Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Aikido and Times of Crisis

We are all facing the possibility that the world as we knew it will never be the same. The severe financial crisis we are all facing as the government moves toward a bailout is in its own way as dramatic as nine-eleven was. Though no lives have been lost, perhaps an innocence has been. People will probably never look at banks the same way again.

I remember my first year in aikido. It was my senior year at UC Santa Cruz in 1970. We faced the invasion of Cambodia. The campus was closed. Some classes continued to meet but off-campus. I remember Robert Frager teaching students how to center and use the principles of aikido to cope with the crises we were all facing. What are the practices we can all do during this uncertain time?

People who are too mind-based will have a difficult time. If one's spirit goes up and down with the stock market, anyone will have trouble coping. Remember, the mind operates through fear. Washington Mutual went under because so many of its depositors drew out their money, thereby creating the scenario they most feared. The number one thing we must remember is that we are not our mind, we are not our thoughts. One nice thing about coming to the dojo is that we operate through the body. Just being more present and feeling the body will allow you to realize that many of your and my thoughts are just that. To relax and observe them. Often times when something big is about to happen, you will get energy to deal with it. Most people are so mind-based that their thoughts run out of control. In aikido we teach you to be more in the body and to relax and center with the energy. It is a friend. It is there to help you deal with whatever is or will happen.

What did Osensei do around the craziness of Japan before and during WW2? He moved to the country and farmed. He went to a place where he could really check who he was in all that was going on around him. He got away from people who were mind-driven about the war. We are at war, but this for now another matter. Most of us can't just re-locate to some rural location and go back to nature. But the body represents maybe a haven for us during this difficult and confusing time. The mind in its more original, pure state was meant to operate in harmony with the body. For most systems these day the mind is totally out of balance and is way too controlling. The body is a calmer space where mind and body can harmonize. The mind by itself tends to go into fear during times like these. I know not what the future holds for aikido schools, but I know that I will be at the dojo training with those people who make it to class. So grounding and centering through the body will be big in the immediate future.

I am including a new video of a demo I did preceding Hikitsuchi sensei's demo at Monterey Peninsula College in May of 1974. It was a very different world then. But I am very glad I chose Aikido as my path. I don't consider the movements to be very skillful, but hopefully there is an energy and passion that come through.......


Post a Comment

<< Home