Thursday 24 January 2013

Aikido Philosophy...Stillness.

Stillness. What is it? Where does it fit in Aikido and life? So much significance is given to this and so much is emphasized about this in the fields of meditations etc. that I feel it needs to be put into perspective.

It's something you can, and do to whatever degree, experience in your daily lives. It is a realm. Yes, spiritually it is a realm and that's why it gets so much significance put on it but as with all spiritual things it is also natural and regularly experienced.

There is no opponent in Aikido. That is a statement originating from the founder of Aikido and understood by some but misunderstood by many. This is also related to stillness.

One pointedness or keeping one point is also connected to this condition of stillness.

One of the five 'minds' of Budo is also connected to stillness and that is the 'immovable mind'. Fudoshin.

So it would be important to understand what stillness is so I shall start here with one point and focus.

When you focus on one thing you are 'keeping' one point. That's the first thing to recognise and is the one and only factor which leads you to experience stillness.

So now look at your life. When you are in conversation with another you are giving them your undivided attention. When you are doing something for example if you are an artist and you are painting a picture then you are focusing on that one activity. What happens at those times? Everything becomes still. There you are DOING yet everythingthing else around that action is still. Mind is at that point immovable. All else 'dissappears' just like the so called 'opponent' in Aikido.

So there you are, no opponent does not mean the other has physically vanished or that you are dismissing him or not taking him into account but actually that you are focussed, at one with, acting in stillness.

Notice now the difference between 'thinking' and 'contemplating. Generally when a person is thinking they are following all kinds of thoughts and counter thoughts and going over this and that so it's good to recognise that when it's puzzling or negative or uncomfortable or even annoying then it's time for stillness. It's time to find a nice place where you can be undisturbed and choose one part of what concerns you and focus only on that one thing. This is contemplating, you are now looking at this one thing from stillness. Then you can move comfortably to the next thing and so on. No panic, no worry, no internal argument just contemplation.

Thus in good contemplation 'there are no 'internal enemies' but in 'thinking' there is.

Then we can look at training. You give a person one thing to concentrate on. Let's do a technique but the point of focus is on keeping elbows in. The student practices and focuses while practicing on this one point. All else dissappears and he thus notices when he keeps the elbow in, when he doesn't and recognises through carrying on practicing with that same focus how to correct it and even what was causing it in the firat place. He is now operating from stillness. From stillness much can be learned therefor. Not operating from stillness means the enemy is you.


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