This weekend is important to at least three major religions. For probably the first time in history, the faithful are unable to gather to celebrate its significance. The scripture readings for these few days leading to Easter Sunday include an event that one Pastor observed, is similar to the current global situation. The instruction that was given to the Hebrews, through Moses, to avoid the last plague in Egypt was to stay home, pray as a family, take only what you can carry, and wait for the angel of death to pass over their home; a story of deliverance that is pivotal to more than one religion. While the similarity drawn by the Pastor is an interesting one, it isn't the religious or spiritual significance that I wanted to share.
Given the current situation, it is quite possible we may not have an Aikido Warriors' Camp this summer. During the camp, we focus on the attitude of the warrior - in this case, the samurai. While we marvel at their skills and prowess (a result of self-discipline, honour, and respect), we often forget that they serve their shogun, daimyo, the state, the country - basically serving with their lives for a higher cause or purpose. Mindful that each day may be their last, choices and decisions become more purposeful, lifestyles are trimmed of excess, relationships are cherished with more accountability and sincerity. Or at least, they try.
Being aware of the transience of life will cause us to make certain decisions in our life. Some may perceive it as dire, focusing on the doom and gloom of its inevitability. On the other hand, ensuring that oneself and one's life are in order on a daily basis can actually be very liberating. Everything will be in its place, no thought or gesture will be wasted, and everything is resolved as much and as soon as is possible. It is, no doubt, a challenge to eliminate the clutter (physically and mentally) to align one's thoughts, actions, and words purposefully, constructively, and conscientiously. However, aren't things always lighter without the weight of extra baggage?
Quite similarly, how does one know if two people are in love? No matter how each feels, good or bad, happy or sad, sick or healthy, (or "trapped" in isolation) the responses and actions will always be in support of and for the sake and well being of the other.
The observance of the Passover and the message of Easter is one of HOPE.
In trust, through the dark, we move ever forward, looking for the light of the dawn.
In trust, we stay at home, waiting for the danger to pass over.
In trust, we act, not for my sake, but for the other.
To you and your family: Have a glorious and meaningful Easter!
With gratitude, peace, and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei
Copyright April 2020: Rafael Oei)
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