Don’t forget (how) to breathe

IMG_1669

 

I talk about Zen, about Jesus and Socrates, but, at the same time, I’m breathing and moving around.

One of the chapters on Mind-Body Into-One aikido is called the Ki-breathing Method or Ki Calling-Absorbing Law (Chapter 15. 氣の呼吸法).

We absorb breath from the ki. We have to remember that when we take in breath from the ki:

We give it back to Sky-Earth and the World

出づる息は天地よろず世に及び

We take in breath which goes into the One-Point Beneath-the-Navel

入る息は腹内の寸分のうちにおさまる

When Night Comes, Sky and Earth Sink into Calmness, when all is Quiet and there are No more Voices

夜来、天地静まり寂として声なき時

if One Human (Alone) applies this method

独りこれを行えば

we become One-Body with Sky-Earth, as we can no longer tell where we end and Sky-Earth begins.

我れが天地か天地が我れか、即ち、天地と一体となるし至妙境に至る。

When we do this, our Life-Force is Active at its utmost.

この時、人間本来の生命力が、最高に活動するのである。

[Note: If you listen to the recording, do not attempt to breathe this way. Practice by yourself, at your own pace, with No Voices around you].

Without forcing it…

We breathe like we’re running all the time, never paying attention, unless it gets hard.

Why don’t we try to make it better? Why do we care only when it’s bad? Let’s remember how it feels good.

We shouldn’t run away from our bodies.

Dialogue with the Bad

Got a black eye? Look with your other eye

Got a black eye? Look with your other eye

There comes a day in our live, when we feel overwhelmed, when we feel that we had enough.

  • If you’ve ever been sick,
  • if you’ve ever been tired,
  • if you’ve ever felt that the world is just not fair,

then you know what I’m talking about.

Bad is stronger than Good but we have to take stock of this and we have to put it in perspective by asking ourselves:

“How do we face this Law of human psychology, of evolutionary history:

  • that Bad would be more salient than Good?
  • that Bad would be more deeply processed than Good and so on?”

The first thing to notice here is that we need to work hard to maintain the balance because Bad is (by default) stronger so we need to labor more on the side of Good.

The second thing is to acknowledge that Bad is a form of inertia and ignoring it will not make it disappear. On the Ki-Merging-Path (aikido), we say:

This World is Filled with people who have Lost their Way, who Suffer from Mind-Heart Sickness

世には、道に迷い、心の病に苦しむものが充満している

Let us Use-up All Our Power and Explain what is Right For the People

我が全力を尽くし、人の為に正しきを説こう

Chapter 21: The Way of Explaining

説道

Doing the Right thing represents an active choice to promote Good, but occasionally we have to deliberately engage in a dialogue with that which is Bad.

What is the Bad (for us moderns living comfortable lives)?

It is the Imagined Bad.

Why do we need to imagine the Bad? In order to feel empathy with those who feel Bad:

  • with those who feel sick,
  • with those who feel tired,
  • with those who feel hopeless,
  • with those who feel desperate,
  • with those who feel caught in the system,
  • with those who feel crushed by the system,
  • with those who feel overwhelmed by their situation,
  • with those who feel insignificant in the large scheme of things,
  • with those who feel helpless, in the dark…

We need to engage in this dialogue (with Bad) and this is where poems provide the language so we can curse not each other, but rather all that follows (from Bad).

Post scriptum: Spoken after finding out I’ve made myself redundant in my current workplace and I’ll be unemployed from January 1st, 2016.

Eyes-Next

Climbing the Ladder with 22 steps

Climbing the Ladder with 22 steps

Table of Contents (目次 Eyes-Next )

Chapter 1: The Inscription Sitting-to-our-Right 座右の銘 (Our Motto)

Chapter 2: The Value of Our Existence as Human-Beings 我が人生の存在価値

Chapter 3: The Ki-Merging Path 氣に合するの道 (Aikido 合氣道)

Chapter 4: Mind-Body Integrated-as-One 心身統一

Chapter 5: The One-Point Below-the-Navel 臍下の一点

Chapter 6: Relax リラックス

Chapter 7: Falling-quiet Reaching-stability 落ち着き (Calming-Down)

Chapter 8: Positive Human-Life プラスの人生

Chapter 9: Sunk-in-a-Place Meaning-Knowing 潜在意識 (Subconscious Awareness)

Chapter 10: The Principle of non-Conflict 争わざるの理 (The Principle of non-Competition)

Chapter 11: The Root-Quality of Ki 氣の本質

Chapter 12: The Ki Method of Body-Manipulation  氣の体操法 (Ki Gymnastics)

Chapter 13: Quiet-Movement One-Match 静動一致 (Dynamic-Static Consistency)

Chapter 14: The Un-Moving Mind-heart 不動心 (NOT unmoved!)

Chapter 15: The Ki Method of Calling-out-Taking-in  氣の呼吸法 (=The Ki Method of Breathing)

Chapter 16: The Ki Method of Pressure 氣圧法

Chapter 17: The Spirit-Like Mind-heart 霊性心 (the Spirit (霊) is aligned (並) with the Rain (雨))

Chapter 18: The Path-Seeking Mind-heart 求道心 (Centri-Petal Force = Center-Seeking Force 求心力)

Chapter 19: The Power of Thought 念の力 (Thought refers to Attention made up of Now (今) Mind-heart (心))

Chapter 20: Virtue-in-the-Shadows 陰徳

Chapter 21: The Path of Explaining 説道

Chapter 22: The Ki Test 氣のテスト

Post scriptum: This will be continuously updated as I climb up and down in dialogue with each step.

Why are you using?

Our way could be the Way-of-Gods (神道) or something else entirely

Our way could be the Way-of-Gods (神道) or something else entirely

Dialogue with James on how we use our lives.
Here’s an idea for your kaizen to ponder…
The idea of value in life.
If you accept the reality of the age of the universe and the size of our population on Earth, and get beyond yourself, you realize that your life is quite short and insignificant.  So, within this short amount of time, what would be a valuable life?  It seems to be what you leave behind.  A contribution to mankind, small or large.  Most people spend their entire lives focusing on what they can take out of life, or Earth.  In other words, what they can get.  But a more enlightened perspective would see more value in what one can leave behind, and/or give to others.  Shouldn’t this then be an overarching goal of one’s life then?

In a world and culture which has shifted focus more and more to “Me first” and “What can I get?” many seem blind to this reality.  You literally cannot take it with you.  However, so many seem happy on their merry way down a path of self indulgence.  The excitement one feels when they skydive, or the enjoyment of taking that trip around the world, or spending a night partying and drinking with their friends.  Such enjoyable experiences have no longer become the reward after accomplishing something, but rather the focus of what one aims to accomplish in life itself.

It’s interesting if you think about the meaning of “partying”.  At a party, you celebrate something.  Sometimes we should ask ourselves…what are we celebrating exactly?  It seems like many are celebrating celebrating. Should one spend time on more valuable activities, such as reading?  Well, it depends.  Many people read fiction.  Is that in itself an accomplishment?  You have to ask yourself, did I just read these stories to entertain myself and pass the time?  Was the author’s goal to simply entertain me?  Even if not, did I take whatever message they conveyed through their story and actually change the way I live my life?

It’s like eating food.  You can take in food, and then do something with that energy, such as exercise or build something, or you can just sit on the couch and let that energy turn to fat. But what is the overarching describer of all of these actions?  Consumption.  What do these actions leave behind?  What improvements to the world did they accomplish?

Consumption alone in a place which has limited resources almost guarantees the place will become a barren wasteland.  You have to not only consume, but then do something positive with what you’ve consumed.  If not, the resource you consumed is just wasted, and these resources are limited on our planet. On one’s deathbed, one realizes the shortness of life, and suddenly, such trivial things become unimportant.  One begins to worry about one’s legacy, or what one will leave behind.  When we live in a way which focuses on making a contribution, we can avoid this folly.

Earth has limited resources, and we will eventually use these resources.  Our little lives pop-up and then disappear on it.  During that short time, we can simply consume and give nothing back, but this does not bode well for future generations.  The reality of that is actually more depressing than criticizing everyone having their “fun”.  And also, in reality, it is quite childish and simplistic…almost animal-like.  But aren’t we more than mere animals?

Don’t we not have the seemingly limitless brain power in comparison to make this world we live on an amazing place?  To cure diseases and possibly live for 150 or even 200 years?  To travel farther and discover more about our universe.  To invent.  To develop ways to maintain peace. Therefore, people should ask themselves the following questions in relation to how they spend the majority of their time:

Am I contributing something or just consuming?  Am I giving or only taking?  What will I leave behind?

And most importantly, does my life matter?  So, in fact, with this last question in mind, we have come full circle to view this issue in a self-centered way, which is in fact not a bad thing at all.  By not focusing on ourselves, we can in the end feel better about ourselves.

The Japanese word for mission is 使命 “Using-one’s-Life”.

I guess from this perspective it’s much easier to derive meaning:

My mission (life-goal) is to create something = I use my life to give/create something.

If you take the Western perspective you mentioned (“My mission (life-goal) is to enjoy myself”) and translate it using the above perspective you get something nearly tautological:

I use my life to enjoy myself = I use my life to enjoy using myself…?!?

Chapter 2 The value of our existence as human beings
我が人生の存在価値
Let us be thankful like children, who receive this gift of life from the Ki of Sky-Earth.
Let us honour our privilege of being given consciousness, of being an extension of the Spirit of animals, Grass and Trees.
我が生命は天地のより氣生じたのである。
草木動物としてではなく、万物の霊長としてこの世に生を享けた事を感謝しよう。
Let us join in the great wheel of life-generating development.
Let us participate in this project of generating and developing life, and let us pledge to live our lives to that end.
天地の生成発展の大経綸に参画し、我が使命を完遂することを誓おう。

Reflectii de 23 august

 

Tavalugul comunist (Sursa foto: http://www.comunismulinromania.ro/)

Tavalugul comunist (Sursa foto: http://www.comunismulinromania.ro/)

Cam nu prea am dialoguri in romana. M-am instrainat?

Dreptu-i ca si-n romana am aceeasi orientare zen.

Dar noi romanii suntem crestini domnule, ortodocsi. Suntem dificili.

Calugaria crestin ortodoxa poate oferi un model (de urmat intr-o societate pe cat de cumplita am avut dupa 23 august), dar este un model al biciuirii trupului, al schingiurii, al fortarii trupului dat de Dumnezeu (nu?).

De ce aceasta schingiure? Ce a facut rau acest trup? De ce trebuie pedepsit?

De ce Nicu Steinhardt (sau un Tutea) a ajuns la concluzia asta?

Fiindca au fost oamenii care au trecut prin puscarii. Este mentalitate de puscarias, de supravietuitor al inchisorilor comuniste. Un tip de supravietuitor, bineinteles, dar unul care spune:

Rastignirea trupului … ca mijloc de total devotament

in Jurnalul Fericirii.

Asa a fost tratat trupul (lui Nicu Steinhardt si al multor altora), dar nu voluntar, nu de catre sine.

Raul a trecut tavalug peste ei.

Asa ca noi, romanii, suntem crestini-ortodocsi, domnule, prin loialitate fata de acesti oameni care au supravietuit unui astfel de regim.

Desigur, par absurzi in momentul de fata.

Trebuie sa ne gandim un pic mai departe si sa ne intrebam: Ce s-a mai spus in alte limbi? Ce se suprapune?

Se suprapun dialoguri. Un dialog cu sinele, un dialog intru sine.

Ce fel de poezie poti sa dai cuvintelor si folosind ce mijloace? A gandi “pictorial” cum fac japonezii (ma refer la ideograme) este (sau poate fi) o inzestrare, o imbogatire a gandirii socratice, daca este inteleasa.

Ne intoarcem la Pitagora, ne intoarcem la greci. Unul

Unul si-n romana, domnule.

19. Puterea Gandirii

(19. 念の力)

Un singur Gand, Acolo unde se Concentreaza,Trece si printr-o Stanca

(一念凝る所巌をも透し)

Cand Un Gand ia Nastere si Cearta si Traznetul, si Vantul, si Ploaia

(一念発する所風雨雷霆も叱咤する)

De unde Oare se Naste Aceasta Minte?

(この心何処より発するや)

Cei care au Realizat Lucruri Mari, Desigur Acestia si-au Insusit Aceasta Putere,

(大事を成就せし者は、必ずこの力を体得せし者である)

Mai mic decat Particulele, mai mic decat Atomul si mai mic decat Electronul

(分子より原子電子と)

Pana in acel Punct fara Limita sa Calmam Valurile Inimii (=Vibratiile Mintii) Unificandu-ne (Mintea si Trupul),

(心の波を無限に極小に鎮めて統一し切った時)

In acel Moment in care am Completat Unificarea, in acel Moment este Generata Puterea Gandului care Ajunge la Pamant si la Cer

(天地に通ずる偉大なる念の力を生ずるのである)

 

 

Whence evil? (The rope-bridge)

 

This is about the problem of evil and the question we all ask at some point in our lives:

Why is there evil? Where does evil come from?

This assumes that you’ll not give yourself a free-pass and say that

  • the Devil did something,
  • there are demons in the world etc.

This kind of answer shows the same logical fallacy as seen in the eternally-receding type of answer to the question:

Q: How did the world come about?

A: God made it.

Q: Okay, who made God?

With this answer, you never reach a point of explaining something, although people are very eager to use it to explain something away (in order to be able to get on with our daily business).

When we employ supernatural explanations to account for the “root of all (evil or things)”, we are not answering anything:

With supernatural explanations we are just giving ourselves a break from reasoning it out.

Coming back to the problem of evil, the question then arises as to how we can discuss it in a rational manner.

On this topic, one tends to despair if one is looking at all that’s happening in the world.

Since we are saying we are rational beings and since we are also (to a degree that is debatable) genetically-programmed and culturally-conditioned beings, we need to ask ourselves:

How does evil come about? What is the mechanism for generating/propagating evil?

I would argue that we have to think about this issue in terms of a rope-bridge.

I’m here building on several metaphors from

which all seem to converge on the idea of describing the correct path/way to live one’s life.

When we talk about a path or a way, we tend to assume that it’s a hard, solid, straight surface on which you can walk on:

Keep to the path. Keep going straight on this path. Don’t fall into the ditch.

This sounds quite easy and this is (one reason) why we find ourselves bemused by the sheer weight, diversity and proliferation of evil around us. It does appear that at any given time, a great number of people are happily jumping in the ditch whenever there’s the slightest temptation to do so.

So we have to ask ourselves:

Is the path-metaphor a true metaphor?

Yes, it is true that there is a golden middle path, but it is NOT the hard surface we tend to think it would be.

Well, it’s not unless you’ve been training yourself and you’ve dedicated your whole life to walking the path of life very carefully.

In reality it’s more like a rope-bridge following the course of a wild river, a rope-bridge bracketed by canyon-like walls on either side.

Clarification: This is not a bridge across the canyon, but rather a bridge from the spring to the sea.

During our lives we are busy walking this rope-bridge and we’re swinging this way and that way.

  1. Each time we’re swinging to one side and we’re hitting our heads (some part of our moral souls) against a hard wall, we simply want to push away from it.
  2. Our desire to push away from one hard wall is so strong that we usually end up hitting the opposite wall, equally hard and unforgiving.

Whenever we appear to be swinging towards a wall of tears, we become afraid of the looming crash and we exert ourselves to the utmost in the opposite direction, which makes the whole rope-bridge sway more violently.

This jerky movement does not stop with ourselves:

It affects everybody near us.

Accordingly, it doesn’t take long for everybody to find themselves violently thrown this way and that way by this movement (for which they may not be able to identify an immediate cause).

Everybody feels the rope-bridge swinging madly from side to side, but nobody can readily identify the villain. In this situation, everybody will also react by trying to control the swinging in one direction or another. So we have a lot of people

  • pushing this way and that,
  • jumping this way and that,
  • swinging this way and that.

Then again, there are also some people who are just trying to achieve balance:

  • Saying that we need to calm down,
  • Insisting that we need to keep the rope-bridge swinging (ever so slightly) in the Middle,
  • Warning us that attempting to push away too hard will only land us on the other side (another extreme).

We see this in every human (historical) event. We see people jumping from a belief that I-don’t-know-who is the savior (the Messiah) to vilifying the same person as the incarnation of evil.

We see this in our own individual lives. We see people who are faced with a difficult time in their lives:

They don’t see it as a problem of balancing, but rather as a problem of finding the quickest, most forceful way to push away from this difficulty.

When we end up on the other side, bruising ourselves (and perhaps other people around us), we don’t see that it is our own actions which have led to this situation.

I am not saying that evil should be ignored, that we should just lie passive, although non-violent resistance (a la Gandhi) is perhaps one of the most effective balancing acts in history (in terms of mass movements) because people just sit down and refused to be pushed away.

People sit down in the Middle and refuse

  1. not only to be pushed away in the direction that the oppressors push you,
  2. but also refuse to push back against this aggression.

The Indians refused

  1. not only to be pushed by the British into whatever a colonial power wants of their subjects (pay this tax, do that for me, you have this right but you don’t have this right),
  2. but they also refused to push back in the same manner, with the same type of force.

This was genius insight, even if the British type of pushing was different from what was attempted by those behind a person like Hitler.

The push from those standing behind a Hitler is essentially different, since that type of oppressor is actively engaged in throwing others off the rope-bridge.

If my rope-bridge analogy strikes a chord with you, you may come to understand many of the current issues (tragedies, really) we now see in the Islamic world.

Most of these issues continue as an extreme pushing-away from whatever is done by the invading-crusader army or whatever name is given to the NATO, UN or US forces, which (in turn) started as an extreme pushing-against a small minority of

delusional minds who schemed to shake the rope-bridge by cutting off the planks under their own feet in order to plunge others into the abyss below.

Shoving others aside  because

  1. we want to stabilize the bridge &
  2. we are sure we know how to stabilize the bridge

turns out to have the opposite effect in reality.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the aggressor to feel justified in his aggression because people soon start pushing back (cf. self-fulfilling prophecy).

We have people pushing back and forth and the whole bridge swings ever more violently simply because neither side is willing to calm down to achieve balance.

Why? Because the Middle-Way is the most difficult way and it appears to be the most irrational way:

When the others are still pushing, you can’t just sit down (of course)!

However, this is the only way to go forward. This will require a lot of patience as people need to be educated into becoming aware of the Middle-Way, of the Golden-Path.

This path is not paved, it is not cut in stone so that we can just step on it and go straight.

No, living is a much more unstable path and we make it more unstable with each attempt to change it radically.

So how do we change it? Through small improvements, small Changes-into-the-Better: kaizen (改善) trying to bring this rope-bridge

  • not to a stand-still (that will never be possible),
  • but rather to a point where it’s swinging gently

so that we can continue on our journey in this life.

insane by name

Which way through the gate to reach the Sky?

Which way through the gate to reach the Sky?

At this point, you may feel that it’s already too late to stop. You may be thinking right now:

“After giving so much of yourself to these dialogues, which seem to converge on a notion of truth and religion, this is becoming rather dangerous”.

Hitting upon the truth could be dangerous because there are several comfortable lies (or comfortable memes), false notions which a lot of people would rather still entertain, unfortunately.

I feel that I’ve gone far enough to earn myself the ire of many other people.

I do this with the knowledge that the dialogue will be very short, between me and these people.

I still hope that you can acknowledge that what I call “your comfortable lie” is a dialogue you have with yourself and not with me; the dialogue with me would be slightly different. I know that

the dialogue with me involves me throwing down (nageru 投げる) some ideas from your comfortable life.

Telling people something that is true always involves a certain risk and you get a bit worried:

Can everybody take it?

Or perhaps I’m crazy… That’s another possibility. If I’m crazy then you don’t need to worry about what I say:

This guy talks to himself so much, he’s obviously not normal.

Here you go, that’s your get-out-of-jail-pass (the jail of my dialogues): I’m insane.

It’s interesting that we think ourselves quite knowledgeable about insane people.

  • We do know a fair bit, although only in a limited field (psychiatry).
  • We don’t know enough about what we would call “the sane people”, but we think we know a lot about sane people because we think we’re sane and we know ourselves.

Let me tell you (as someone who thinks he’s insane in some respects) that your sanity and

the definition that you attach to sanity are cropped up from the dialogues you’ve had with many other people.

Is it sane to jump from a bridge? It depends, of course, but, in general, people would agree that it’s not a good idea. You might be bungee-jumping, then calling this sane or insane depends on how much risk you can take.

Am I offering the same kind of bet? That by hearing about some true meanings, you’d be jumping off a bridge?

Perhaps.

I’m building this from scratch and I am insane in some ways.

Insanely preoccupied with finding the meaning, not only of my life, but also of any human being.

Why do I do this? Because I like to think of myself as a rational being: Reasoned insanity.

Incidentally, in case you’re wondering about my username, it means “the nutty guy” al zarghit.

Gone. The lights are on, but nobody’s home.

I think everyone is crazy in their own way.

I’m telling you that the truth pursued by an insane person could be accessed by everybody through a short dialogue with themselves, where they’re true to themselves and honest with themselves about certain comfortable lies which we have about ourselves and which should be discarded.

Comfortable lies such as

We are good people, we are not responsible for the bad stuff which happens around us; we are not responsible to do anything in this world except to move along and entertain ourselves from time to time.

Entertainment is good, laughter is good, but entertainment alone (as the norm is now) puts us in a quandary.

What kind of a quandary do we find ourselves in when so much entertainment is available just around the corner of the next click?

The danger is that

  1. we could forget about the truth, which can be discovered by a person individually &
  2. we might think that the only truth can be discovered by everybody moving together.

But we know our truth, we know why we’re alive, and we know the meaning of our lives.

Well, what is it?

Who’s asking this question? Only an insane person, of course. Al zarghit.

Why do I talk about this? Why do I feel that the silences and the dialogues which I had in my head should/need be shared?

Because I think that we need a new religion,

a new way of thinking about how to live in this world and to remember the meaning of our being in this world.

I feel that I can be a teacher, and that anybody can be a teacher.

What kind of teacher? A teacher who explains the way.

Quoting from memory, if you’ll allow me (Tohei Koichi (藤平光一) No. 21 The Way of Explaining (説道)):

 He who thinks only of his own Self-Interest cannot Become-Settled in the Great Way.

利己の人にて大道を成就する者はない。

If you have Met-Acquired the Great Way of Sky-Earth,

If you have become Aware of the Principle of Sky and Earth,

This you must Always make-Known to the People of the World,

That is the Meaningful-Task that has been Given to you by the Sky and the Earth.

天地の理を悟り、天地の大道を会得したならば、

これを普く世の人に知らしめる義務を天地より与えられている。

Begone the thought that We don’t have the Power to Help People.

我に人を救う力なしという無かれ。

One-Day Learning means One-Day Teaching.

一日学べば既に一日の師である。

This World is Full of People who have Lost their Way and who Suffer in their Minds.

世には、道に迷い、心の病に苦しむものが充満している。

Let us Use up All Our Power in Explaining what is Right to the People and for the People.

我が全力を尽くし、人の為に正しきを説こう。

So I like to think of myself as a teacher, up to a point of course.

Why only up to a point? Because I’m also insane and also lost sometimes. However, I belong to the minority of people

  1. conscious that we’re lost,
  2. accepting that we’re lost &
  3. realizing that we cannot be lost in this Great-Way.

We can all walk this way.