©™ 2003 - 2007: OWH International - Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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Oct 30, 2007

"Transcend the realm of life and death,
and then you will be able to make your way
calmly and safely through any crisis that confronts you. "

O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

I constantly talk about how a samurai is prepared to die at any time. That each day is lived fully, responsibly, and in service for a higher purpose: constantly practising, in top condition to meet any challenge. In preparing for death, the focus is on life.

Physical life is fragile. We try to make sense of everything we do, and of everything that happens to us. We rationalise, justify, and make what we consider are the right decisions, so that our lives, family, possessions, and what we believe to be true, are preserved and protected.

When we practice a martial art, it is often for self-defence, for our health, to preserve life, and in some cases, to maintain lawful order. Practising a martial way like Aikido is also to know how to live and celebrate life to the fullest. The focus is being, and living, in harmony.

During this season, we are reminded that life is transient; that life is short. On All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween, we celebrate an evening where evil is let loose before All Saints' Day, the next day; hence the name, on the eve of the day honouring all the saints in heaven. That is followed by All Souls Day, when we remember our friends and family who have passed away; and then Remembrance Day, honouring those who have fallen in battle.

We remember and honour these great souls because we believe they have made a difference in the world. We are inspired by their example and strive to live in a similar way in the hope that we will also live inspired lives.

Recently we attended the funeral of our childrens' school friend; passed away at age 8. Being mindful of death, aware and conscious of life's brevity, alters one's perception of life. Suddenly, every day is precious, every moment valuable, every encounter meaningful, and every thought, word, and deed is measured.

Practising a martial way that is Budo embraces death's inevitability and transcends it. When one reflects deeper into its philosophy, practising Aikido conditions the student mentally, physically, and spiritually to harmonise with life. Every thought, word, and deed is measured. Facing death, we realise the truth of life. And then it is possible to transcend the challenges of life.

Have a blessed All Saints Day, and a Happy Halloween!

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright October 2007: Rafael Oei)

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