"Let your mind be as vast as the sky, as deep as the ocean, and as high as the highest mountain."
Philosophy is essential for understanding the eastern arts of Aikido and Zen Brush. There is a balance in the connection between thinking and doing: if one only thinks there is no agency and if one only acts the agency is thoughtless and uncultivated. But what most of us are after is thoughtful agency. After all, Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living.
At her students’ request, Dr. Perry agreed to offer one class a month to help students digest the deep philosophy of Aikido. The first text read was Takemusu Aiki translated by John Stevens. After this, but before acting on the students’ request to read the Kojiki, we spent one year reading several books on Shinto. Then another year and a half we worked through Book 1 of the Kojiki. Now we will turn our attention to Remembering O-sensei, a book Dr. Perry edited from her interviews with those who knew O-sensei.
"Now and again, it is necessary to seclude yourself among deep mountain and hidden valleys to restore your link to the source of life." ~ Morihei Ueshiba
Receptive Landscaping is a term I have created to name the practice of altering the landscape by harnessing the natural tendencies of nature to do the work rather than taking shovel to the ground. For instance, to create some flatter places suitable for outside Aikido training, the use of cut timbers (by the forest service) strategically placed as guiding structures encouraged the heavier elements of rocks and soil to stay on the upper-side of the timbers during rains, winds and snowmelt. As the elements move downwards, then, a flatter plain is created by the collection of debris on the up side of the timbers while the lighter elements continue to flow downwards as they should.
Also, by collecting pine cones from the ground we made seed balls with pine cone seeds and clay which we then threw into treeless areas. The clay coating protects the seed so that the rains could “plant” the seeds when they arrived.
At the end of 2018, by tying Japanese bamboo twine around a massive tree stump that was disintegrating, we managed to save it and its massive roots which hold the mountainside intact. Thus we work to stem the erosion of the hillside.
These are just a few of the ways we are studying the natural movement of the elements and educating ourselves in ways to work with it. When you watch the powers of nature the principles of yin and yang become evident. Finding ways to work with these forces are another aspect of Aikido study which I view as a kind of Practical Philosophy since we examine the theory by observation and experimentation in the natural world. - S. Perry
Quiet your body, nurture your soul...
At Aiko Institute we have practiced many kinds of meditations: breathing meditation, bell meditation, walking meditation, kotodama (or voiced) meditation, candle or incense gazing meditation, even Aikido is said to be a moving meditation.
Basically, meditation is a method of slowing down and relaxing, something we all need to practice. It is common knowledge that adding relaxation to your life helps to reduce stress which in turn helps in making us healthy and happy individuals.
Come and join us for a Meditation class. Many of us use chairs for seated meditation but sitting on the floor is encouraged. On nice days we will be meditating in the beauty of the garden at:
Aiko House, 641 Ridgefield St, Claremont, CA
Please leave a donation for this class.