Thursday, July 29, 2010

What do you Embody?

If I tell you I smell smoke, you might be inspired to check for a fire. Similarly, if I tell you I do not smell smoke, you might ignore what is smoldering. It is somehow an obvious matter that what thoughts and beliefs you hold impact your experience of life directly. So, what if I told you this:

Aikido unifies mind and body.

What would you do?

I've met a lot of people here and there working to bring body and mind back together again. Years and years go by, and the practice has no end in site. Often, one would not necessarily say the martial ability improves significantly in that time or even that there are health benefits, but that's okay: If you ask them, they will tell you that those are not the points of their practice anyway. In fact, I've heard more than once that someone practices as if he is old--very slow movement, hardly muscle use at all (thanks to a like-minded uke), and without the threat of pain--so that when he is old, he will be ready...

Still, these ideas persist, and I wonder: When will they know that they were done?

But is this to say that mind and body were never separate? If this is your belief, then perhaps you read the above gleefully as we mocked another's practice together. Perhaps you practice hard, improving strength, developing focused technique, tossing highly resistant like-minded ukes about with resolve. That fluffy philosophical nonsense? Ridiculous... Fortunately, that wasn't part of your practice anyway.

And as these ideas persist, I wonder: When will they know that they were done?

In the first case the mind is not unified with the body, while in the second case the body is not unified with the mind. Still, mind and body were always one, so what is their division?

Diligent practice with the mind and enduring practice with the body are the eventual solution for most.

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