©™ 2003 - 2005: OWH International - Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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July 15, 2005

"Those who are enlightened never stop forging themselves.
The most perfect actions echo the patterns found in nature."

O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

As we enjoy our summer, looking for opportunities to "veg-out" and "chill" in the summer heat, here is something that extends the thought from the previous e-Reflection sent last month.

It is interesting that Aikido has often been compared to Zen. There are articles and books associating O Sensei and Aikido with Zen because the intended outward expression of Aikido is very Zen-like. O Sensei never claimed any association with Zen or Buddhism; although he was deeply religious, and what he had achieved exemplified Allness and Nothingness. Of course the irony in striving to be Zen-like is very un-Zen.

Teaching a student the other day, he expressed how he couldn't wait for the day when he would be as good as I am - and even better than me. He would then be able to stop learning and practising. I told him that even though I am his teacher, I am still learning and practising everyday. To stop would mean that everything stops - to stop living, to stop growing and to stop being part of life.

My son said a similar thing to me recently - but only that he wanted to be better than me. My response was that I look forward to the day when he exceeds my abilities and expectations - and to always remember to continue learning and practising.

Look at the life of any mystic, saint, or any exemplary and successful person - the people we strive to be like or emulate. O Sensei's quote above reflects their lives and the lives of many martial artists; and how they have been able to do what they do so well and so naturally. In fact, a famous musician once reflected on how hard he had worked for years just to be able to play so naturally and effortlessly. It was the ability to express beyond thought; executing the complex and difficult effortlessly: flowing freely, spontaneously and naturally.

In a similar vein, I am reminded of what my Sensei used to say: that the best time to practise is when one doesn't feel like practising.

This is similar to what a Zen master had said about doing daily Zazen - seated meditation - that daily repetitive practice of a task has nothing to do with whether the practitioner likes the task, or not. Repetitive practice is just that - repetitive practice: it forges the person. This eventually leads to perfect actions echoing with the naturalness of nature.

What are "perfect actions"? Maybe that's a topic for another reflection.

See you in the Dojo.

In harmony
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright July 2005: Rafael Oei)

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