed. He views the normal as being very much an upper or awareness based system. Visualize a point as a starting place. Then put an expanding series of half circles above the point. And the space between the half circles can be finer dimensions or astral planes. Heaven is oftentimes seen as an attainment and one ascends there.
2. Now visualize the same point and make a series of half circles downward. In contrast to the upper awareness style, this is often missed. The downward direction represents more an experience/feel unfolding,
which takes us more towards not a finer, but a deeper, more original sense of who we are....Carl Jung once said that any tree wishing to grown to heaven must have roots reaching the other direction. We are not talking about heaven being less than the other place, but more that the journey must balance light/dark and leads to an individuation as opposed to a perfection based on finer to finer.
3. So now see the diagram as a series of concentric circles radiating outward from the central point and ideally balancing the upper finer with the deeper more original. So finer must be equal to deeper. Instead of heaven as an end journey, it represents an original state that is both beginning and 'end'.
4. Now let's take the whole sense of things expanding outward and say there is an equal and opposite movement back towards the core point. So just as the upper finer is balanced on the outward as deeper, so there is movement back, Osensei's 'echo' where the outer heaven returns to itself in the core point. Osensei is quoted as saying " Heaven is right where you stand and that is the place to train.(oneself)".
5. The movement outward becomes a dimensional process. There is a small circle around that point that is aware and feels itself to a certain level of identity. The next larger circle has and even deeper and finer sense of itself as an identity. Most of us are trapped or walled in to that first level. Various processes taught at the workshop such as center/circle, fire/water, chanting(sound vibration/silence) are to help you turn the walls of those first levels into membranes that can be passed through. If you haven't made any of the Osensei Revisiteds this alone is worth the trip.The center/circle, fire/water, and chanting techniques were passed onto to Nadeau sensei directly from Osensei. A lot of this is alluded to in Osensei's lectures and writings, but they seem to be obscured by the Shinto that is everywhere.
6. Osensei oftentimes expressed the importance of 'Ame no Uki Hashi', ie the Floating Bridge of Heaven.
Using this model one can theorize what he meant.by that. Another revealing Osensei quote:'' Unite yourself to the cosmos, and the thought of transcendence will disappear. Transcendence belongs to the profane world. When all trace of transcendence vanishes, the true person.....the divine being....is manifest. Empty yourself and let the divine function."......
7. So why does Osensei come down so hard on transcendence? Perhaps it's because going finer even if one goes deeper as well perhaps one can lose one's way. The universe is after all a vast place. But if the universe is a vast tree( used in some mythologies) then the original point is it's seed. So uniting with the cosmos probably means an inner one. So that first or beginning circle, a core or fundamental being place, possible not as exciting as the finer planes of the universe, would contain all the finer. This is what Nadeau sensei understands as the bridge. In a world of no sight, one sees. And that bridge extends all the way out, but also returns to itself..
8.Osensei loved the Kojiki, the Japanese book of creation. There there was an original heavely brine. A type of chaos that was all things , ie infinite possibilities, all oxxuring infinitely. And it congealed into an infinitely dense point, Ame no Minakanushi no Okam, and expanded spherically outward in the sound Suuuuuu.
One way to look at this is that there was an original Source, Unnameable, Unknowable, God, whatever, that created itself as an original Soul, which then entered a universe or creation(also coming out of source) to find itself but also to return to itself. This is the echo. And at any point in the journey, there is the here and now of the bridge connecting yourself to both the beginning and the ultimate of yourself. Completing that journey heaven would be where ever you chose to stand.
Hope you enjoyed the summary. Hope to see you all back next year. And in case you're wondering, yes, there was time for some very good aikido training in the event as well........