The Study and Teachings Saturday Class April 11th

The Study and Teachings

A Quick Review of the April 11thClass 


Richard Moon, Aikido 6thdan

Ame no Uki Hashi  : The “Floating Bridge of Heaven”

Week one:        Oxygenate– Pranayama – Breath work. Introduceactivate.

Week two:        Activate IntroduceAppreciate.

Week three:      Appreciate, and the Floating Bridge of Heavenintroduce the Unified Field of Aiki.

Week four:        “Unified Field of Aiki”as “Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven.”

Please allow me to repeat these several concepts from last week’s notes, as they are so essential to the process. The opening was the same as in week one. We started focusing on the essence of direct connection with what some might call your inner teacher, what some might call your higher self, maybe the concept of god works for some. The words fall short, but i will describe our study, as the experience of unifying the creative and receptive forces that manifest the creation. 

I favor defining the study as, a direct connection with the Aiki-Kami. I describe myself as a direct and personal student (deshi) to, the Aiki-Kami. A teacher may help you. However, to accomplish YOUR bestowed mission, you must study directly with, and listen to, the whisperings of, the Aiki-Kami. This I define as a: “spirit of harmony with the totality”, or “unity with the divine, the combined creative and receptive forces of the universe. In the founder’s words, the essential practice of Aikido comes forth from standing on the ‘Floating Bridge of Heaven’, infusing the earthly realm with heavenly powers. Out of experiencing the universe as a unified field of the creative and receptive, matter and consciousness, mundane and divine, yin and yang, the physical/earthly realm is transformed.

This path, begins by unifying attention with experience. Aikido often references unification of mind and body. In yoga, it is spoken of as the union of the individual with the universal. 

In the transformation of experience, one begins to approach the state, that O sensei described as, “I am the universe.” Experientially, one’s individual identity unifies with the totality. The feeling of isolation or separateness transforms into a feeling of connectedness and unity produces power or ability beyond the norm.

I am a story-teller and these are my stories. You must come to understand them through your own experience, to realize if they are true for you.

As we went into week two: As always, we started with the extraordinary listening breath, listening to the impulse to breathe. This practice connects our attention with our experience, and is the path that leads us, as it were, to the finer dimensions of awareness. The next phase of the practice is, seeking the source of the impulse to breathe. It is hardly possible to emphasize strongly enough, this is experiential, not intellectual! Although knowing about the practices is a doorway into the experience, you must cross the threshold into feeling. 

When I teach ‘Aikido in three easy lessons’ the first lesson is ‘Feel where you are’. I like to call it appreciating what you feel, to imply the extraordinary attention, we give to something we value. Appreciating the experience, of blending the attention, with the realm of experience/feeling implies feeling what changes. It means, not simply being affected, not just feeling different, more importantly, noticing, how do you feel different. Through blending, attention and experience become one, affecting your state of connection to yourself, and the universe, generating a state of unity with the totality, or divine realm. The Founder used the phrase, “one plus one equals one.”

We revisited Oxygenation, drawing on O sensei’s teaching of the, ‘Sangen’,the three origins, using the ‘audible’ breath as the manifest, the ‘silent’ as the hidden, and the ‘invisible’ breath to explore the divine realm or origin. Each finer sense of breath takes us into a finer dimension of awareness. Only practicing this, will tell you if it is a true story. And we then did a short practice of misogi breathing. This is a breath of purification. 

Beyond technique, O sensei was showing us through his art, how to manifest the divine on earth, and, create a beautiful world.

True budo is a work of love. It is a work of giving life to all beings, and not killing or struggling with each other. Love is the guardian deity of everything. Nothing can exist without it. Aikido is the realization of love.

After oxygenation, we moved into the second practice of Yoga in three easy lessons, activation or movement. As a doorway to movement, using the, ‘Hachiriki’ – eight powers, we began to work on activation. As the founder said, “Eight forces sustain creation: 

                                                Movement and stillness, 

                                                Solidification and fluidity, 

                                                Extension and contraction, 

                                                Unification and division. 

And we played with tension and release, contracting and expanding. Then, contracting just very slightly, and relaxing further, so that each iteration takes you deeper into the experience of its opposite. We then began isolating parts and then connecting them together as part of unity and division

Next, we introduced the three stretches of, Yoga in Three Easy Lessons’, as a shortcut to the majority of benefits of the asanas, or postures that one learns in Hatha yoga.

We created practices, combining expansion and contraction, unification and division,with the three stretches flexing the spine: forward and backward, side to side, and, turning, twisting the spine. Then we practiced the three articulations: the head, the shoulders, and the torso. First isolating or dividing the body, at the head, then shoulders then torso, then unifying two, and then all three. We began combining and integrating the three stretches – with and into the three articulations. Then combining the divisions of wrist, elbow, shoulders; head, shoulders, and torso; hip, knee, ankle, in different combination and variations.

We explored moving from what are called asanas, in yoga, the postures or poses, into the realm of flowing movements. Combing movement with the breathing practices, asanas with pranayama, we enter the realm of kriyas. We continued unifying these aspects of movement into what I call, ‘the extraordinary listening movement’. We emphasized listening to moving in harmony with, the somatic awareness, the urge to move. All these aspects combine the known with deeper and subtler aspects of the self, of being. Combined with the extraordinary listening breath, this takes us further into the power of the floating bridge of heaven, the experience of the oneness of creation.

This gradually and gently flowed into the exploration we commonly think of as dance. We put music on, to encourage the movement of the ‘ki’, chi’, or ‘prana’, ‘the vitality of the system’, as we seek through movement, what brings us joy. Combining all the pieces of breath and movement, through whatever feels good or the somatic awareness, we have practiced allowing the ‘kami’s, guidance, exploring, bringing to the fore, health or ‘wholeness. We played with dividing and unifying the different motions and the different articulations expressing and unifying the emotional and psychic energies or ‘prana’, ‘astral’, or energy body’. This led us to the entry into what i have termed, Aiki-Dance. As in Aikido practice, we harmonize with the ‘attack’, in Aiki-Dance we harmonize with the joy of movement, or universal flow, as it summons us. We brought movement back into stillness. Next week we’ll explore the unity of the two. We then closed the class with a short dialogue. 

The videos of all the classes are available and for your convenience we have posted them on the In closing I repeat this from class I.

These are practices that you can play with in your own way anywhere or anytime that you feel an interest, or when the Kami calls you to do so. If you do play with any of these ideas or practices, and i hope you will do so, on your own, in your own way, I encourage you to take a few notes. If you choose to, it’s fine to use your electronic devices. If I may, I encourage you to write freehand. Also, if you care to, please share your notes with me. If you would, please, let me know if it’s appropriate for us to share them with the community. If so we will post them on the Create a Beautiful World site. As we hear each other’s experiences, we potentially learn to expand our own perception and our own practice and our own experience.

Always open to your thoughts and questions.
“Create a beautiful world”
                    O sensei

p.s.What follows is a section of a book published in 1932 by the publishing company Nito Shoin (日東書院) called “The Spirit Leaps Forward – Emergence of the Superhuman” (心霊の飛躍– 現出の超人”/ “Shinrei no Hiyaku – Genshutsu no Chojin”). In this excerpt from that work  Mr. Miura interviews Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, who was then using the name Moritaka (守高).

 “However strong the opponent is, when I stand to face them the power to overcome them, power that I don’t myself understand, comes forth.” 

When one reaches the level of Moritaka (Morihei) Ueshiba in Kendo, one’s goal is not to conquer or kill others. Further, it is not simply a matter of protecting one’s own body. Mr. Ueshiba’s Kendo is not a process of competition of the physical body, it is something transcendental of the ethereal body. The Way of the Kami leading to a shining inner light. While training in the sword he often had the experience of becoming surrounded with a purple light, his breath becoming one with all things. That is to say, reaching the extremities of Kendo, said to be the realm in which one enters the consciousness of the spirit surpassing the physical body. 

It is because Mr. Ueshiba’s Budo has actually reached this realm of the Kami that the forms are not set. 

Humans living in the physical body can also open themselves to consciousness of the soul as the ethereal body as they progress mentally, and as they further refine themselves they can open themselves to consciousness of the spirit. Further, consciousness of the soul or spirit surpasses the normal consciousness of human beings, and brings with it great power and wisdom.   Thanks to Chris Li