Good morning and good evening, everyone. It is good to see you. Onegaishimasu
I will read Shokushu #15 morning, Ki Breathing:
“The breath goes out, reaching everything in the universe, and all of humanity. The breath comes in and falls into an infinitely small space in the lower abdomen. Ki Breathing is the unknown practice that brings you to being one with the universe.
If you do this alone at night when the universe is calm and quiet, you will wonder if either you are the universe, or if the universe you. In other words, you will experience the ultimate joy of being one with the universe. Then the life energy of a human being becomes fully active.
When we have a coin with two sides, we cannot buy anything with one side of that coin. It’s only the whole coin that counts, not what’s on either side.
Students often ask me, “If there is plus Ki, then there must be negative key. Is there a negative Ki or not?” Well, I tell them, “It’s really up to you.” “Plus Ki” does not have an opposite. Plus Ki is when we experience both opposites becoming one. It really depends on what you see. In other words, when we focus on this side or that other side, this kind of Aikido or that kind of Aikido, pleasure and pain, health and illness, life and death, then we will end up choosing, preferring and insisting upon one or the other, and then we tend to dismiss or diminish its opposite. And by diminishing it and by making it “other,” we devalue it, and maybe even make it an enemy. We may see it as threatening or dangerous to us in some way. In this way we have created something with negative Ki for ourselves.
Basically, this kind of thing all stems from doubt and lack of confidence, which ultimately leads us to fear. In this way a negative view is created. But when we unify mind and body, when we experience the unification of both sides, self and other, all of these apparent opposites, everything becomes one, and there is no more negativity.
So, it’s really up to us. Tohei Sensei gave us this Ki Breathing and Ki Meditation, which involves the opposites of breathing in and out. Also, kakudaiho and shuchuho, expansion and concentration in Ki Meditation. And he told us that we don’t understand these exercises until we see that both sides, the opposites, are actually the same. There’s only one thing happening. Those two different sides brought together become the whole, become one.
Now we want to apply that to everything in our life; everyone we know, every problem that confronts us, every difficulty that arises. Yesterday, Carlos Boyer Sensei put together a wonderful tribute or memorial to Clayton Naluai Sensei. I’m not sure that everyone here knows who that is. He was a very well-known and beloved teacher here in Hawaii. He was in fact Native Hawaiian himself. And, you know, O’Sensei used to say, “Only a warrior of love is a true warrior.” That man Naluai Sensei was such a warrior. So he meant a lot to me, and to us all. The experience of him was like bringing everything together.
Okay, let’s begin with some Ki Breathing. (Ki Breathing 20 minutes)
(Ki Meditation 12 minutes)
(Mind Body Meditation 13 minutes)
When we say the word “unification” we generally mean bringing two disparate elements together as one. Perhaps we are not able to think of two things at once, or to deal with two things at once, two separate elements. But when we bring them together, then we only have one to deal with. And then we bring this other together, add it to it, and it’s a bigger one. And then one more, and one more, one more, and the one just becomes bigger and bigger including more and more, finally becoming everything, which is the universe. It’s easy to deal with, as long as it’s unified. It’s when we break it into pieces that it becomes a problem.
The practice of bringing everything together is what I called “Whole Body Meditation.” Now I have changed the name to “Mind Body Meditation. Some people tended to confuse Whole Body Meditation with a kaisho practice, or Whole Body Breathing, which is the kaisho aspect of Ki Breathing. But Mind Body Meditation is the shosho aspect of meditation. This meditation is bringing the One Point, the heart, the throat, and tente, to become one thing, and then rest in that one thing. And this is the essence of our practice in Aikido – Mind Body Unification. Don’t you think so?
So maybe you’d like to comment? Or ask a question. We have some people here that haven’t been here a while. So welcome back. And I know you’re here because there’s a meeting later today. But it’s still nice to see you. And don’t be shy. If you’d like to say something, please feel free. The wonderful thing about these kinds of classes, of course, is that we are bringing many disparate elements back together again. What’s not to love about this? The more often we get together, the deeper we experience a sense of unity. When we are unified, then understanding and acceptance is very easy for us. So the more you can bring yourself into any kind of group situation like this, the more you can let go of your sense of isolation. There’s nothing wrong with the power of one you know, of independence. Just as long as you don’t see anyone as separate from you. You can have independence as long as it includes everybody! Okay. Would someone like to say something, please? Otherwise, I’ll just keep talking.
Student: Sensei, with this Shokushu, I get caught up on the phrase, “this unknown practice.” Could you say something about that?
Well, yes. I know what you are pointing to. I would say that, by saying this, Tohei Sensei meant that nobody else knows about it. In other words, it’s special to Shinshin Toitsu Aikido. And so in that sense, he is sort of making a little claim of ownership there. We do this often, don’t we? We identify with something, we make it an identity tag, something that’s different and special just for us. It does feel a little like, you know, my group is better, or more special, than your group. My school of Aikido is better than anybody else’s school of Aikido. We all have this sort of thing in our lives. It is what I call an “identity tag.” It is something that we point to, to make us feel a part of something unique and valuable. Something special. This kind of thing is fine, as long as being a part of something very nice doesn’t leave someone else out.
And, of course, we also forgive. None of us is perfect. And we all do this in many ways. The important thing is to notice how we’re doing, not to blame, or point to others. Right? But just to notice how we may be doing that same thing in so many ways. Thank you.
Student: Sensei, I have a small request. Would you please, next time, lead us in this Mind Body Meditation? Because I felt that this time, I needed it, but it was not maybe appropriate in the middle of our session to ask for this. But would you do this again for us next time?
I will, I will happily do that next Sunday. Some other people have also asked me to talk through this meditation again. At first, it might be a little bit difficult to understand. And so let’s call it “Mind Body meditation” now. Again, yeah, it’s the bringing of these four parts together that people have difficulty with. This meditation is meant to be the practice of inclusion. In other words, Tohei Sensei taught us that One Point and Extend Ki are the same one thing. We think of “extending” as “including,” and this method means including these four fundamental elements, and these we can experience all together as one. “We can take everything into account,” we say in English, or we want to “have a complete perspective,” not over-emphasizing one aspect.
What we have been talking about today is when we prefer one part over another part, that means we may not be taking the whole thing into account. You know, in the Five Principles of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, it’s not just “Know your partner’s mind,” but “Put yourself in the place of your partner.”
Student: I’ve noticed that I’m closing the gap between both breaths. And it’s a wonderful experience of closing that gap, that space between breathing out or breathing in.
Yeah, maybe you recall, one recent evening I told you about an experience I once had with Tohei Sensei, where he taught us about this space between breathing out and breathing in. And he said, “You folks don’t understand Ki Breathing, because you think it’s about breathing out and breathing in. But it’s really about the space between breathing out and breathing in. And that space goes to infinity.” That to me, really helped to bring the dual aspects of both Ki Meditation and Ki Breathing together. Because it’s all about infinity isn’t it, always breathing out to infinity and into infinity. This is about the unification of all separate parts. It’s the end of seeing this world as exclusively relative. Of course, the relative, or dual world, is about whatever our senses can perceive it to be. But we have deeper eyes where we can understand that we are a part of everything and dependent upon everything, all together at the same time.
Well, that’s it. I really appreciate everyone coming here today.
Student: Sensei, I just wanted to thank you for that term “warrior of love.” That’s a term that really got to me, and something that I aspire to be, so thank you very much.
Yes, does that not apply to Naluai Sensei so exactly and thoroughly? Okay, I think it does too. Thank you very much.
Domo arigato gozaimasu.
(Online Training with Christopher Curtis Sensei, 14. March 2021)