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Rain from Heaven

Notes of life, evolution and spirit by Bjorn Saw

Notes of life, evolution and spirit

Rain from Heaven Living Aikido Training in Aikido will give you more insight into yourself. You can develop it very far. By learning about blending and becoming more sensitive and grounded you’ll be more at home in your own body. By trying to understand the interaction you will be able to draw parallels to your engagement to life in general. The reason to blend as opposed to clash is self preserving as well

others. Strong and soft at the same time. Do not underestimate what regular training can do. But it does take training. Development of your soul doesn’t come by itself. You need to form it into what you yourself want. This training happens in a relationship with others. Everything is mirrored in the interaction you have with the world. How much you know will be reflected in the quality of your relationships.

as deeply satisfying. Practicing continu-

Living Aiki is the tool we use to forge and

ously creates a body awareness that will

develop human beings. Insight points to

sense what is appropriate and what’s not.

clear understanding of the principles in-

Since Aiki is based on peace, that will be


our fundamental stance or attitude. Becoming more secure, more confident and with a more coordinated and integrated body with mind, you will feel happier, untroubled and with greater ability to plan and foresee

Universal human principles that needs to be correctly incorporated for us to be fully functioning to our greatest potential. Daily practice will allow for this.

your life. Aikido is the platform for your own self-discovery. Body, mind and spirit is what makes up your whole self, your soul. Integrated you will stand alone with


Under the Rose-Apple Tree In his childhood, the future Buddha-to-be, Gautama the prince was laid to rest under

way out of suffering, to peace beyond measure. So speaking it out he proclaimed the law. Beating his own drum.

a rose-apple tree while his parents and kins-folk tended the orchard. At peace within and without he spontaneously awakened to a clarity of sight, seeing all things just as they were. This became the precursor that eventually lead him to abandon his family for a life of austerity as a wandering shaven monk. On the day prior to his grand enlightenment years later he recalled this short incident as a child and saw in it a way forward; a pleasant abiding in the here and now. So with his mind fully resolved he folded his garments and seated himself at the foot of a tree intending not to get up until finding final liberation. That night at the rise of the morning

Takemusu Explained 武産 Takemusu can be said to be the result of long and hard practice (Shuren 修練) of Aiki (合氣 blending) that "gives birth" (産 Musu) to Take, martial qualities such as, Rectitude (義 Gi), Courage (勇 Yuu), Benevolence (仁 Jin), Respect (礼 Rei), Honesty (誠 Makoto or 信 Shin), Honor (誉 Yo) and Loyalty (忠 Chuu). These values are associated with Bushidō (武⼠士道) the Japanese way of the warrior. Noble and valorous these qualities depicts the fruition of personal maturity and responsibility inher-

star the Buddha awakened.

ent in the human potential. Takemusu,

The Buddha thought about it. Why bother?

action, intuitive response and creative ac-

Too abstruse, too difficult, too fine to be

tion in the practice and play in the art of

conveyed. The Dharma he'd discovered

Aikido, it is a maturation of an ideal human

was too fine, too subtle to relate. He con-

engagement in relationship with oneself,

sidered doing nothing, taking the easy way

with others and with society at large. It is a

out; a pleasant abiding in the here and

spiritual development that embraces hu-

now. After all, he was an avid meditator en-

manity in its totality. Through dedicated

joying the stillness of the forest.

training and lifelong interest in human and

But he couldn't keep it to himself. Too precious to be kept private. He had found a

more than just being the spontaneous inter-

spiritual evolution we come to see that the quality of engagement we have with others lends itself to a different kind of experi-


ence. A birth of a communion and shared

or like in Daito Ryu) O Sensei changed it to

values that is never seen in the isolation of

become pro-active. So he would initiate

the private and merely personal domain of

the Shomen movement to bring out the re-

life. Takemusu then, is the birth of a shared

sponse from the opponent. In this way we

identity; a realization and creation of our in-

are able to stay with the opponent from

herent unity and oneness. This is seen in

early on, taking the initiative away from the

the dojo on a smaller scale in our joyful

attacker. This understanding is crucial in

and dynamic interaction in training, some-

practicing awase, or blending in Aikido. It

times to a greater or lesser degree, but nev-

is a natural response just as when you

ertheless it can be tasted and recognized.

reach out to shake someone's hand, they

修練 Shuren - the polishing and kneading of one's spirit, forging it into something strong and bright through sincere and dedicated training. The meaning of Shuren is training or discipline.The word carries a strong connotation of serious training. The first character shu can also be read as asamaru and means to hold firmly. Ren can also be read as neru meaning to knead or polish.

respond in kind almost automatically. It is an inherent, pre-conscious reflex of the body. Someone smiles at you and you smile back. Someone puts a fist in your face and you pull back or raise your hands. There's a wonderful secret in this that is deeply human and spiritual. It's all about a relationship and being alive to the world around us. Once we are keenly aware we'll be able to read the situation and respond or initiate appropriately. Once we're fully awake this will come naturally to us. A perfect response in any situation.

Yamabiko, the Echo of the Mountain

The event lending itself to a match that completes and fulfills. Yamabiko reflects

In Iwama we learned of the notion of

the harmony of the world in detail. It is ulti-

Yamabiko ⼭山彦 the mountain echo, that re-

mately a deeply spiritual perspective and a

fers to the natural response in the blending

perfect way to engage with others.

in Aikido. In the dojo we train this interaction. We "call out" and receive an answer. We initiate and blend with the response. Instead of waiting, for example, for a Shomen (frontal attack) (like in the old days 3

A Unified Perspective Spiritual insight open ones perception for an underlying vision of a common playing field. The spirit, that which we are in essence before thought and identification, is not divided into selves. We share this field equally. A spiritual revelation or insight, an awakening experience, can reveal this one-

Now, the more of us that want to share this playing field has a responsibility toward each other to care and nurture this very fine realization. Since time is precious we need to be sensitive to the time we share together. Communication highlights it and supports it, making it come alive between us in rare intimacy.

ness to us but to inhabit this place we

Understanding is the bridge to the un-

need to re-train our focus. We need to lin-

known, asking or questioning is the key.

ger on the more subtle and sensitive part

Find your own center and you'll find every-

of our experience. Instead of spending

body else there too.

time on the surface, on the choppy waters of stirring emotions and thoughts, we need to remain at the calm of depth. We need to become sensitive to the depths of our own

Dynamic Aiki

being and communicate and meet others

Some sensei spoke of the point between

at this level. Sometimes silence helps us to

two diamonds meeting perfectly. Two dy-

return to calmer waters. Resist the tempta-

namic forces meeting with a balancing

tion to rise to the surface and engage su-

point right in between, out of which move-


ment easily and naturally flows. A flow di-

The depth inside must also be revealed to be unitary; that is, the same space as the other is occupying. A mutual field of existence. From this unified perspective all things are revealed, no secrets can remain hidden. Bearing in mind the nature of love that permeates this relationship we surrender our self will and learn to trust and enjoy the sacrifice involved.

rected and expressed through Aiki, with intent to throw or to control the opponent. This is not my way! As we come together our diamonds melts and flow into eachother. Or rather there is no diamond-head to meet. It's like a spear stabbing into empty space. But space is not void, it's full of potential. It's like ice moving into a furnace, melting in its proximity. Not being two in the outset you move with the other, drawing him out of himself, despite of him4

self. Joining, harnessing, blending and capturing his flow. As you soften to enter you open yourself to his influence, allowing a two-way flow of energies, entering and exiting at the same time. Instead of being two balancing around a centre point, we move as one, execute together, uke and nage in mutual engagement with no winner or looser. Neutralizing aggression through non-violence and unity rather than through a balance between opposites with perfect execution. This union is spiritual in nature and demands oneness in being. So we practice sensitivity to the union and not so much to the point in between us. We flow into each-other becoming one organism where aggression is self defeating.

Ability to Respond Responsibility, or the ability to respond, is a fundamental requirement in spiritual attainment. Learning to respond is crucial in Aikido. Without it we'd be too late in all interactions. It requires an answer before thought. Like an echo, an immediate reply will come easily to the trained mind. Since there is no real silence but from your inner self there will always be something that will call for you to reply to. Sometimes silence is a perfect response but most interactions requires movement in word or act. Perfect response is beautiful to behold. It is love practiced. It is more than being able to think on your feet and being witty and sharped tongued. A deeply spiritual response is at the same time shocking and

A Marriage of Two Aiki, a meeting of two becoming one. Yet with an intrinsic dynamic bipolar exchange. A third movement arises out of two being one. This is called "birth". Something new is being born when we meet and move beyond opposites. This is possible as I am already you. Seeing the non-dual self we can train our interaction to blend eortlessly. This is not one doing and one receiving but a joint adventure of receiving and giving.

fitting for it perfectly matches the given act or word. It lays bare falseness and insincerity. It recognizes pure intent and genuineness. Training this immediate reply will highlight the importance of always responding to ones circumstances without delay. This applies to mundane matters as well as to deep spiritual truths. Without this responsibility communication falters. With an immediate response you suddenly come alive to all things around you and it carries the seed of miraculous development between people.


Spirit of Aikido

Holding a Perspective

Kihon 基本 means basics, fundamental

Whatever we practice, whether that be free

and source. But it can also have the added

flow or basics, we must not loose our per-

meaning by exchanging the first kanji to

spective. Usually our ki no nagare is as

気, making it the source of ki, where ki

good or bad as our kihon. Flaws in one car-

comes from, or originates from. Ki 気 spirit,

ries over into the other. It's not so much

air or breath is the movement Aikido de-

that we need more training in flow or ba-

rives its name from. So where does it

sics if we won't learn to appreciate a cer-

come from? Where does it originate? If

tain perspective we must hold in our own

Aikido's spirit is known by its beautiful

body as well as mind. It's the perspective

flow, where does it take its inspiration

that includes the other or others. An awake

from? Why are we always told to go back

quality that we usually have when we're in-

to basics, to kihon? Where we break up

terested in another. Then we pay close at-

the flow into step by step mechanics.

tention to him or her. We establish a rela-

What is it that we can find there? Even be-

tionship based on mutual awareness of the

fore the one-two-three of step by step in-

other. When we forget this fundamental hu-

struction is there a source or fountainhead

man connection we bog down in tech-

out of which movement arises? Can we lo-

nique or lock our body up in tension. Being

cate or be in touch with the very beginning

uke, recipient of an attack, we pay close

of motion prior to intention? Can we feel

attention to distance and place because of

the place where motion comes into being?

the martial application. Sometimes we mix

Can we be so still? If motion and flow de-

up who's uke and who's nage because we

scribes the beauty of Aikido, maybe still-

loose the distinction in the martial setting.

ness and peace can be said to be the foun-

But as long as we know who's who the in-

dation out of which it arises. The zero

teraction can flow easily once we learn to

ground of being before action emerges. Is

hold the perspective. Be aware of the

this then the Spirit? Inherent in the move-

temptation to rule when things gets easy.

ment and always prior to the movement.

Remain at heart intention-less and let the

Where we rise from and also return to.

situation unfold naturally. 9


Operate by Stealth Before invading another country we send our spies in. They infiltrate the enemies nerve centers without being noticed. At the time of full scale attack they cut the supply lines and destroy the electrical power stations. Without their essential power supply the enemy loose all their counter force and are easily overrun. Without any delay we occupy the main crossroads and key locations, hold the high ground and send our spies even further ahead, to infiltrate the very heart of resistance. Without firing even one shot we flood the enemy land with our own forces, occupying it to squeeze out any remaining opposition. In one well planned and well executed strike we manage to neutralize and overtake our opponent without much loss on either side.

sponding soul or self is changed or transformed simultaneously with death of the body. The personality or the historical self has been called the soul transmigrates into new realms; heavenly or hellish, bardo or after-life, or into new life, re- born again to live yet another time, depending on choice, willingly and knowingly or ignorantly and blindly depending on ones karma; good or bad actions in previous life. Going through a passageway of subtle realms of consciousness just to come out on the other side. This belief in a transmigrating soul is pleasant to the believer. As day leads to night we fall asleep safe in the knowing that morning will come yet again. But isn't this the very description of samsara, the never ending cycle, the wheel of life and death? Yes so it can be true. A truthful expose of how things work and that you very well can experience it as described. But that's not the point is it?

Death is an Illusion

Stepping o the wheel is the goal of Buddhist practice. To the Christian, "Death has

When the illusion of your own mortality van-

lost its sting" resonates. Eternal life begins

ishes you'll find that there is no death. We

here and now, not when the body drops.

believe in death, and many also choose to

Bodily death will be a wake up call for

believe in its natural follow-on, re-birth or

many but we can't aord to wait till that

reincarnation. So all thoughts and beliefs

happens. We need to wake up now, and

in reincarnation is based on the notion of

be re-born within this lifetime.

death. Yes, the body passes away and therefore many conclude that a corre7

The soul is shaped by what it looks at. If it

not as many. I see myself in you yet I am

looks at the body and mind it will identify

one. One body, one self.

with time and the corporeal body, if it looks at spirit it will associate itself with the eternal quality of our ground nature of being itself. Being anchored in a firm conviction/

Essays on Spirit

belief/ faith/knowing yet not-knowing in

I'd like to convey a secret that exists, as

the immortal, the deathless supernatural

true to me as today is. Wherewith I live my

Spirit of being, the "I am", beyond soul,

life happy with my lot. It is essential and

self and body will supersede the convic-

without which I could not go on. All people

tions and beliefs in re-incarnation. The res-

live by it, closer than their own breath, but

urrection has already happened! We need

at large misses the concrete reality it be-

not train towards it. We may and we can

stows; a life in eternity. Eternity is not just

but stepping o the wheel is such a lesson

a fanciful idea but a vibrant reality underly-

in freedom here and now that nothing can

ing all of our experience. It's a gateway to

compare. Death has been conquered.

all mysteries, known and still unknown.

Death has been seen through. Death as

Life can and is lived without any recollec-

we know it has been seen as an illusion.

tion of it, without any knowledge or grasp.

Death is no more. Death has been swal-

One can easily live a life without ever com-

lowed up! By this token re-birth and its al-

ing to know it. Many live normal, happy

lies have been defeated.

lives, never ever needing to know. Yet I ven-

Theories and experiences of subtle realms of consciousness are true, but only to the living, not to the dead. I am in every living being, in every particle of matter, gross or subtle, I am. There has never been a time when I haven't lived. I am life itself. You and me is no other than my Self, eternal and deathless spirit. You are one person that lives forever as you,

ture to say that with knowledge of it we become immortal. We suddenly transform into human vehicles informed by the Spirit that is limitless and timeless. We are ushered out of a normal existence into a limitless expanse that knows no boundaries. We find the deathless in our everyday lives. With no boundaries in place it becomes a challenge to convey this to others. With it comes the knowledge and experience of communication, of meeting oth-


ers. Nothing stands in between anyone

being, joy and happiness in sharing this

and as such serves as the ultimate peace-

with others. Love extends even beyond un-


derstanding and your vision covers all of

Now, how can you recognize it? When we look at each other what do you see? Boundaries or no boundaries? List your

humanity. A pool of living waters or even a river. Your smile betrays where your home is.

boundaries and go through them one by one. Are they real? Do they exist between us? Or are they ideas that separates you from me? When you're left with nothing more between us then look at your self. What do you see? Empty self? Empty and free? What is this freedom? This is the gateway into your self.

Essays on Spirit III Taking different perspectives enables us to appreciate different points of views. With different perspectives comes various feeling experiences. We change perspectives constantly, automatically and consciously. Like the zoom lens of a camera we hon in on what we focus on in any given moment.

Essays on Spirit II There is a doorway through which we all can enter. It's from the naturalness of being we fall within. Nothing external needed, just a little space and time set aside to look inside. As we enter behind the scenes our vision opens up, encompassing the whole universe. As if you'd turn inside-out all of existence. A changed perspective from which you now look into the world from outside. Finding the whole cosmos existing inside your own self. If I then share this with you, we come to share the same reality, of one unified whole experience. Awakened consciousness brings ease of

Becoming aware of this change of perspectives we see that all influence us feelingwise. Physical emotions like joy, anger, alertness or boredom serve different purposes. Some more conducive than others. Beside the raw body emotions there are perspectives related to our mind, to our awareness. We can hold an expansive view or a narrow one, depending on circumstance. We can choose to hold an inclusive or exclusive frame of mind. Becoming conscious of this ability to shift between states of awareness makes us more able to perceive what’s needed in any situation. A larger, more encompassing view,


lends itself to a broader understanding.

raculous unfolding and discovery of a self-

Freedom to change alters our engagement

less way of being. Together then, is the

to difficult proposals. We become more

way to evolve, to shape the future, through

able to the right thing, to shift our perspec-

ceaseless engagement in what is real and

tive to include the other, and to understand

what is real to be.

the situation from a greater vantage point.

This living is always new. Every encounter

If we see ourselves as living on the edge of

a new possibility. Not knowing is the excit-

time, meaning right now, heading into the

ing starting point for a joint exploration but

future unknown, we’ll find ourselves on a

with an aim to create something new to-

human vehicle that has a past yet free to

gether. Meditation then, is the backdrop,

change in a moments notice. Looking

the silent base out of which we emerge.

back, we’re able to journey home, to

Meditation we utilize to get used to our still-

where we came from, not just individually

ness of being. Knowing who we are, is a

but as a human race, to the beginning of

meditative insight and experience. Know-

time, at the emergence of time and space

ing who we become can be realized in rela-

at the explosion of the Big Bang. Looking

tionship. Coming together generates and

forward we’ll see an infinite space of oppor-

creates a new paradigm. A shared mutual

tunity stretching ahead. Not seared from

non- dual experience that is alive to the

our past but as a natural continuation of

the extent it is engaged.

what has come before. With this connection to our past we are free to pursue a living future. Our future is shaped by our engagements and our relationships. Coming

Essays on Spirit IV

together with others in a shared endeavor

This quote taken from "The Zen Teaching

to explore this common union, this unified

of Huang Po" points to the mystery I'd like

perspective of a intersubjective context. I

to speak of today:

hesitate to call it a context, as if it would be a static something we find ourself

"For the sake of convenience, we speak of

within. Rather, it’s a joint projectory that

Mind as the intelligence; but when it does

points to a moving, ever changing, living

not respond to circumstances, it cannot be

quality of a life that never ends. This living

spoken of in such dualistic terms as exis-

engagement in life itself lends itself to a mi-

tence or non- existence".


Mind, here, denotes the essence of ourselves, or spirit proper. Like a mirror that reflects whatever is placed before it, Mind resorts to perfect response to any set of circumstances. In Aikido this is seen in perfect awase, or blending. Matching the attack in force, balance and energy, we blend in harmony with whatever comes. Not adding nor detracting from the engagement. All things are revealed in their relationship. Our Aikido is disclosed in our interaction. All things merge naturally with each other, harboring no animosity in the process of change. Fluid adaption is the course all things follow, some sooner

Form, Principles and Perspectives Form meaning body posture and technique, principles alignment with certain natural laws, and perspectives refer to attitude of mind. All combine to affect your performance. Traditional Aikido usually teach form and with experience principles begin to appear (balance, centering, grounding, expansion). Pro-active principles are then taught alongside technique; inviting, connecting, blending, following, leading and extending. So far your Aikido have had not so much to do with your outlook on life. Your technical skill has devel-

some later.

oped and you can become a master in feel-

In order to understand we listen carefully.

achievement in itself but we need to look

Slowly our mind adapts and changes till

at the effect of different perspectives to

we see. The process is a natural one.

learn about our energetic influence on our

Don't resist change and we'll adapt

performance. Learning this demands that

quicker. Our Mind is this transformative

we are able to change our attitude to see

vessel, that responds to circumstance with-

how it affects the engagement. Being an-

out having for itself a solid resting place.

gry, fearful, joyous, all effect the way we in-

Outside of its use it can not be detected.

teract. By training this we learn that the

Empty Mind or Spirit alone, who you are,

body have natural responses depending

can't be found in anything in particular, or

on our attitude or mode. Some are con-

placed within nor without. Beat the drum

tracting, some expanding, some including

and it resonates. Be it still and you can't

and some excluding. Some attitudes are

find it's source. Be careful not to designate

helpful and conducive, others are less so.

an area or seat where Mind resides. Leave

Yet without an overall picture or context to

it alone and it will be your companion

our training, we'd miss the most fundamen-

throughout your entire life.

tal aspect of Aikido, i.e it is a spiritual path,

ing principles. This actually is quite an


a spiritual endeavor and training. O Sensei

is no meaning in being wise after the

would never stop speaking about it and his

event. Forgive, forget and move on. So it

Aikido demonstrated the freedom and joy

goes. Is this the way?

it declared. To be spirit-filled and joyous during training is a requirement, not because we need to be jolly, but rather, it is an attitude of mind that changes our engagement to become one of love and understanding, not mere martial application any more. So the pursuit of spiritual understanding is fundamental to correct Aikido training, without which it degenerates back into a combative martial proficiency. Modern Aikido wants to put context and perspectives back to its central and basic place in training. Out of which a real relationship can grow, with proper alignment and healthy form following closely behind.

Forgiveness has its place and is necessary for mending relationships if people are so inclined, which is not a given. But to let things be, regardless of what's gone down, can be irresponsible. Why do we need to raise a voice? Is it because inside us there is something that demands the truth to be known? We teach our children to take responsibility for their actions, and so we should hold adults to an same level. When we come to learn of a spiritual conscience we begin to know that all acts have a result, some wholesome, some harmful, some productive, some not so. We begin to see that our own words and deeds carry significance to others. We be-

Spiritual Responsibility What does it mean to be just? What is it to betray trust? Why and how can we judge? Some advocate the hands o method; no judgment, no criticism nor holding someone to a standard. Is that the way to deal with all situations? Let life sort itself out, just get on with it, let the pieces fall where they may? Why interfere, why lecture? Many feel that this is the most natural way to behave as things will happen and there

come in tune with other peoples emotions and feelings as if they were our own. We know when we hurt others. We know when we betray trust. We do know when we have to make amends in order to salvage a situation. Not because we've been blamed but because the unity requires it for it to remain whole. Spiritual understanding is to see that we are all one and the same being. In order to keep the natural harmony of oneness we must owe up to our own actions, knowing they all serve a part in a per-


fectly holistic context. Your actions always

All is seen, whether you like it or not, the

happens within a context of your life that

good with the bad. In religious terms it

involves and includes many others. The

means God always sees you. Nothing is

greater your sphere of influence the

hidden from sight. What you speak in

greater the responsibility. Knowing that

closed quarters will be shouted out from

nothing happens in a vacuum or in private

the rooftops. You know how it goes. Many

since spiritually there is no place to hide

of of us feel that this is true and therefore

since we are all one.

know it to be futile to hold up any kind of

Trying to avoid responsibility only sends one message, -stay away, leave me alone, don't interfere! Who are you to judge, comes the defensive attitude. If you want to be spiritually free, you have nowhere to hide. There is no privacy in freedom. Love is absolute and therefore its demand is absolute; love and don't hate, love and don't hurt. The past doesn't go away. It remains there for us to be sober, knowing that true vulnerability lies in owning up to ones history, good and bad.

facade of secrecy. Many others demand the right to privacy, to a private life, far away from the probing eyes and ears of media- news. Somehow the truth usually comes out in the end anyway. Still others don't want to hear or see the truth when it presents itself, choosing to ignore it or turn away from it, believing somehow if they persist long enough the truth will go away, or cease to ever have existed. Choosing to face the truth that nothing is hidden we come to terms with the fact that we do not have a private life. Not towards God and not towards our other, our neighbor. We owe up the awful things we and others have done, learn, repent (which only

Nowhere to Hide

means that we are genuinely sorry for the hurt we've caused) and move on. We

In normal life people have some level of pri-

come to see that our life is not special. All

vacy but in spiritual life which is the true

human beings share the same make-up,

representation of how things really are,

we all stand under the same rule. No one

there is nowhere to hide. There are no

is exempt from human decency and dig-

blind spots, nothing that you can call pri-


vate. Transparency is the rule of the day.


Living a life of transparency is wonderful!

like to inject though, that this search and

Nothing to hide and nothing to fear. An

pursuit also must include an interest in that

open book for others to read their own

which lies beyond mere physical technique

story; the human story. We share all things

and dynamic principles. What is required is

and as such we all carry the responsibility

an interest in what is true and real in the

and accountability for all things co-jointly.

deepest possible way. In fact, a quest for the meaning of life. Just like O Sensei's own interest lead him to Oomote Kyo and

What is Aikido?

to his spiritual teacher; Onisaburo Deguchi. O Sensei's spiritual interest is un-

No need to go in to particulars. Keep it sim-

questioned and well documented and is

ple. What is Aikido to you? Don't answer

what shaped his martial art into Aikido. We

to quickly. People have dierent views to

must also take into account the times in

what it is and how it should be pursued.

which he lived; world war two. Through his

When I search within myself to find an an-

own experiences through several wars he

swer I reflect upon O Sensei's words;

encountered all the horrors man can inflict

aikido is love. Aikido is a spiritual path. It

on each other. This must have added to

points to a revelation. All true masters of

his resolve to find peace. Peace within and

any art describe their attainment after hard

without, in oneself and in the world.

and long practice as a revelation or insight into the nature of things. Their testament bear close resemblance to each other. Love and truth is a common reference. Non-violence and peace are also usual descriptions. With this in mind, what is Aikido? Some people prefer to try to understand it according to O Sensei. There is no need to try to grasp how O Sensei saw it. If you learn Aikido and pursue it wholeheartedly there is a possibility that you will have your own understanding of what it means and what is its purpose. I would

With this in mind, what is Aikido? How do you understand peace, love and freedom in your practice? How can combat training include these notions? Is it just an ideal we hold while pummeling the other? Is it fancy words that we subscribe to while executing another awesome technique on uke? Or do we live in the realm of fantasy and practice no-touch Aikido with students falling at your whim? Either way, can the ultimate principle of love, eortless power and non-violence be realized in training? Is there a third way, a way that demonstrates


the direct understanding of peace in action? I believe there is such a way, and that it can be shown and explained clearly to

Listen So often we do not stop and listen. We

beginner and advanced students alike.

never try to understand what the other is

It takes training, many years of training, to

hurry along and present our own ideas. So

ply the body, to mend the mind and to gain

without even taking into consideration

experience. Never give up to find the true

what has been communicated we add an-

meaning of Aikido because it is out there.

other layer of information on top, suppress-

Look for it in teachers. More than just profi-

ing and erasing earlier comments. Some-

ciency in skill, look for a relationship be-

times dismissing what has been said and

tween uke and nage. Not one doing, the

go on to claim correct understanding with-

other receiving, but a joint endeavor that

out even having taken the time to grasp

brings a about magical union, completes

what the previous speaker expressed. It's

and fulfills, which brings peace and joy to

a double fault in the sense that the first

both onlooker and participant.

point is missed as well as dismissed as in-

Then and only then can we say that we

saying. We simply say it's his opinion and

accurate. How annoying!

have penetrated what Aikido means. Then

Many times we hurry over things because

we have not only realized O Sensei's

we don't understand them and instead of

dream but we have taken it forward till to-

halting and asking for an explanation we

day, evolved and transformed. Aikido then,

move readily in with our own conclusions.

is not just what each person makes of it

This makes any conversation impossible

but a universal truth that has only one

as we fail to meet the other. A simple "I do

meaning and one purpose. Alike for all that

not understand" is such a blessing for any

venture to find it. Then we hold the mean-

communication while jumping to conclu-

ing in our own hands and we can humbly

sions usually ends in argument.

say that we hold the transmission of O Sensei and that Aikido is alive today.


The Temptation to Justify Can we take critique? Can we listen and

tions, reasons and whys, why we do the things we do.

hear what is being said? Without coming

It's a fairly easy thing to correct and to be

up with an explanation, without justifying?

attentive to. Yet it is a deeply rooted condi-

We all have reasons for doing the things

tion in us and reveals the often hidden

we do. We know what we are about, and

workings of a fiercely self-protected ego,

we are ready to argue our case. This can

that rears its head when challenged, even

be an obstacle to take something new in. It

harmlessly so. Though it might seem trivial

can hinder us hearing what is being

(we will justify why this is so) it points to a

pointed at. It stops us from understanding

spiritual truth of ego identification rather

the feed-back. Often there is an almost

than to a self-less relationship to oneself

knee-jerk temptation to instantly justify our

and to others. It even can be recognized

position. Why is that? Why can't we simply

as possibly the single biggest obstacle to

listen to, and try to understand, what is be-

learning; "I already know it".

ing said? In Aikido, the traditional learning method was always done by looking and repeating. By looking without asking we copy the form and feel the movement


through the body. When instructed we lis-

Love opens man up. Fear closes him

ten and comply. Open minded we take in

down. Man hesitates before the unknown.

what is being said without jumping to con-

Not understanding he withdraws. If you

clusions. We allow our mind to bend to-

push he'll turn aggressive. The survival

ward the instruction, hearing it without

mechanism in man kicks in as a natural re-


action. The body contracts on impact as

Recognize the instant need to justify as an ego-driven mechanism in our self. See how impersonal it is and see how it hinders clear perception. Recognize how it denies change and cements an already fixed position. We often hear it as the "yes but.." and then there comes the endless explana-

the warning lights goes on. Flight or fight defense happens automatically. Now, can you see this happening all by itself? In Aikido, in life? Seeing it played out in everyday interactions we learn to see it arise and evaluate the appropriate response. In Aikido we train this change of mind. When grabbed we enter, when pushed we allow, 16

when hit we absorb. When confronted we

presence of an established tranquil mind/

enter into the other softly. Feeling the other

body/breath leading to deeper and deeper

allows for engagement. Neutralize and pac-

absorptions, and Vipassana refers to the

ify and nullify any attack by blending and

insight, or knowledge, gained through the

merging with their intention. Receive

experience of seeing the nature of phenom-

strength with softness, lack of balance

ena arising in your mind and body. Direct

with stability. Establish a mutual relation-

intuitive penetrative knowledge of the es-

ship. Overcome enmity by joining forces.

sence of being can be experienced and is

Fulfill where there is lack. Notice contrac-

called a satori experience, or an enlighten-

tion and apply gentleness to release it.

ment experience. But many are the forerun-

In communication, when misunderstanding keeps you apart, blend with the other's intention. Love dispels hardship. Ask and listen, receive and respond with its opposite.

ners of such a conclusive breakthrough. Through calming your breath and mind, with a peaceful body, you will experience a variety of interesting and pleasant eects. By adhering to the mindfulness and attentiveness to your breath a successive deepening of your experience will occur. By pay-

Mindfulness of Breathing

ing attention, not moving, and remaining observant, you will progress through

Meditation practice like Aikido have a ba-

stages of inner mind-sets. Some will be joy-

sic method, a kihon exercise. Kokyu

ful, some diďŹƒcult, but remain steadfast

(breath) is the tool in Aikido and so it is in

and you will be able to taste extreme

sitting meditation. Anapanasati, mindful-

peace and clarity of mind, finding yourself

ness of breathing in and out, is the funda-

in the process.

mental practice for all Buddhist and Hindu schools of meditation. The breath is used to calm the body and mind. A calm body and mind will ease the breathing to finer and finer degrees. Stillness and quietude of body posture amplifies the refinement. Samatha and Vipassana are the two aspects to the evaluation of the meditation. Samatha refers to the calm abiding clear

Be a Man Let your heart be filled up. Let the spirit flow through you. Let your lungs expand, fill up with a spirit of trust. Be a man. Leave the small behind. Be large, no


longer a historical figure, be a powerful expression of goodness. Be real, be true. Smile your great bright smile. Give to oth-

Knowing the Absolute There is a knowing that is immediate, di-

ers. Let your heart overflow with gratitude.

rect access to a vision, that resolves all

Beyond what you know yourself to be, let

resort to this understanding and return to

this new inspiration call out the best in

sanity. Unless you have gained access to

you. How is this accomplished? Let the

this kind of resolve and inner perspective

Lord reign in your heart, surrender your lit-

you will never be able to meet in truth. It is

tle self.

a condition-less state of being that is al-

doubt. At any time, at any place we may

ways present, always available. With this clarity of mind you will be able to hear and Sisterhood

speak the truth, investigate and question without confusion, and share a real state

Be glad, be joyful. You are a blessing to us

of being with another human being without

all. Leave the old, leave the fear. You are

pretense or emotionality. Love can then be

supported by the soil you stand on, by

freely communicated and the building of

mother Earth. We honor you and love you.

trust commence.

Cast off the molds of men, leave the stereotypes. Be a woman. Be free. Cast off your limitations and resentments. Give to the world. Give yourselves. Find sisterhood in sharing your strengths. No need to accumulate or to accomplish anything. Find within the power of womanhood. Let yourself be free. Don't hold back your smile. Give it freely.

Nothing will be beyond your understanding and openness and charity will be a matter of choice. This seeing can be pursued and endeavored to. Unless you want to come to a final resolve it will never become a lasting experience. You must know that there is a reality to be sought, an absolute freedom to be achieved. If you believe there is such a way of being you must pursue it

How can you..? Leave the old behind.

with all of your heart, with all of your effort,

Dare to trust your own inner beauty that

and with all of your strength. Only then will

comes from a source beyond yourself.

you be able to listen to direct guidance.

Trust and let your love shine through.

Seek it and you will find it. But have no doubts about it, you must seek it.


Avoiding the question will not help you, nor will it go away. It will remain there till one day you muster up your courage or come to the end of the line of minds reasoning. Time will not get you there. The Absolute is here and now, and will always be so.

Faith With faith comes salvation. What does that mean? If you dare to believe in a message that surpasses your present understanding you will taste a moment of surrender. If you seek to understand you will come to point where you will have to leave your mind be-

The Heart of the Matter Each person stands at a crossroad. Each individual face an existential question at any given time. A drawn-out and prolonged interest in a gradual path is fundamentally detrimental to your progress. There is always available a direct insight into the nature of your being that will begin to resolve all and any issues that you might face. This is a path to the heart of the matter, at any time wherever you are. This is a requirement each time we meet. Honesty reveals where we are. But this approach is extremely challenging. It proposes a solution and a clarity that can be achieved without going through any more learning. It will bypass the minds need to know. It asks you to realize that the answer to your questions are immediate.

hind. If it sounds true in your heart, trust it. Faith in the beginning is trust that something exists beyond your comprehension, something that has wisdom and compassion, something that gives meaning and purpose to life. Faith at first is belief in life itself, in the spirit underlying the natural world and our evolving universe. Faith in the life spark that is us, in an enormous cosmos to which we pale in comparison. This awe drives our wish to see with our own eyes, to realize for ourselves. Faith in the middle, once we awoken to the deathless spirit within, becomes the vehicle, our window into the unknown but yet visible realm of our heart. Our daily communication, our inner dialogue with faith itself, makes it come alive. Living faith turns out to become your permanent residence. With salvation comes real faith, faith that lasts, and salvation and faith becomes the same thing.


When you have salvation you have faith,

print, share in a common DNA, share com-

and when you have faith you have salva-

mon traits and conditions, even to the ex-

tion. With salvation comes the knowledge

tent of saying we are one, of one being yet

that nothing else is needed, nothing more

with multiple displays, this unitary connec-

added. In this place we know nothing. Not

tion will then naturally apply across and be-

knowing becomes our foundation of humil-

tween all of us. So what one of us does, af-

ity but also our source of strength. Faith

fect us all. If someone sets a precedence,

and knowing merges. Knowing what?

many can follow. If someone pays our

Knowing nothing at all except faith itself.

debt, offers to take our place, we are let off. Sacrifice, or simply an apology seems to be deemed necessary at certain times.

The Cross

Once done, peace is restored. If one man fetches water for all to drink, it necessi-

Why is the cross such a powerful symbol?

tates not that all have to make the journey

Death of self. Death of your self. Can you

to the well spring. Suffice that one man suf-

take it? Why is Jesus' sacrifice enough to

fers to quench our thirst. Think it through

save each and every one of us? This is the

and it makes sense. The cross serves as a

mystery that must be penetrated through

helper, a deed done for us. In it lays salva-

by each generation. Dying to self in East-

tion and clear understanding.

ern religion is a common concept and all are meant to pass through it to liberation, mainly through your own effort and/or by the guru's blessing. It makes sense, that

True Spirituality

we individually has to make the journey

Many years ago after initially having met

ourselves, we can't take anyone with us. It

my spiritual teacher in Andrew Cohen, my

is a homeless path. A sometimes lonely

guru in the truest sense, and after having

path. So how can one man make that jour-

gone through a period of life-changing

ney for us? How can someone who has

transformative events and experiences

walked before us clear the way? The

while being near him, I realized that Life is

power of imagination helps our mind to un-

all about relationships.

derstand, to play with impossibilities. If by default we are all part of a human blue-

Meeting Andrew catapulted me into an awakened spiritual consciousness and I 20

found myself wanting nothing. Realizing

is what true spirituality is all about, and it

that everything was always here, always

must be proven in our relationships.

present, my own being. This state of being never left me, nor had it ever been separated from me even before I "awoke" to it. This became the base upon which I stand

In order for this to happen we have to be ready to abandon our strongholds, our views and agendas. We must be ready to

even today.

listen and hear the other. Becoming one

Some years passed in ease, living my life,

greater unitary holistic sense of Self, even

fulfilling wishes and desires. But some-

to the point of letting an impersonal and

where along the way I began to ponder the

objective vision render our individual self

meaning and reason for life in the spirit, in

obsolete. Invoking and allowing something

an awakened body and mind. Solely on

else to drive the interaction will bring about

my own I was fulfilled but my interactions

a free resonance of a song, an intuitive

with people left much to be desired. Even

dance and play between selves no longer

good relations were lacking in something

vested in individuality.

more sincere and deep. Love served to bridge many gaps and it still does but I was looking for something more, something completely unitary and satisfactory. Complete love hinders any separation and brings people to a common unitary place. This oneness of being with another is what I desired.

means surrendering our selves for a

Love is the key to this union, but we need also ourselves; pursuing this with all our might, strength and intention. A vision of unity must drive our desire to become one in relationship. Then, we can go together, achieve things together and like brothers in arms, share in the victory of the Spirit of God in mankind.

As I walked home from work one day, it dawned on me that all life is about is relationship. Complete relationship. Whether one is a teacher or a student, in the end


it's all about meeting as one. No separa-

Mastery can be so misunderstood. In spiri-

tion what so ever. There can be no holding

tual terms mastery refers to death of self. It

on to position, name or fame. There can

does not refer to mastery of certain skills,

be no favoritism nor private agenda. This

even spiritual skills. A true spiritual master


(see, even the connotation doesn't fit) is

made no public meetings at the time. This

not defined by his or hers ability to teach

beautiful man and realized saint had lived

or demonstrate superior knowledge but

for years by the entrance of the great tem-

the ability to share a unitary field of experi-

ple in the city as a beggar, after having ini-

ence by his own presence. Ramana Mahar-

tially met his own guru to set him on his

shi exemplified this virtue by doing nothing

way. He was known as the "beggar saint"

but presenting an all-pervading spiritual na-

with healing powers. At the time of our

ture emanating from his own surrender to

meeting he was well renowned as a spiri-

the Absolute Being and Wholeness of his

tual guide and his followers had build a

very own Self. We called him a realized be-

large ashram for him.

ing, a fully awakened individual, one that by his mere presence awoke our own recognition of an underlying spiritual reality. A oneness of being that was shared in his

Seated in a small chair out in the open he grabbed my hand as I sat down by his side. I was surprised by the strength he


held my hand and yet with such love and

This "mastery" consists not so much in ac-

me. I could not help but to intimately look

complishment or achievement but rather in

into his eyes not having many questions to

an abandonment of self, a surrender of be-

ask. I simply kept asking, "How are you?"

ing. We call someone a master once we come to recognize their inherent coexistence with the Absolute, a merging of thought, word and deed, where the personal always takes second place.

care. I felt he entered the innermost part of

His reply stayed with me for a very long time. It lodged inside my heart and I realized why it was so profound. Day in and day out for many years he had been sitting by the gate watching people coming and going. Seeing every kind of human being

I learn from you "I learn from you" came the reply to my question. I was in Tiruvannamalai in southern India at the ashram of the now late yogi Sri Ramsuratkumar. I had ventured to ask for a personal interview with him as he

in all shapes and forms, young and old, not to mention all the animals that would have crossed his path. Opening up our heart and our spiritual eye to the nondierence between people we come to know everyone's secret, his or hers innermost soul, and by that we learn about our-


selves. So now when I see you, I learn. I

ourselves hold no opinions we easily adapt

learn about you and I learn about me. The

new perspectives, widening our mind, ful-

more I see the more I learn.

filling our hearts. Wanting to know is itself

This is how I learn.

a move of expansion, a desire to move into the unoccupied space just created. Like in the back-draft of a boat, we are drawn into empty spaces, new times, by virtue of its


velocity, of its direction forward. Evolution never returns, time never stops, space is never old.

"Evolve" is the catch word these days. "Transform", "change" and then "transcend" used to be. Growing up and maturing has always been the context for young ones. Learning and experience is part of aging. All sentient life grows, develops, matures and dies. All thanks to Time. The passing of time is itself the continuous expansion of our universe (space). Inherent in the unfolding of the cosmos we move forward in time, evolving as a natural process. Allowing this natural unfolding or expansion we naturally acquire more and more experience, enriching and broadening our lives. Seeking to understand, seeking to know, to feel and sense, is a natural move of an organic being in tune with the flow of the universe itself. This cup can never overflow because the cup is expanding as fast as we can fill it up. Space and time alternate to take the prominent frontseat in the race towards the future. Letting

Evolution of Mind What does evolution of Mind refer to? It points to a progressive establishing and evolution of consciousness, of cognition, of apprehension and understanding. As evolution has a hand in the developmental process of the entire Cosmos, as it plays part in the unfolding of biology in nature, and as it fashions Cultures through man's unending striving to overcome and become masters of their environment, so it aects, nourishes and expands the human mind. The human mind, its capacity to change and incorporate new information, leads to new ways of thinking, of new ways of "holding the World". It alters our engagement and relationship with all things; to ourselves, to each other, and to the the world at large.


More than resulting in mere changed think-

tion of the entire universe. The here and

ing, it shows an evolution of conscious-

now, far from being a static place, is re-

ness itself. The ability to process informa-

vealed to be the edge of our experience,

tion, to grasp ideas and see further afield,

the frontier of our push into the future. We

happens because we have made more

decide what is to come from moment to

room, more space for our mind to operate

moment. From big to small decisions, our

within. We have entered not only a new era

choices help shape the next generation.

of mankind in regards to its evolution in terms of material progress but we have entered a brave new world of unitary consciousness. By allowing a dierent order of relationship to outline our engagement with and in the world we progress into new domains, open up new vistas and enter into a new developmental phase of the hu-

Waking up to this inherent human potential we come to see the responsibility and importance of our own lives set in a context of Cosmic unfolding. We are not apart, evolution does happen on all fronts, and therefore our participation is vital, unless we are satisfied being carried along uncon-

man unfolding on Earth.

sciously, drifting through time.

By leaving old paradigms, old ways of

Time, is the propelling force driving this mo-

viewing oneself and others, and daring to embrace a more encompassing and complete picture of our natural process through time, through history, we come closer and closer to a holistic panorama of an evolution that has its hand in every little detail of the human experience. We are becoming conscious of our direct involvement in making this happen. We come to see how our input matters. How it is part of shaping the way forward, how it dictates what is to become. We realize we play a crucial role in the development of our own destiny. We, like it or not, are on the forefront of the natural expansion and evolu-

mentum forward, expanding the universe as we speak. Not a second goes by without you sitting in the drivers seat deciding to turn right or left. Becoming conscious of the relentless speed time exerts on us we become empowered with the knowledge of the freedom of choice and its impact and eect it can and will have. We become empowered and realize we can actually feel the unfolding of the future in our own actions. Deeply spiritual our outlook must seek out a limitless perspective in order to incorporate all facets. In order to see a fuller vi-


sion, a more complete picture, we must en-

temperament. One of its kind, but hardly

deavor to find Consciousness itself, free

unique. We all share these added features

from its content of thought and ideas. Real-

that make up who we are.

izing that Mind is no dierent than Consciousness itself, free from the limiting ideas pertaining to it. Limitless and absolutely free it rests nowhere, has no structure nor defining quality but is your very own self. Finding our timeless self within, we realize it never strays from being an integral part of this runaway universe, a self that transforms, changes and evolves as time goes by. We are part of the process that began 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang, inside and outside we evolve in sync

Talents are varied. Skills acquired are of infinite variety. We excel in some areas and less in other. Who is to say what is preferred? All are needed to make up this world of multiplicity. Form is infinite in its expression and yet there is a secret behind it all that reveals a unitary extreme; a formless essence of being of which none of us can live without. This formless mass is completely singular in nature and we all equally partake of it. This space is what al-

with the rest of this planet.

lows free intent. Because it has not set

Hopefully this will bring home to you the

time. Nothing is pre-determined.

dynamic quality you naturally possess and you can get excited about being alive today, for the sake of the future tomorrow.

form we are able to perform newly each

Understanding both the conditioned and the not-conditioned we assume a real stance between Heaven and Earth and know that I am what I am.

Enlightenment has No Form Life is conditioned! What does that mean? It means that we as people are formed by the circumstances we come from, both from the interior and the exterior circumstances. I'm a man, a Swede, 50 years, so

Freedom has no history and as such there can be no gap to the natural unlimited expression of your self freely manifesting itself all the time. Realize this freedom and you realize that Enlightenment has no form.

I got male hormones, cultural conditioning and a generational window from the sixties. I've got my parents mixed DNA and 25

Intersubjective Field of Awareness The realization of, or waking to, an impersonal inter-subjective field of conscious-

doubts and all personal insecurities in relationship to your self. This is available to you as we speak.

ness or awareness is what is called the spiritual or divine nature we all partake of. It is the background consciousness that sustain and pervade our "vision of mind", our "experience". Before you call yourself this or that, you find yourself in this state of empty cognition, empty knowing. Without designating an "I" or name to your identity you'll find that you can't really place nor fix your location. Neither does it seem possible to derive an age from it. You find that who you are, is free from attributes. This space or place is what all people share, as we all share the exact experience of who we are fundamentally. Since we cannot set a limit to it nor place it in time, we recognize the indivisible nature of it, and see that "our" experience is a joint experience; sharing the same consciousness. In this place, can you find your self? Among others, can you see how only the thought of separation or the thought of separate identity, causes the illusion of me and you? Without designating here and there, we occupy the same space and share an ego-less communion. We will find a realness in our being that will resolve all

Penetrating the Dharma Piercing through to reality. This implies a push, an eort and commitment. But if what we are supposed to find is the natural, the normal, the every-day things-asthey-are, isn't it contrary to "try" to find it? That is true to some extent but if you haven't realized, seen and found what is normal, or basic, then you must exert effort and will to penetrate to it. The Self that is Absolute lays just beneath the obvious, just slightly beyond the seen. It is prior to what you think yet never hidden from you. Conscious thought directs you towards it. You want to see your Self but all that is possible to see is your reflection, as in a mirror, yet you know you are looking at yourself. Seek then the knowledge of your Self. The knowing-aspect of your own selfknowledge. Penetrate your Self and find the true nature you rest in as your very own Being. Meditation is an acute presence that highlights our original form. Meditation serves as a blueprint of who we are, yet serves also as the way to find it. Without looking 26

we seek. By stopping, going inwards, we

still cling to their own point of reference.

re-acquaint ourselves with a deep sense of

Even spiritual realized teachers hardly ever

self. Becoming familiar with our still pos-

come down from their elated perspective

ture we rest our senses and find solace in

and therefore you are treated accordingly

Being itself. Break-through implies falling

within a teacher/student relationship, keep-

through into emptiness, finding no bottom

ing you at bay, held to a separate sense of

upon which to stand. Realization, awaken-

self. A truly realized guru or master will

ing or enlightenment; names that point to

share his own impersonal experience with

an experience of reality penetrated to

you as it doesn't belong to any individual.

through a one-pointed interest in your in-

With total selflessness they meet you as

nermost self.

themselves, nothing more and nothing less. As long as you are not ready to give up your individual stand point, your identifi-

Meeting your Self

cation in your self, you won't be able to truly meet as one. Our selves meet as one

Can you meet me and see your self? This

to become something larger joined to-

is what I try to convey. By changing your

gether. This event is always exciting and

point of identification from your self to the

fully apprehended by the individuals in-

person you meet you "become" the other.

volved. So, can you meet me and see your

You will identify with him and see him holis-

self as me? As I will see you as myself,

tically. You will see yourself as himself.

leaving the need to have a fixed sense of

This paves a new way of coming together

self in order to function.

without egos involved. If you can meet me like that, we both will acknowledge that we are in fact the very same person. This seeing is a seeing of non-dual love and of

No Interpretation

complete unity. Many times I can meet oth-

Adding nothing, subtracting nothing. Leav-

ers in the knowledge of me being them yet

ing it perfectly balanced. Can we see a

they still insist they are separate entities

mystery that is perfectly balanced as it is?

even if they subscribe to a spiritual per-

Recognizing that any change, any alterna-

spective in name. We can meet in the love

tion will upset the equilibrium. Even adding

that exists in a real way yet most people

good intentions or preference would cast


us into a dualistic mind-set. Find the per-

seen as the good tool it is, in service of di-

fect match to any situation and abide like

rect seeing and experience.

air that perfectly surrounds and fill all space. Blending points to a relationship that is already fulfilled, already complete. No gap between you and me. Even before

The Importance of Response

you begin, envelop the situation. This

When I first traveled to practice Aikido in

points to a possible union, whether in com-

Japan I needed a written note of introduc-

munication or in physical interaction, or in

tion from my teacher back home. Only with

the mere presence with others. Being one

that could I enter the dojo and train under

with nature, one with the world and uni-

the guidance of Morihiro Saito Sensei in

verse, and being one with another, all

Iwama. Yet even with that note it was not

points to this inclusion, this acceptance.

guaranteed that I could stay. I remember

Have no interpretation then, of how things

being late due to unforeseen circum-

are, in order to blend.

stances and being told over the phone I

Interpretation, me and you, are all signposts that name and verify things. Yet they are secondary to direct experience. Knowing how to meet one another paves the

could not come as the date had passed of my listed arrival. With sheer desperation in my voice and pleading with the help of a translator I was at last admitted.

way for understanding. Aikido is the per-

I had been fortunate to acquire work in To-

fect response to life. Not adding nor sub-

kyo prior to traveling to Iwama and it was

tracting anything. Love need not to be

to last for two months. I looked for a dojo

added as it is already the substratum of

to practice at while there and I found and

our very essence of being. A perfect match

enlisted in Shiseikan dojo in the Meiji Jingu

allows for love to be realized. Letting

park. I was welcomed to attend all classes

things be as they are, allows the love to be

but one. It was the class of Inaba Sensei, a

demonstrated perfectly. Seeing things in

well known sword master of the Kashima

this manner reveals all things as they are,

Shin Ryu school. I had seen his classes

and you'll be able to discriminate between

and was duly impressed by his skill. I ap-

good and bad, true and false, and per-

proached him and asked if I could train in

sonal and impersonal. Our mind will be

his class. He bluntly refused my request. The following week I asked if I could sim28

ply watch his class. He agreed. I spent the

communication, active participation and

week attending his classes with keen inter-

mindful observance of what's needed is re-

est, sitting by the side of the dojo watching

quired. The duty and the responsibility in a

intently everything going on. I mustered up

closer relationship, whether work, family or

the courage to ask once again if I could

teacher/student related, demands a cer-

join the practice. He answered he wasn't

tain skill of observance, of etiquette. This

ready to take responsibility for me and so

not something brought on by mere adher-

declined me a second time. I continued

ence to culture or form, but by a natural

watching the classes and as my presence

positive order that exists between people

in the dojo was now getting generally

in various levels of engagement. Taking

known as I was there every evening train-

into account the discipline inherent in a

ing every class on the schedule Inaba Sen-

student/teacher relationship we come to

sei became used to having me around. Fi-

see the importance of mutual respect.

nally I asked again if I could participate in

Let's not take for granted the relationships

his class and he asked me why, what was

we have but inquire into the dynamics in-

my reason for being in japan and what my

volved and the responsibility inherent in

intentions where? With the help of an inter-

keeping them alive.

preter I explained my reasons and at last he agreed to let me in. This Eastern approach to learning and to a teacher/student relationship is somewhat dierent from what many of us are used to in the West. I always ask my students to respond as soon as possible to information given or questions asked. Not to delay more than necessary. In order to establish a report, to establish a relationship. In Aikido, instant feedback prompts blending in order not to get stuck. Likewise, in communication, appropriate and timely response is essential in the continuation of a dialogue. In Aikido, in relationships and in

Truth Resonates Can we hear the truth in any given conversation? Can we distill realness out of a two-way communication? Can we see heart to heart? Can we join and blend with the engagement? Can we feel the edge of reason, the fine balance needed to make Truth resonate between us? Can we adhere to the natural order given on enactment? Can we discipline ourselves under the rules of engagement, under the order of conduct?


In any given discussion, in an open dia-

this interest and speaking about it with oth-

logue, can we abide not straying from lis-

ers opens it up for a general and objective

tening? Can we ask when we don't under-

study. But far from being dry and aca-

stand? Can we avoid taking for granted

demic we venture to travel the whole

that we already know? Can we strive to

scope of human experience and existence

want to understand? Can we keep speak-

into the nature of being, into the very core

ing with each other without loosing the

of life itself.

thread, without drifting?

Feelings and emotions, mind and knowl-

There is an ultimate realization that hap-

edge, all take part when we investigate our-

pens between people once we pair up in

selves. We peel o layer after layer to

conversation. Truth is achieved in the here

come to subtler levels of cognition, of rec-

and now of interacting. Only by resonance

ognition of who and what we are in es-

will the Truth be known. Only by reflection

sence. Meditation serves as a tool to be-

will it be seen.

come one-pointed in our endeavor, to close out distractions and make it easier for us to stay focused. Sitting together

Seeking the Higher Ground

with others supports the communal generality of being of the same substance, shar-

In order to clarify meaning and to under-

ing fundamentally in the same makeup that

stand purpose we need to communicate

make it possible to discover universal

together. We need to believe in the possibil-

truths that we equally all are part of and

ity of coming to a unified understanding of

live by.

the things that matters the most. A common ground upon which we can stand and make sense out of spiritual truths, religious teachings and abstract philosophy, as well as coming to a better understanding of yourself in the most profound way possible.

Seeking out the truth happens in many ways. Much growing and learning happens in communication and this is especially true about spiritual learning. Traditionally, seeking the company of teachers, seers and saints was a quick way to gain insight and is still today the most profound path to

This inquiry happens because of curiosity,

self-discovery. Yet in those gatherings spiri-

because of an interest in your self. Sharing

tual discussion has always been the main


event. Questions and answers in Satsang

deavor to understand our practice from a

(a meeting in truth) with teachers, friends

spiritual perspective.

and students. Silent meditation always served as the backdrop to the active contemplation, and informed the progress of coming to understanding and revelatory insight. These gathering also served as communal well springs of joy and laughter, of participation and sharing of a common ground, a mutual experience, of one true

Mere combative skills will not justify using the name Takemusu Aikido. Takemusu Aikido refers to the understanding that issues from years of training in blending. It refers to a way of being that transcends combativeness and dualism, ego and competitiveness. Aikido refers to the power of

Self of which we all are part of.

love in interaction: Love translated into

Not to be taken lightly, it is a serious en-

spirit infused engagement. Mere technique

gagement that demands sincerity and com-

will not reveal true Aikido. Takemusu is not

mitment in order to bear fruit.

technical but spiritual. If students are not

physical sensitivity, self surrender and

ready to face their own insecurities, let go of their strongholds, and pursue liberated Why Aikido is a Spiritual Pursuit. O Sensei, the founder of Aikido, said that true budo and Aikido is a spiritual path, a way that leads to truth, goodness and beauty. Mastery is referred to as understanding the spiritual truths concerning all of life. Training in Aikido necessitates an interest in the spiritual domain of life. The spiritual domain is the more subtle layers to our psyche. We must confess to our ignorance of the deeper meaning and purpose of life and yet be willing to understand our Aikido practice to be of spiritual nature and engagement. We must en-

understanding, they will miss the whole point of O Sensei's lectures and his vision of Aikido. Meditation is a quick way to come face to face with our deepest insecurities and unresolved questions. Meditation serves to undress the meditator till there is nothing left. Leaving an empty space from where we can investigate life anew, free from anxiety and fears, free from preconditioned judgements, opinions and biases. Aikido demands this from your practice. Deep study will enlighten you to the principles inherent in all Aikido practice and you will embark


on a spiritual journey that embraces your

tinue to display in their education of their

whole being.

young. Asking "who am I?", and asking "what is

Spiritual Pursuit is a Necessity for Life. Spiritual pursuit and spiritual dialogue is not new-age nonsense. It's an age-old tradition going back thousands of years in all cultures. Inquiry and contemplation are natural consequences of wanting to find out, wanting to learn. Sharing our ideas, thoughts and questions is what education is all about. Listening, reasoning and analyzing is our way of making sense of our world. Spiritual search is wanting to make sense out our selves in our world. It is a highly pragmatical and realistic endeavor. It is something all boys and girls should invest in. It is the parents responsibility to introduce this to their children and our teachers purpose to relay it. How can we let people make it into adulthood without ever questioning themselves and their purpose in life? Better late than never some say, but it is strange to see some 40-year-olds

life", are basic building blocks in a young persons life. We need to acknowledge this need to know and to understand ourselves in the most deepest and profound way possible. We need to eradicate the mambojumbo stamp on spiritual interest. Science and physics are not the alternative to spiritual pursuit but are its companion in the search for truth and reality. All fields of research deserve their own credit. But since the spiritual search deals with your own soul or self, the underlying subtle domain of your psyche, and with the nature of life and of the universe itself, it points to the most profound yet most intimate knowledge that is possible for you to acquire out from your own experience. Self assessed evidence of who and what we are. This is why we need to start asking questions. To find out who and what we are in essence, beyond mere name and history.

coming to their midlife crises and for the first time wondering what's life's all about. Have we lost the importance of this in our Western culture today? It is being lost all over the place yet luckily we still can see the beautiful inheritance some cultures con-

The Birth of Self-Consciousness in the Process of Evolution When did you become conscious of yourself? What is your first memory of your-


self? If you can read this you are self-

But when, did man come to be self aware?

aware. Mostly we take this for granted, as

Man as in mankind. Was it a gradual awak-

part of being alive. But when did it de-

ening as evolution shaped our brain to be

velop? In child-psychology there is an age

able to hold more information and contain

where most of us becomes self-conscious,

more accumulated experience? And was it

or aware of ourselves as a being, the "I

then an sudden leap to a cognizant under-

am" is born. As adults we don't think too

standing and to reflective thinking? Or had

much about this as it is our everyday natu-

it always been present? Waiting to be rec-

ral experience. "Of course I am", we ex-

ognized in a highly evolved brain/ body?

claim. I am this or that, but nevertheless, I am.

If we look at our own first memories of our-

I remember my first memory to be a very

first genesis of modern man. Once the

early one. Let me recapture that moment:

light of awareness falls on anything or on

"Even before I was one years of age, in the lap of my father in front of an open fire, warmth from within and from without, I knew who I was. I was conscious of myself, knowing myself as the timeless awareness that I always am. Completely calm I enjoyed my present state as a baby, fully conscious of all things around me, know-

selves we might be able to see a link to the

any situation, at that moment we attribute consciousness to it. My memory of myself revealed that I was aware at that time (making it possible to remember) proposing that our remembrance of any event only shows that self awareness was already present there (whether or not we would have remembered).

ing it all without fail". Awakened by the

Now this would mean that self awareness

tranquility and peace of the situation, this

is always present within all living beings,

clarity never left me. Growing up I did have

and has been since the dawn of living

the memory of this first impression of mine

things, regardless of themselves being cog-

but failed to recognize its ultimate value.

nizant thereof. We might even extrapolate

This I realize now, is a very important ingre-

it to all things innate, and yet even further

dient in self-knowledge, in coming to know

to include all phenomena in the whole uni-

yourself. Once you know who you are, in

verse as well. This may sound crazy but

the biggest possible sense, you are at

not if you think of awareness as something

home, in yourself and in the world.

not bound by your own body and mind,


nor by time or space, but being conscious-

tains multiple worlds, infinite strands, and

ness itself.

as such acts with utmost compassion.

So now evolution refers only to the matura-

It’s like an orphan, alone without father or

tion and capacity of the vessel; our human

mother, all men takes pity on him mistak-

body/mind coming to embody the underly-

ing nakedness for poverty.

ing ever present wisdom. Selfconsciousness and correctly identifying its source helps to align our efforts to surpass our present status and evolve exponentially faster than before. Because now we are becoming conscious of the nature of awareness itself and therefore are able to

Rumi expressed it beautifully when he said: "The rock splits open like wings beat air, wanting. Campfire gives in to rain, but I can't go to sleep, or be patient.

confer to it its rightful needs and wishes;

Part of me wants to eat the stones

meaning that we are able to pursue its

and hold you back when you're leaving,

own agenda, in a universal sense, and not

till your good laughing turns bitter and

in a small egocentric way. We will do its


will; "not my will but Yours". I worry I won't have someone to talk to, So what are the needs and wishes of a ho-

and breathe with. Don't you understand

listic sense of self? What are we evolving

I ' m s o m e k i n d o f f o o d f o r y o u ?

towards? Since you are conscious of your-

I'm a place where you can work.

self it's up to you to shape the future. Can you see it?

The bottle is corked and sitting on the table. Someone comes in and sees me without you and puts his hand on my head like

Extraordinary Ordinary

I'm a child. This is so difficult".

There is an attitude that defies description. It is so simple it slips under the radar. It is the invisible elephant in the room. Feelings or understanding can't get near it. It con-


Spiritual Awareness More than being aware, spiritual awareness points to a sensitivity to that which is true. It is not thought based, neither is it based on emotions. It's a subtle sense, a penetrating seeing, and a feeling of correct-

will help you discern between falsehood and truth. You will never need any help in realizing who you are in any given situation. Anything added is instantly seen through, with oneself and with another. Yet as we meet with all

ness. It's like lying naked in the sun and

these add-ons we still are able to see

feeling the smallest thing land on you. The

through it, and will be able to meet face to

slightest addition, a fly, a leaf, is immedi-

face, conscious of the presence of all the

ately noticed. Anything extra, anything

layers of natural conditioning, as long as

added to you, or to the other, is seen and

we are ready to discard any of the vest-

felt just for what it is.

ments if they show up to distort our com-

This "extra" is added to you, and we all carry plenty of extra stu with us. Accumulated habit patterns, conditioned responses, individual quirks, views and convictions. Once you've realized that this is not something pertaining to you but is added to you like a vestment or clothing and don't belong to you, you recognize who you are beneath all the layers of cultural and social norms, self ideas, hopes and dreams. Once you see yourself naked

munication and meeting. Spiritual awareness points to this kind of clear apprehension of the state of aairs, all the time. So the time to clarify the truth is always at hand, always available to us, between us and among us. Natural being is not spoiled due to conditioning as long as we are able to see through it in a glance, and even without seeing through it, we still will be able to meet if we are simply aware that conditioning exists, as part of us.

you will also see others equally naked and

There is a razor divide where we choose to

when you converse with them, all will be

acknowledge this being in relationship with

seen for what it is; added details of an iden-

others, that is the key to relationships. It

tity. Behind those details of your identity,

doesn't demand, it doesn't condemn, it

your name, your gender, your family, your

flows with all things and as such raise no

race, culture and creed, you'll be all naked

barriers to communication. This spiritual

but for a sense of being. This ever present

awareness constitutes knowing its own na-

awareness of who you are, fundamentally,

ture as love.


A Forest Clearing The forest drew me in. The tranquility and silence made me want to explore. I followed a small trail next to a stream, up and into a clearing, where boulders and moss, fir trees and ferns peacefully shared the space. I was in Japan, in the small town of Iwama, where the founder of Aikido crystallized his art in the post-war era. Morihei Ueshiba had been an ardent spiritual aspirant since an early age. Parallel to his pursuit of the Martial Arts he had visited places of pilgrimage, temples and engaged in esoteric practices closely linked to the national religion of Shinto. I had just finished a bath, or more correctly a shower, in the nearby waterfall located at the foot of the small mountain hidden away back and behind the main roads and through fares. Standing under waterfalls, letting the water pound your neck, back and shoulders has been a Shinto purification rite and practice since ancient times. Closing your hands into prayer, you summon the gods, focus and concentrate. In wintertime the ice- cold water certainly wakes you up, clears the cobwebs and brings you into the present moment. Reinvigorated and fresh after my shower, I

dried myself and dressed. Feeling extraordinary calm I contemplated the beauty of the nature surrounding me. Having bicycled out there alone, having the day to myself, I had been thinking about the notion of enlightenment and its opposite; ignorance, or confusion. I had met my spiritual teacher the previous winter in India, which had opened up an inner vision that made me see with new eyes. I saw all things now as part of a holistic whole, complete unified in a tangible sense of wonder and loving embrace. Part of the time I spent training Aikido was now spent contemplating the questions and meaning of this new perspective. As I stood in that forest clearing, beholding the natural beauty, letting the silence impart on me a sense of being in absolute ease, I wondered how ignorance or confusion can cause a veil of obscurity to fall between you and truth? As I thought about this, a thin mist entered the clearing, flowing eortlessly through the trees, and then I understood. This mist that partially hid the trees behind it, was just another part of the complete scenery. As it flowed and moved on, nothing was altered or changed. I saw that all things partly covers up other things but that in no way hinders clear perception. Everything is seen as


they are, part of a whole. Seen like this, de-

pain that was suered through the World

lusion or ignorance, looses its misunder-

War II also had been an illusion, and that

stood veiling power. It becomes part of the

no one, not one, of the victims of the holo-

natural scene, part of life. Ignorance be-

caust, actually suered. Crazily though,

comes the fertile ground of awakening.

they all were fine, always had been fine, and are fine now. This, again, doesn't make sense, but it was the truth of my ex-

It’s a Dream It's a dream! This was the extraordinary insight. Not just an illusion of the mind as many would have it, but totally, a mirage with no reality to it whatsoever. I saw that the whole world, me and everything in it, was a phantom. We are all part of this play, this grand illusion, and of course, as dreamers within a dream, it matters. But nevertheless, the whole thing was seen through in a brief instance.

perience, and nothing has been more true to me than that. So from that unknown dimension behind my very own experience exists a realm that is impossible to peep into. As the dreamer can't behold reality while dreaming, yet an awake person can remember their dreams and know it as such. Many would now claim that it surely is only the mind-dream that we need to wake up from, in order to see life as it really is, free from mental illusions, fixed ideas and bi-

I saw it out of an identity that I can only

ases. That is clearly true and most likely

designate as myself, but obviously not re-

much more beneficial to us, in order to live

ferring to me as a person. This mirage is all

a real life. But that is not what I'm referring

we know, live within, and exist as. I often

to. I'm talking about the whole shebang be-

wondered what this revelation could add

ing false. Life and death as we know it, this

to my knowledge of life. Does it hold any

whole universe, is all, a make-belief. But is

value? I could never appropriate this vision

this understanding helpful? I'm not sure

to anything known. It was always just an

whether it is or not. It doesn't help me, or

absolute statement of fact, that did little or

inspire me, to get out of bed in the morn-

nothing to improve my understanding of

ing. But what it can do, is to give me per-

life. So for many years I just ignored it and

spective. A giant huge enormous perspec-

put it aside and got on with life. I had one

tive, where life and death is already taken

other event that showed me that all the

care of in a fundamental way. Yet, no ex-


cuses, it's no ticket out of here, and will

intended target; its aim and goal far out-

not ensure a free ride. More likely it will

reaches the mere self defense purpose or

confuse people to the why we then are

martial skills desired. It becomes a vehicle

here? Fatalism is not helpful to lead a pro-

for an exploration of life, a tool to discover

ductive and caring life. So we find our-

new perspectives. We turn our bodies and

selves back on Earth, a very real exis-

minds into a research project that uses it-

tence, that need our careful attention in or-

self for experimentation. Through close in-

der to dissolve and to clarify our lives to

spection, continuous training and ongoing

the maximum degree.

evaluation, we hone and sharpen, focus

Then spiritual understanding refers to this world, albeit a subtle world, hard to see and penetrate. Evolution and the unfolding understanding of our Cosmos and all sciences pertaining to all the mysterious and intricate matters that life in this universe contain, is the forefront of human knowledge. It's like, looking through the window of my eye into an exploding and evolving universe filled with conscious life curious of itself. What a drama, what a lila, and what a mystery!

and improve our tool. Using keen discrimination and lofty ideals we pursue a larger event, a future understanding. Improving and maturing our vehicle as we go along, implementing new information, reaching fresh conclusions and are able to move into new areas of study. Being a living person our body and mind can be tuned to become a creative moving vehicle, ready to shift and change to circumstances that demands a larger view, exploring the very edge, pushing the present understanding into new ways of thinking, ready to widen our perception and our frame of mind. This living organic process in nothing but Time itself, moving us forward always into

Aikido and Evolution

the future. Time never stops for any man, so whether we are swept along as mere

What does Evolution have to do with

drift wood or if we ride the crest of the lead-

Aikido? If we speak of evolution as the pro-

ing wave, we will have to deal with the fu-

gress in time, we see that it is the develop-

ture in one way or another. Consciously we

ment and learning that Aikido points to-

can be aware of the tremendous power

wards. Then Aikido becomes larger in its

and speed this beam of light, or wave, has,


and be thrilled to be moving head first into

anchored in who you are in essence.

a yet unformed future, gaining knowledge

Firmly based and centered in your being,

and experience, growing and evolving be-

more fundamental than your name and

yond what has ever come before.

even your gender. Even if you are not cer-

Now this is a vision to be held in the heart, in our minds eye, to feel the journey the whole Cosmos is on, and recognizing that we as human beings partake in that very evolutionary ride. Every cell in our body,

tain, not able to pin point or articulate exactly who you are deep down, you without a doubt know that you ARE. You exist as a person but to a much larger extent then at this moment is known.

every thought we carry, every act we per-

Together we come to share an impersonal

form, lives and changes by the very fact of

space, a field where we communicate

the never ending motion of time, the very

freely with each other. We may come to rec-

expansion of the universe itself. We are

ognize the unity and sameness of such a

part of that accelerating time machine that

communion, feeling free from self preoccu-

never looks back. How then, can we not

pation and ego isolation. It is this shared

learn? As each present moment is so new,

context that set the scene for a conscious

full of potential and free from the past. This

exploration, a sharing of ideals and of un-

living spark, this non-stop motion of en-

derstanding. We come to enjoy letting our-

ergy, seeking the new, this never ending ex-

selves go into an impersonal dialogue, a

ploration is life's thirst for itself.

joint discovery, of a playing field of consciousness, of awakened awareness. This task will open up a vista, a view, of unparal-

Alta Vista

leled vastness, of yet unformed future. We will break the glass ceiling in our joy of

Knowing oneself is probably a term we

meeting in a shared space, exploring and

may never leave behind. Since time imme-

investigating all things. Leaving behind

morial man has asked this question of him-

fixed ideas and rigid formulas you get a

self; who am I? What am I? Who are we

thrill to find out anew. Transcend yet in-

and what are we? As a race, what are we?

clude past knowledge, past experience. Ex-

"Human beings" is a beautiful epithet. In

pand our perspective to embrace an even

my book, human implies spiritual. To be

fuller world view and grasp yet unheard sto-

spiritual, to me, is to be deeply 39

ries coming to us from the enigmatic em-

What is discovered together in communion

brace of the unknown.

far outlasts any personal agenda of self discovery. In it we find unity. We find a common source. It is a platform upon which


we stand lifted up. It is a table where we share a meal together. It is a place where

Ananda, the Buddha’s personal assistant,

we can communicate, where joint effort al-

once said to the Buddha that half the spiri-

lows for new insights and creative explora-

tual life consist of kalyana mitrata, spiritual


friendship, or friendship with what is lovely. The Buddha replies, ‘Say not so Ananda. Say not so. It is the whole, not the half of the spiritual life.’ Being together brings about a we-space, a shared context in which to meet and to commune. It is important that we don't take this for granted but take care to cultivate this field of friendship. It is actually much more than just friendship. It is an actualization of an energetic merging of personalities into a holistic experience of one-

Your True Face In order for us to meet, to truly genuinely meet, we must drop our mask. We must stop pretending and avoid trying to please. We can't hold up fixed and rigid attitudes nor hide behind opinion. Understanding comes when we "stand under", when we listen not from a distance, but just from nearby.

ness, of a shared identity. In Christianity

To experience the thrilling evolutionary

this is represented by the communion,

leap from the personal to the impersonal,

sharing the body and blood of Christ, be-

from the personal self to the universal Self,

coming one in the process. Both in the

from the limited sense of being alone to a

flesh and in the spirit. The brotherhood of

real shift into a unified field of all being

the Buddhas Sangha (community), the or-

one, we must want to meet without re-

ders of fellowship in all religious communi-

serve, to meet without conditions. We

ties, points to the sacredness of being to-

must want to see unity and non- separate-

gether in the spirit of the teachings.

ness beyond what we feel or think.


Love takes us close to each other, yet with-

self, your real nature. Find your timeless

out shedding our beliefs, our ideas, even

and deathless Self, ever free, ever new.

that won't be enough to enlighten our mind, our understanding, as to the nature of this inter-subjective awareness. Without daring to shed our precious ego identity we won't let go into a larger, more comprehensive, sense of being. There are many layers of belief structures that needs to be seen through in order for us to discover a complete sense of freedom. We must question ourselves, seek out our motives, find our ideas, loosen our strongholds. Recognize our defense mechanisms, our body's visceral reactions, our mind's excuses. We must come to see that our Ego will say No, and that it is natural for it to say no. Yet we can go forward, wanting to find the real in communion, with the other. Seeing

Realize unity, recognize non-self, see oneness. Loosen the fixed ideas of separateness, of individuality. See the impersonal nature of all conditioned phenomena. See the transiency of appearances. Find your spirit underlying your soul. Understand the nature of yourself and of others. See that the Truth is your own nature. Find that its nature is love. Seeing is understanding, humbling ourselves in the face of being non-separate from the other. Stand then in unity with all things, knowing that it is an absolute reality we all can adhere to at any given time. Find that beautiful space where all things are resolved. Don't mistake it, it is right here.

our original face in each others. Liquid Metal Realization of the Absolute Realize who you are beyond time and space. See the face you had before your parents where born. Look within, find out who you are, before thought, before memory. Realize being. Discard everything you know about yourself and find the core. Intense introspection will reveal your true

Be like liquid metal. Strong yet supple. Fluid yet not loose. In Terminator 2 Arnold had to battle it out with an upgrade of his own kind. The old Terminators robotic mechanism was replaced with a liquid metal intelligent design. This is the body we want to develop, soft yet strong, fluid and solid at once. Finding your balance, centering and grounding your feeling be-


tween your feet, sinking in. Resting the up-

bility of meeting as equals, any chance of

per body, back and torso carried by the

finding the new together. It abandons the

pelvis, relaxing shoulders and arms, mov-

possibility of finding the truth together in

ing freely. Eyes follow intention, hips lead-

the shared exploration and investigation of

ing with legs firm. Floating and buoyant,

a completely unknown moving present.

balance is maintained from the ground up. Hardness and stiness is dissolved, rigidity let go of, living organic movement embraced. Opening up energy channels, lightness escaping upwards, outwards while weight drops down; a two-way highway going both directions at the same time. The yin and yang interplay of gravity and life force. Dissolving and assembling, dispersing and collecting. Amassing and storing, sharing and giving energy, filling up emptiness. Liquid metal merging, coming together, becoming one unit, one mass, one body.

The sharing must always come from humility, the presence is co- owned, co-shared. No host and no guest. But a shared space, a shared bath in the nectar of spiritual truth. This will cleanse us of the need to be the "teacher", the one that knows, the one that want to lead. Can we, you and I, meet without pretense? Can we seek the truth that we already share as co-creators, knowing the divine play the ensues from such an agreement, as it is not I nor you that is the master of the drama. God and Spirit will move through us as we allow the divine to take precedence. Meet in the divine nature of

Humility to Meet Does anyone recognize the need for humility when we meet? Already knowing destroys the possibility of meeting anew, meeting fresh, for two to come together on neutral ground, on a level field. Among spiritual aspirants as well as among peers and teachers, the mistake often is to come already with an opinion or agenda, an idea or preference. This cancels out any possi-

our being and explore the depth of our ability to share. Open the floodgates by trusting the other. Find the common note, the common rhythm, surrender your ego claims of knowing more. Hah, how that is such a stumbling block for all. For it is not to know more, but to know together that creates the miracle. Evolution only happens when we loose the individuals involved and


merge as one. This can only come about

knock on doors, do seek it. If you do, you

by not knowing more than the other. But

will be answered and you will come to a

we allow for maybe the other knows more

deep understanding of your very own self.

than us.

Your real self prior to body, mind and time.

Humility creates the opportunity to truly

Who are you? If you are not sure, please

meet in the truth as one realized being.

realize the importance of the question for

One shared divine event. Now try this with

yourself. It is fundamental to everything

your friends and peers.

you do in life. It is fundamental in your relationships, in your understanding of the world, and of your self. All spiritual pursuit

Do You Know Who You Are?

follow this line of inquiry, all religion point to a deeper sense of being. All existential

Fundamentally do you know who you are?

questions find their meaning in this ques-

Deep down, have you found the essence


of your self? Before time and space, thought and feeling entered? One of the first questions we ask ourselves when we want to learn about the nature of ourselves is, "who am I"? It is an existential, spiritual question that points to the core of our being. Usually we ask this in our teens, trying to find a compass to take us through life. The question "who am I" have many layers. It can reveal in a very short time, an extraordinary depth if pursued diligently. Ask yourself and inquire into who you are. Look within to find the answer. You need no other tool or method to complete the inward journey. Look at yourself and decide that you want, need and must pursue this with all your heart, all your strength, and with all your courage. Do ask for help, do

If you feel you have a sense of who you are, or if you know, can you recognize how this knowing and being acquainted with, makes you feel absolutely still and peaceful? Calm within even if there is turmoil and commotion outside. Can you see how by holding onto your being itself, no strategy, no thinking needs to interfere? Can you see that any method takes you away from an innate response, that will come intuitively as you are so with life, so in your self, that freedom expresses itself through your actions. Being mindful refers to being mindful of your self, not any other thing. Your self in the deepest most profound sense, will create a presence that is felt by


others, if you remain and reside in it. If you

beautiful ceremony, steeped in history,

retain your fundamental unity in your indi-

poignant with reason, meaning and pur-

visible self with others, we will be able to


merge and share a common field of being. Allowing for this being is knowing, deep knowing that is actual and real for your body and mind in the present moment. Meditation is being in this state of mind. Thinking and feeling may take you away, but recognize the need to return over and over again. Learn to harness your capacity to stay within your being. Learn to see how that is dierent from concentrating on a task or a thing. Stay with

Sunday, the day of the lords rising, a day of rest and remembrance. Turning within I find a peace coming from faith in him who died for all men, for all time. How does one explain this mystery that bears the testimony of thousand years? Yet it is true today as it was then. This holiness that humbles all hearts, sets the world in order. In it we find correct correspondence, right etiquette and a bal-


anced and just hierarchy. Super-natural or-

Who are you? If you are a student, this is


der becomes a wonderful harmony in rela-

my question to you.

Aikido - a Question of Perspective Holy Holy

Is Aikido a "martial" art, or an art of love?

Communion.. sharing the body and blood

Old-school soldiers will claim it to be an ef-

of Christ, is such a wonderful sacrament.

fective combat discipline while more peace

The meaning is deep, hidden from the nor-

oriented students prefer to see the non-

mal way. Alive and present, the spirit is

violent side of Aikido as the conflict resolu-

never far away. I close my eyes and silently

tion method par excellence.

give thanks as it send shivers through my body. More of you Christ, more of you.

I would dare to say that to understand the

Friends being ordained into the priest-

man side to Aikido, we need to shift focus.

hood, a life of service to the Lord. What a

We need to alter our perspective, the way

spiritual dimension, and by that also the hu-


we view life, the way we view others and

restoring balance, we fulfill the relationship

the way we view ourselves. We must align

in harmony.

to the highest meaning and purpose of Aikido, and that is clearly stated and laid out by the founder Morihei Ueshiba, also known as O Sensei; as the budo of love. In sharp contrast to all other martial arts, Aikido oer an alternative to the combat methods. It proposes there is a way to deal with aggression and conflict that is not violent or harsh, it suggests that there is another way of viewing or seeing the interaction. It holds out a transformed vision, a changed perspective, in the way we hold the other. We are asked to see us all as one entity, as one being, and to deal with

Without this change of perspective Aikido will remain just a martial art and we will loose sight of O Sensei's vision. We must fully appreciate this dierence in perspective in order not to return to a mere mechanistic way of viewing our discipline. Learn to distinguish this in teachers; are they teaching a martial art or a spiritual way? This should have tremendous impact on the way you train. Let Aikido change the way you view the world.

the energetic and spiritual fields of our relationship. Grace We must open up to an inclusive picture, embracing and joining our event, without

Ask and it shall be given, it says. Inherent

fear or resentment. We must train in order

in this there's the meaning of something to

to become easy in engagements, light in

be given, not acquired. We must ask and

confrontation, giving in exchange.

desire something from beyond ourselves. Something we do not already possess. We

Turn your gaze inwards, see from dierent

would like to see with new eyes, feel with a

point of view. Allow an impersonal love to

new heart, and understand with a new-

flood your system, flowing out to touch all

found freedom. What is stopping us from

within your circle. Appease anger, control

being humble at heart, to want to change?

reaction, subdue emotions with gentleness

What stands in our way of receiving the

and kindness. By matching, blending, join-

gracious touch of the spirit?

ing and merging, by leading, guiding and


Silent contemplation accompanied by

there? Stay there and not retreat back out

clear intention, an open heart and a willing-

of it. Remain in that wholly unknown place

ness to find out serves to help and to pre-

and dare to push through. Penetrate the

pare. Misogi, spiritual purification, pre-

darkest recesses of your mind to break

pares the way, for divine insight to fall.

free. Find something laying just beyond,

Pray that you shall be blessed. To be sure,

like the light of dawn past the dark hori-

if you do, that is the first step to a spiritual


shift that will change your life.

When you look within and find nothing,

Therefore, grace or spiritual liberation is

don't turn away. Go deeper. All the an-

not something we can mentally conjure up.

swers lies within, past your dark sea of

But through the testimony of others we

consciousness. If you stay or linger over

can believe it's real and make us want to

that dark ocean long enough there will be

partake in it. Fight cynicism and unbelief

a break of dawn. The first rays of sunlight

as the active deterrents for achieving a

coming over the waters at the end of the

ready heart and an open mind. Prepare the

night. This metaphor is ancient but points

way of the Lord, as they say.

to your own inner world, to your own con-

Only with new eyes can we truly see. Only with a spiritual heart can we discern what life is really about. Love in the beginning, love in the middle and love in the end. What makes man change his ways? What is it that makes us human? Can we take it further and see what it would mean to become spiritual beings? If you have not grasped or seen the fundamental spiritual nature of all things, how will you know your self? When you look inside, when you come to a dead end where all is dark and

sciousness. Stay with it, remain with your question, long enough for a light to appear. For wisdom to arise, for a gentle breeze to touch you. Patience and endurance is required. Thoughtfulness and contemplation needed. Then testing it in your every day life, for confirmation of its universality. Once your inner eye is awakened, your light within, you'll have found a friend that you will never see. Cherish this relationship and seek it out. It's a deep well of divine love and knowledge. Faith is confidence in

where confusion reigns, will you stay 46

it. Fan and stoke this fire to make it burn

Can we choose a different alternative

even brighter. Invest and surrender to it.

when we find it challenging? Can we lis-

Meet others in the same love, share this secret between you. Find it becoming something else in relationship, coming alive as a living quality among you.

ten? Can we listen to our own mind and heart, without withdrawing nor reacting? Can we slow everything down to bare essentials? Break the motion of resistance, staying with the interaction, returning to balance, feeling your way through it. Can we keep listening to advice and guidance

In the Face of Fear

at the height of the challenge, when it matters? Can we dare to trust that there is a

When you cramp up, tighten and freak out.

different alternative from our knee jerk re-

When you hold back, shut and close

sponse of fight or flight? Can we remain in

down. When fear gets the better of you,

the face of fear, in the height of internal ten-

what is your default response? Contrac-

sion, and break the cycle of abdication?

tion, withdrawal, backing out? When you get overwhelmed, panic approaches and

By committing not to move, not to budge

you freeze, what do you do? Halt and aban-

when the heat is on. All you need to do is

don what you are doing?

to stay. Stay still, don't move towards it, nor away from it. Once the reverberations

In Aikido, our sense of self gets challenged

die down and waters surface become yet

by difficult moves, by an uncoordinated

again still and calm, you will be able to see

body, by trying to break habit, by not un-

your face in its reflection. Once you slow

derstanding, and by relationship. Our sys-

down and see all parts for what they are,

tem rears up, our mind goes blank, fear of

you'll defuse the confusion.

the unknown ensues. How do you respond? Break through the resistance by en-

Recognize the beguiling power of fear, of

forcing what you know from the past, or

contraction, and find its opposite; the lib-

do you back out? Fight or flight reaction?

eration of your self.

The primal instinctive survival mechanism kicking in? See it, feel it, recognize it.


Body, Mind & Heart Body mind and heart, three dierent centers. Each containing a specific fragrance and quality. Body filled with sensations of balance, weight, movement and touch as well as gut feelings with varied emotional content.

emotions. The heart chakra, the window of your soul, is the centre for love, our empathy and feelings of care. Also, the heart serve as a central point of balance between the upper and lower energy centres. Our mind likes to lay claim to the three upper chakras. The centre of speech, the faculty of thought, and the open expanse of consciousness. Yet all of them can be in-

Mind expresses our rational thinking to

cluded in a holistic sense of self where

control and handle our experience. Obser-

they all play their separate parts. This uni-

vation and clarity manages abstract scenar-

fied self, or personality, we call soul.

ios, coordinates and dictates action. The seat of our sense of personal self.

The soul looks out through these three portals if you like, experiences the world

Heart, the place for love and compassion,

through the senses and organs of body,

our centre for feelings of joy and a shared

mind and heart, yet sustains itself from an

identity. Care and concern touches an emo-

unseen agent we can call spirit, the under-

tional quality of unity.

lying limitless nature of our true timeless being. A direct connection to our spirit,

Our body contains our senses; touch,

with clear channels through our senses,

smell, hearing, taste, seeing and sensing.

will awaken a natural freedom of move-

Yet some are more identified with our

ment and response, with a liberating sense

mind, like hearing and seeing. Maybe

of unlimited potentiality.

since they are located in the head. Closely related to the body are smell, touch and taste. Sensing can many times be referred to each centre for dierent experiences; body sense, mind sense and heart sense. The body usually houses our lower chakras, or energy centers, like the sexual impulse, the digestive process, and our gut

Body, Soul & Spirit Many are the distinctions we can make in regards to our make-up as a human being. Soul has been a hard one to nail down. Let me give it a try. Ki is another diďŹƒcult concept to incorporate into Western under48

standing. I shall try to paint a coherent pic-

call Soul, the "I" that you are. Soul, or self,

ture that is easy to grasp and relevant in

is the individual historical person, yet with

our process to deepen our understanding

a somewhat aloof relationship to your own

of ourselves, especially how it relates to

body, mind and heart. We say "my body",

our practice of Aikido.

"my mind" and "my heart" as they are part

First l will briefly recount our groupings of

of us but only parts.

Body, Mind and Heart (see previous Note).

Our body houses all the senses and our

They are three separate "windows" from

brain processes them all for our heart to

where we can experience life. Our body

make sense of. A mass of information con-

has distinct bodily needs and functions

tinuously floods our mind. Many-times we

and "gut" feelings. As do our mind, or

just obey the loudest voice and do its will.

thought activity, have a designated field of

When hungry I eat. Now if we are able to

activity. While our heart often has to take

separate the dierent functions and needs

the unfortunate middle-ground trying to

of our body/ mind/heart we will have more

make sense of the often contradictory mes-

awareness over what's what. We will be

sages coming from either end. Many times

able to make informed decisions and

confused with mixed messages the heart

choices. This capacity to take reign over

don't know what to do, nor does it always

our senses doesn't come from the body/

make the right priorities.

mind/heart conglomeration. It must stand

This is the crux of the matter, it is confused! Our separate fields of experience

apart from it in order to be able to see it objectively.

are "fused" together, not being clearly

Our soul, more than just being the sum of

separated and distinguished in their spe-

three parts, must have an agent. This

cific rolls and functions. These three win-

agent, this room to exist, must incorporate

dows combined makes up our experience

a much larger field of experience, a field of

of life. We conclude from this outlook that

experience beyond our body, mind and

we, or I, is the experiencer, the self, our-

heart. We call this space "Spirit". It sus-

self. If we stand back from this identity we

tains our self, harbors our soul. Becoming

can recognize that we do have a quality of

aware of the underlying nature of being it-

objective observance of our own event, of

self, we become free from identifying

our experience. Now this identity we can

solely with our time- limited body/mind/


heart. We find an outlet (or inlet if you like)

temperature? Simply put, by wanting it.

to our true identity, fully part and parcel of

But yes of course there is more to it. We

our body/mind/heart yet connected and in-

need to believe in it, we need to reach

timately associated with our larger univer-

deep inside of ourselves, and focus and

sal sense of self.

concentrate our one-pointed intention on

The life-force that's running through us, that force that wakes up and says "I am", is the very life-force of the universe itself. Yet in us it is individualized. Personalized it is me, who I am as a man. My spirit or my self. My will and my life. Freed from individuality it merges with all of life, becomes part of an indivisible whole. We call this

something beyond ourselves. Your own experience has to undergo a change, a transformation, a mutation. By holding a bigger perspective, by allowing nothing else to interfere, we go quiet inside and invite the presence of the divine to come, to enter our souls. We must come alive to our own spirit housed within our body and mind.

"Ki". Individual life or universal life. Spirit

O Sensei stirred the air in the dojo with his

points to something beyond our minds un-

jo. He stirred the heavens, to make it come

derstanding, something beyond our

alive, to drive out unbelief and stagnation.

body's needs, and something beyond our

He invoked the gods to bless his training

hearts wildest dreams and hopes.

and to touch his students. O Sensei called

Our soul, infused with spirit, will feel the rush of ki, the life force, and it will saturate our body mind and heart, oiling the mere mechanics of every day life with the immortal seal of love.

this "misogi", spiritual purification or cleansing. He knew well that he had to lead by example to bring about a change in people's hearts and minds. The students responsibility is to pay attention to the teachers eort to bring something new into the dojo, to saturate it with his spirit, and with his own ability try to join him in

Stirring the Spirit, Bringing Heaven to

opening up a wider dimension. This is indi-


vidually challenging but its result is communal. We feel the spirit of the place come

How do we encounter the heavenly? How

alive, we tune in and encounter a larger

can we approach the divine? How do we

sense of self that is shared among all par-

bring about a change in the atmospheric

ticipants. In


religious terms this is worship. Becoming

level, while we learn to adapt and conform

aware of the significant active ingredient in

to its universal nature. Kokyu then, be-

ones own participation gives one the

comes our tool to harmonize with nature.

added incentive to help and to nurture the

Our breath becomes synchronized with a

dojo from the moment we walk in the door.

general flow of things. We need to study this in order to understand it. We need to understand it in order to utilize and blend

Ki and its Extension; Kokyu

with it. Once we touch upon that generative power and consciously grasp the ac-

I will continue to try to make sense out of

tive ability to join it with our own will, we

all our varied designations that we have to

will have come to see the essence of Aiki

come to terms with in our development

and its marvelous life-fulfilling function.

and study of Aikido. Kokyu, the extension of Ki, literally means "breath". In that meaning it relates to Ki, as in the spirit of things. As to the life blood of things. What drives

Lightning and Thunder

and propels life? More than just the pas-

A highly charged atmosphere contain the

sage of time? A generative impulse to

potential for rain. When we clap in the be-

grow, to expand, and to give birth. Body,

ginning of class, we recreate the condi-

mind and heart grows consciously or un-

tions of heaven. We draw together, concen-

consciously whether we're aware of it or

trate and absorb, becoming one-pointed.

not. This is Ki in its general grand design,

Focused and intent, we accrue critical

seen as the continuous change our uni-

mass and release it through two distinct

verse constantly undergoes. As our individ-

claps. Crisp and sharp it clarifies the mind,

ual breath is the sign of life, so is the com-

opens the heart, and call on the body to

ing and going, the evolution and constant


change of the cosmos the very breath of the universe itself.

Lightning shocks and penetrates. Thunder

In Aikido we learn to harness this universal

falls gently. This is the etiquette of the

power. We learn and study how to direct


rolls over the land, releasing tension. Rain

intent. Our all important will comes to the foreground to take charge on an individual 51

Point of Balance A common misconception in the practice of Aikido is to unbalance your opponent. To push or pull someone till they fall over.

we can use this countering to our own advantage. Sometimes this is ascribed to the practice of Judo (not always doing it justice).

Many times this is done in excess, over-

Our practice of Aikido must be dierent,

reaching and stretching beyond our body's

much more nuanced. Instead of breaking

capacity, often to find that we end up in a

the balance of our opponent we want to

dead-end or passed the point where return

find common ground, a place where we

is possible.

share a mutual point of balance. We call

In our own case, by our self, we enjoy a good balance. Standing evenly weighted between the feet, centered in our lower abdomen with relaxed upper torso and head. This feels good, a position we always naturally return to after being unbalanced. Whether we lie down, sit or stand, there is always a point of balance that is comfortable and easy. Like water all things settle downward according to gravity, and all larger living form naturally gravitate feet down head up. A natural balance that we

out the other, out of his personal self, into a relational enactment. We support and help to establish this new engagement by merging and blending. Correct distance is maintained so the scales are evenly balanced. Not too much nor too little, do we weigh in. In perfect balance, sustained through continuous play between water and fire. We move around a common centre, a point of balance where we become one entity, each one being sustained and nurtured in the movement.

often take for granted. We have a buoyancy for up-righteousness. We want to get back up, simply said. We strive to remain in balance, at all times, knowingly or unknowingly. So if we impose unbalance on our uke, he will instinctively counter-move. This dichotomy we often use in order to fulfill our technique. When we push knowingly he will push back so

When Meditation Fell Away Aiki means to blend the personal ki with the universal ki. To become in-tune with, intrinsic part of, and co-creative with, the natural rhythm of life. The flow of life has, just as a river, a quality of drawing you in. Once in the current you are taken eortlessly. Life wants to draw you in. To pull 52

you onto itself. This is the magnet pull you

tion, coming to rest within, yet it holds no

feel on your heart. The love of life is su-

special place as a continuous practice any

premely attractive. It is nature itself want-

longer. This was quite unsettling at the

ing everything to align, to line up, to get

time as I could not understand it. This sud-

with the program.

den loss of the practice of meditation. I

In Aikido, we need to become this attractive force, to find this magnetic quality in our selves. Like the mountain echo we call

spent my remaining time by the river slightly confused over the state of my inner world. Nothing more to do.

out and receive a response, a movement

Meditation is a wonderful tool to remain

that reverberates between us. Through our

mindful, to find your self, to loose your

breathing we find resonance and space,

self, to experience depth, to experience

connecting and fulfilling our relationship.

your self. The quality of the meditation lies

We let go of a selfish relationship to life

in your own desire for freedom, for under-

and see the other as part of oneself, find-

standing, for peace. When the spiritual self

ing our identity in all things. Without eort

begins to be known, your soul might run

we blend and create an opening to a joint

for it, or run from it. If pursued, grace can

endeavor, finding more energy, more joy

overtake you and you'll find yourself at

and more love.

loss what to do. Remain within and all is

When Grace took over. My experiences in northern India revealed to me the nonseparateness from all of life and from my

revealed outside. Grace and conduct, love and compassion, will now be your companion, your secret friend.

own spirit. As a result of the revelations while a Nani Ma's ashram my inclination and capacity to meditate fell away. Try as I may, I couldn't do it. I had sat with ease but now it became impossible. It was as if the reason for it had been undone. There was no point to it anymore, and so when I tried it even felt wrong. This has remained with me ever since. Even though now from time to time I enjoy sitting still in medita-

At Mastaram Babaji’s Ashram Hiking into the foothills of the Himalayas I strode in through a small gate leading to a small clearing by the Ganges river, a small Ashram consisting of only a few huts for solitary contemplation, prayer and meditation run by a British female sadhu named Nani Ma. Me and my two friends walked 53

into an atmosphere of heightened spiritual

ting outside my little hut enjoying the morn-

tension. There was a palpable sense of

ing sun my mind started to organize itself,

love and deep laying wisdom surrounding

shifting into clear patterns, quickly finding

the place. We were expected and Nani Ma

depth. A softness fell over me and I under-

sat us down on a patch of grass next to

stood that "I have sole responsibility for

the river and asked us of our intention for

the well-being of every single person and

our stay in the ashram. By this time my in-

that I have sole responsibility for the wel-

ner world was churning up, something was

fare of the whole planet". Suddenly I be-

taken place that was beyond my compre-

gan to dissolve, me as a historic person

hension but I loved it. The inner tension

vanished and instead I was filled with glori-

kept constant and our dialogue was al-

ous white light. I regained my body and I

most like a quiet background to it. We

regained my voice, my real body, and my

were allowed to stay and were shown our

real voice. I started to praise and give

individual huts where we would live. That

thanks to all things, my voice no longer im-

first night I could hardly sleep, alone in my

peded but full and unobstructed. White

little hut my mind was racing and it was ac-

light was everywhere. Now I saw what Je-

celerating out of control. So fast I could

sus meant with "me and my father are

not keep up. Then Mastaram Babaji came

one" and "but my father is bigger than

and spoke to me from within saying "You

me". This was resurrection into a glorified

are the Absolute", and everything went still

body. This was holy and this was only

a n d q u i e t .

through Gods mercy. The ground I sat on

The next three months was just wonder-

became my closest ally, so close like my

ful. Nestled among the peaks at about

pillow, like my bed. The whole earth sup-

10.000 feet altitude, the river running rap-

ported me and bore witness to what was

idly through narrow gorges, clean and


drinkable, cool and refreshing for early morning baths, beautiful with green glacial waters. Here I read the Bible, meditated and chanted together with Nani Ma and j u s t h a d t i m e t o t h i n k .
 One morning I found myself naturally falling into a spontaneous contemplation. Sit-

I was thinking how would others be able to grasp this? The light was everywhere, within and without, and all who would come would equally share it with no effort of their own. We would all just be in paradise together effortlessly. My father, the immeasurable light extending in all direc-


tions, had the quality of being totally un-

From now on, you do know him and have

knowable, an impenetrable mystery. Yet so

seen him.” So he says if we can know him

close, my very own source of life. So now I

we will know the father as well. If we can

understood how Jesus meant "only

know the son we will know the father. But

through the son" do we get to partake in

how can we know the son? How can we

the kingdom. Without the son God will re-

see that the son is like the father and the

main an unknowable mystery. But through

father like the son?

the son we find love and communion.

By wanting to know, by wanting to under-

As I regained some normality I walked

stand the mystery. By diving deep within.

down to have my morning coffee as the

By studying the life and teaching of Christ.

rain clouds slowly were accumulating.

By introspection, meditation and contem-

Coming back up to my hut a large cloud

plation. By wondering what it all means.

was being formed by the valley sides, flowing down the river valley towards me. It was lit up and colored from behind by the rising sun and the v-shape of the valley made it look like an enormous angel coming over me. Absolutely spectacular I was stunned and in awe.

By penetrating to the substance, to discover the essence, to discover our true nature, to realize our being, our non-dual self. Like father like son. We can come to see the presence of the living spirit in and among us, throughout and immanent. By finding the son in yourself, resurrected, as a perfect example, a possibility and a

Like Father Like Son Of the same substance, of the same essence and of the same nature. Of the

hope, you will find the father as well. Identify the son and you will come to know the father. Only through the son will it become evident.

same being. This is the foundation of Christian theology; homoousian. How can we understand it? How can we incorporate it in our being? Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.

Manifest Truth Silent understanding won't cut it. Prior experience won't help. Deep knowing will not be enough. False self-reliance will trick


you. No matter how rich your experience has been, it will not aord you credit. Nonmanifest truth, absolute reality, in and of itself will not grant you immunity. Inner certainty insures no favors. Heart to heart connection retain no bond outside of communication. Our interior being remain mere potential without interaction. Through our acts and words we become. We make manifest what is inside and our knowledge is revealed in relationship. Only by our speech and actions do we make real what is hidden inside. Out in the open it is seen for what it is. Disclosed and naked, truth

Try Something New Usually we are very comfortable with what we are good at, forgetting sometimes the learning process that took us there. Trying something new is not to discard what we already know but to enlarge our understanding with a greater context, with a wider perspective. When faced with a possible change of direction why not try it to see where it leads. Otherwise there's the risk of always just treading the same old ground, not discovering fresh insights. At least, you'd get to taste something dier-


ent from the norm. Leaving old and well

"In the the beginning there was the word".

if you're not sure what the new entail. In

All things comes into being by expression.

the art of Aikido, the path is one from the

Before, it remains as infinite potential,

gross toward the subtle. From the seen,

never to be recognized until realized. We

from the felt, from the self, to the unseen,

verify and confirm what's in our hearts

the intuit and to the shared. It's a refine-

through what we say and do. Simply stat-

ment of our senses, a movement towards

ing the obvious. By expressing it it takes

union. Leaving the partial behind we em-

form. It shapes our lives and build our fu-

brace a holistic engagement where there is


no contention nor strife. Go from static,

Humility is the only possible attitude and we recognize that we must make the eort to communicate. To share and to partake becomes the only way to manifest truth. To

worn paths might not feel easy, especially

rigid, firm and strong to soft, sensitive, pliable and intuitive. Move from form to no form. Leave direct intent to natural response.

come alive, to make real, we must step out into relationship. Embodied existence. Manifest truth. Heaven on Earth.



The Plumb Line

Lurking deep inside there is the unpleasant

Diving deep we pass through sub-

side of us we don't want to reveal. Usually

sequential layers of experience. In medita-

it is hidden away, never to be seen. At

tion we allow ourselves to find depth, fol-

times it comes to the surface, anger dis-

lowing our plumb line to guide us down.

played, even rage. An unknown monster to

Centered and one-pointed we never leave

many, not understood we will not acknowl-

our lifeline. At each level we'll encounter a

edge it out of fear. Yet when challenged or

dierent set of conditions; the tempera-

exposed, questioned and scrutinized it will

ture, light and pressure changes. At certain

raise its ugly head. Under pressure we re-

depths there is plenty of sights of color

sort to this last survival defense mecha-

and life. Each level can distract you from

nism. It feels like a personal aront that we

the aim and intent to go deep. Continue

don't understand the reason for. We fight

into the darkness, the abyss, sinking ever

for life, defending god knows what? We

deeper into your own mind and heart. Fol-

will not succumb, we will not surrender, we

low your line of inquiry to the bottom.

can't give in.

Don't be distracted by the sounds and

When the pressure is on we feel our own demonic nature rising. When pin-pointed and we have nowhere to hide the demon

forms around you. Let the sea engulf and swallow you up. One breath and you enter the darkness.

inside is unleashed, and anger, wrath and hate comes to defend our position. This is the ugly face of our Ego fighting for survival, to remain unknown. When the devil is not challenged he lives care- free and happy, roaming this world without a problem. But when taken to task, when discovered and questioned, all hell breaks loose.

Mirrors I was in Japan. Long time ago. It was summer and it was sweltering hot in the countryside. We'd come to a small house at the foot of the mountains to bathe in the nearby waterfall. I'd gone into the house to find some shade after the refreshing misogi shower. There was a large mirror on the wall and as I sat down opposite it, shirt o due to the heat, I watched my image. 57

Almost like in meditation I became calm and still, absorbed by the reflection in the mirror. My eyes relaxed and not fixed I took in the full picture of my body and face. As I looked into the mirror my form seemed to change. My face changed, my body altered shape. I changed into another person. Seamlessly my body and face altered from one person to another, both male and female, old and young. They seemed to be ordinary people from a time gone by. There was no information of what or of whom these images were. They were all me. I in different bodies, in different lives. But mind you, not me as in a reincarnated self, but more like me and you seen in all other human faces. Our spirit seen through a multitude of form, a multitude of people. I am not singular, I am a multitude of faces. Now I see this in all human be-

Mindfulness of Being I remember the most beautiful monk. In southern Thailand in Vat Suan Mokkh, the garden of liberation, the meditation retreat centre offered ten-day courses based on the Buddhas teaching of mindfulness. We practiced Anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing in and out. The morning bell would ring at 4am. Waking up in the jungle was exciting, a quick cold splash at the water basin, a few warm up stretches before walking mindfully to the meditation hall. Our guiding monk would already be sitting, eyes gently closed, relaxed as if he'd been there all night. Dressed in saffron robes, shaved heads and with tanned skin these Thai Buddhist monks looked the part. Quiet and unassuming their gentle presence was felt through their posture, their

ings, I see my very self in all.

composure and through their silence. To

How sweet this seeing is, and how forgiv-

next to his seat, gently stir it so some sedi-

ing I become over human suffering. The

ment would cloud it up. Then he would

pain and joy seen in others reflect the hu-

leave it be and we would watch it settle,

man predicament as a whole. We're all in it

slowly sinking to the bottom and becom-

together, sharing the same history, the

ing clear again. Now that was our visual

same DNA, the same soul and spirit. A

meditation instruction besides the formal


focus on feeling our in and out breath at

start us off he would place a glass of water

the tip of the nose. Sitting still, cross legged was a challenge both physically and mentally, but I was determined not to move. My mantra became "sit-till-I-die"


and with that I would suffer pain never be-

map and its landscape nothing has ever re-

fore encountered. On the fourth day there

mained the same over time. As the

was a break-through. Suddenly all the dis-

weather patterns are forever moving

comfort and pain disappeared and I be-

across the globe, our world is an organic

came like crystal and felt I could sit for-

living, changing reality. Then my short

ever. Not moving became pleasant and a

time-bubble of peace is but a fleeting mo-

source of joy. Meditation sometimes is de-

ment in time. When I consider the state of

scribed as a metaphor for enlightenment.

the world as it's been, as it is and as it will

That means there is no difference between

become, I see a constance. I see continu-

your state of being and the Buddhas state

ity in a state of continuous crisis or up-

of being. Having nothing, knowing nothing

heaval. Change we call it yet how can we

and being nobody signifies a meditators in-

speak of change as not one moment in

tention. It is being mindful of your state of

time ever remain the same? A state of flux,

being. Sitting still highlights this. Be with

of fluidity and flow. Man-made borders are

what is. Mindfulness of being. A pleasant

bound to shift as people and cultures

abiding in the here and now.

change. One important distinction is to be made

Constance A continuous crisis. My generation of northern Europeans have lived without war and suffering our whole life. My grandmother who lived through the period of two World Wars still escaped the horrors since Sweden claimed neutrality and stayed out of the conflicts. So it might seem natural to us, a handful of lucky ones, believing peace is a given. Yet when I reflect on the course of history, the rise and fall of empires, the constant flow of cultures and nations shaping the ever changing world

here. The way we choose to alter history by our present acts can either be done in one or two ways; ignorantly or wisely. Much of what we see through history and present day is a war torn change, a battle for supremacy. Wars made in the name of God, nation and king. Wars made for oil, gold and diamonds. Wars to support power structures and political agendas. Wars to alleviate poverty and suffering. Wars to end evil and dictatorship. Most of the time a mix of these motivations stirs to justify mortal combat. But man- made change can also come in the name of peace and reconciliation. Nelson Mandela


is a shining example of human heroism.

So we come to see that we have a funda-

Gandhi is another name that easily springs

mental choice; to choose good over evil,

to mind. Yet all well intended and good-

wisdom over ignorance. There can be no

hearted intentions, all truthful attempts to

mixing, no joint venture, no sleeping with

change things still happens in a world full

the enemy. Once you see it this black and

of turmoil. This can sometimes cloud our

white, the chaos ceases and you begin to

ability to see clearly, thinking it's all a big

see order out of the whirlpool of life. Sud-

mess of human tragedy. But if you can

denly your life gain meaning and you know

separate out the thread of goodness and

what you must do. Where do we begin? At

wisdom free from the ignorant violent

home! Right here and now, in the interior

streak of human nature, you will see clearly

of my being. I realize there are two distinct

there are two constant movements. One

ways of the world, one blind and violent

toward healing, restoration, peace and san-

and one filled with love and care. Once

ity. And one ignorant blind move toward

you comes to terms with this simple yet of-

self protection and self justification. These

ten hidden truth, you'll be able to make

two world views are like parallel universes.

sense out of life and its history of mankind.

They never meet and will never intermingle yet we know them both in our own lives. Love and hate expresses dierently. One unifies and one distorts and destroys. If

Authentic Expression

you can see history in this light you will be

I want to inquire into understanding levels

able to see a wonderful upward, evolution-

of expression. Generally we all appreciate

ary drive that never have ceased caressing

people that are honest, accurate and

and healing our planet since day one. Also

authentic in their expression and in their

you will be able to see a destructive force

communication. We value candidness,

set to fight all the way till the end of time.

straightforwardness and realness yet not

You will also recognize the scary and very

without an equal measure of modesty, bal-

real escalation and speed with which this

ance and care. Being authentic means you

takes place. Just by the simple fact that

are as close to being yourself as you possi-

we, man, are increasingly over- populating

bly can. From being superficial and fake

this Earth and the numbers are rapidly in-

we deepen our feeling of who we are to be-


come more sincere and real. This is a proc-


ess of self-discovery, ever finding deeper

Yet another expression of the spirit within

and deeper levels of authenticity. When we

can be when "spirits" find their outlet

endeavor to speak and act from our deep-

through the medium of you. This is real

est level of authenticity we are filled with a

and if not understood can lead to serious

sense of responsibility and feel immedi-

aictions aecting your judgement and

ately the weight and power inherent in be-

sanity. But not to worry as most of us

ing who we really are. It can be daunting

don't entertain much of the internal voices

and challenging and we might quickly re-

that scramble for attention. But know there

gress to a more easy and light mannered

are both good and evil spirits out there,

way to avoid the implications of being sin-

that do communicate. Listen with discrimi-

cere. If we dare to communicate from this


place we will find strength and assurance to even go deeper. It takes courage to stand firm in your deepest realization of who you are, and to dare to speak from that place of integrity. But if you do, you will be rewarded, because new layers of yourself will be added to you. You will grow, evolve and become more of what you can be. Now this is a process for your self, yet there are other languages that speaks of authenticity that comes from dif-

Sometimes we speak of being spirit-filled and letting the spirit speak through you. When we talk about you, your personal authenticity and integrity, we could say that the deepest part of you, when you really come from an authentic place, is from your own spirit, of who you are as spirit. This you may have experienced through a crises or an acute situation that forced your authentic self to come out

ferent sources.

clean. It's not your everyday occurrence.

Some areas are fraught with dangers and

this innate personal response or expres-

misunderstanding. By using firm beliefs we

sion. You suddenly found a strength you

may become empowered with an unassail-

didn't know you had, a voice you've never

able doubtless conviction that carries the

heard before.

false pretense of authenticity. Fanaticism we usually label it. This is stopping at a certain level of understanding and cementing it as "the truth", not wanting or daring to take it further.

Usually only extreme situations call out

In Christianity we speak of being moved by the Holy Spirit, and we learn to listen to its voice. Sometimes we can be spirit filled and express that when we pray or speak.


Many gifted ministers are guided in the

apologize. A personal sacrifice is required.

spirit as they lead the sermon. We can

Understanding means literally to stand un-

hear it and feel it. The message rings true.

der. To stand under the truth of the situa-

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of love and

tion. To bow down to reality. Bowing down

through the faith in, and understanding of

as we do in our Aikido practice, we surren-

Jesus Christ we can come in contact with

der and we pay respect. This is easily un-

this super-natural power that has the char-

derstood by most people and we all have

acter of totally being other-than-you. Yet

to come to the cross, one way or the other.

you find yourself being comforted, em-

Deep friendship is based on honesty and

braced and enlivened by it. Your deepest

sincerity over time. It's not a tit for tat, you

sense of self will find this a source of life, a

did this and I did that kind of relationship.

source of your own spirit. Spirit to spirit.

It's not superficial nor taken for granted. It

So finally when you enact your highest self, you allow something else to come through. Something so authentic you personally can not lay claim to it any more. You speak the truth from the bottom of your heart, allowing the spirit of truth to resonate and reverberate so all those hearing can not avoid being affected.

takes sustained work to make it grow. It's a mutual endeavor. When we ask, when we offer, when we reach out, we ask nothing in return as a condition. We offer our sincerity, our heart and our understanding. If we want to make up, clear the air, make a fresh start, we have to come without demands. In order to meet anew we must listen without prejudice. Friendships can begin instantly, but builds over time.


Love hold no grudges. Love bears no enmity. Love forgives.

Our actions have repercussions. What we say and do mean something. What we said and did doesn't just go away. Some call it Karma; meaning action and its conse-

Friendly Banter or.. ?

quences. As you sow so shall you reap.

Where does it come from? The "friendly"

We can absolve old debt by paying it off.

put downs, the cutting down in size? The

We can be forgiven by owning up to what

rule and divide mentality? Where does it

we have done. We can be excused if we

stem from? Separate yourself, make fun 62

of, ridicule, make light of, being "clever"

hen, a controversial American spiritual

and divisive. Standard to many, this neither

teacher. Andrew had come to partake in

uplifts nor supports. It doesn't help and it

the daily satsang Swami Krishnananda

doesn't serve friendship and communion.

was giving in the afternoon in the Shi-

Meanness of spirit is not generous but is

vananda ashram in Rishikesh, northern In-

found wanting, found lacking.

dia. For a few years now Andrew had been

Having fun at other peoples expense is cheap. Common norm in certain circles, but offensive and obstructive to more sensitive ears. Benefits? None. Empty, callous and sly it leaves us feeling abused. Can we see the effect it is having? Can we wake up to the tone of the conversation once it's pointed out? Can we give up the game

coming to Rishikesh with his students to hold his winter retreat across the river. It was a rare and appreciated occasion to see and hear these two spiritual teachers speak with each other. Both evidently and truly enjoyed these encounters as intellectual sharpness and keen perception was both their forte.

once revealed? Can we allow others to be

Andrew ignored the question, brushing it

who they are? Without having to have a

off as if he hadn't heard it. Andrew was on


a mission. He had purpose and conviction.

Love cares for you. Love forgives and love is strong. Stronger than any other source of strength. Love is not quiet nor meek. Love demands itself. Love waits and love is patient. But more than anything, love is strong.

A conviction that was contagious. We, his students, loved this about him. We felt drawn along, finding meaning in our path. It was important, we were finding out what life was all about. Andrew was driven and he would not simply wait and let things unfold by themselves. He would make it happen. This had a freshness about it that many of us Westerners enjoyed, free from

“Why don’t you be a Saint?”

the stifling structures of convention and tradition. Yet this would also become a major

said the elderly swami sitting on the little

downfall as unlike tradition, Andrew had

wooden chair in the audience room that

no rules to follow or to uphold. He an-

was simply the corridor in the ashram hos-

swered to no one. But that is a story in it-

pital. He was speaking with Andrew Co-

self. The point being made is about our re-


sponse to spiritual revelation and insight.

since. It made me think. What did he

How do we respond to, or answer a call

mean? Why did he ask this question?

from the Absolute? When God gives us the head up, what do we do?

-Why don't you be a Saint?

History tells us of two distinctly different approaches. One that is very much an Eastern response and one that is more favored


in the West. In India, letting things be and

When the individual nightmares were bro-

allowing fate to have its course is a tradi-

ken and we all stood in the glory of com-

tional way of viewing it. Karma, action and

munion, released from the mass spell that

reaction, will play itself out. Just be true to

hold us prisoner. None of our doing, after

your self and all things will come right in

many years of tremendously hard work in

the end, is the gist inherent in this attitude.

the spirit realm, finally it gave way. A crack

Western Europe on the other hand has al-

and then a full blown opening. At last, all

ways favored a creative approach. Forge a

the premonitions and promises, hopes and

path ahead. Set out and achieve what you

prophecies came true. We stood there to-

want to accomplish. Seek and you shall

gether knowing the last scale had fallen off


our eyes, the last weight dropped off and

In Swami Krishnananda and Andrew Cohen this difference was evident. One sitting still, the other constantly on the move. As the word of caution was met with indifference, the conversation lasted a little longer just to have it repeated, "Andrew, why

we spoke with a release and an ease of a normality regained. Yet it was more than any of us had known in this life. I was ushered in, into a real life where there is no separation, no scales and no hidden agendas. It is accomplished.

don't you be a saint?". With the sweetness of the elderly priest gently asking his younger compatriot this question, Andrew felt it was time to go and he swiftly rose, touched swamis feet and bowed deeply saying his thanks. It was a beautiful response that have stayed with me ever

Final Release In the end, people started to leave. But there was a reason for it. The tension was gone, the spell had been broken. We had been released but not one understood it. 64

For years we had been glued together,

remember saying, "at last, finally, I'm glad I

working for a common good, with a final

stuck it out this long". Putting up with all

answer resting in the future. Andrew Co-

the bullshit that was going on, the inter-

hen's community was being absolved. We

personal rivalry, the sucking up to author-

all had been in it together sharing the ups

ity, the toe-stepping of Andrew's party line.

and downs of our individual lives, sharing

It all had been done with the best of inten-

a bond of brotherhood and sisterhood.

tions for sure. We all wanted to do the right

Having left our old lives behind we had joined the worldwide growing community of Andrew's students. In our absolute personal Guru-student relationship we were committed, besides coming to the end of delusions and Ego-driven motives in ourselves, to see the birth of a new world. Yet no one could foresee how the ending would look like. I remember washing up after dinner, being in the kitchen of the London centre in 2003, after our normal communal evening meal had finished when something changed, something was released. Recently Andrew had made a breakthrough with his male students in America and it was reverberating across his centers worldwide affecting all of us. As I was standing speaking with my friends in that kitchen there was an effortlessness and an ease with which we communicated. All inner tension was gone and everything was perfectly normal. But it was so super-normal I knew something had just been let go of. I

thing. It's just that human affairs can be quite a messy ordeal and none of us knew the perfect way, Andrew included. He was shooting from the hip, not even asking questions afterwards. Yet Andrew knew something had to break and he wouldn't stop until it did. Now I stood there, doing the washing up, knowing it had finally come true. It was as if the binding glue had come loose. Our joint mission evaporated and it became the beginning of the end. Within a few years Andrew's communities where being broken up, students leaving in mass. A mass exodus followed by a witch hunt. Andrew had already been game for offenses done in excess over the years and now the breaking up of his organization became fuel for pent up frustration, anger and even hatred towards him and to those still loyal to him. Yet many are left wondering what happened to the big dreams, to the big declarations of a bright future, of an an evolved mankind and a changed culture. My own thoughts about it share a lot in common with many others. About a dysfunctional community driven 65

by one man's dream. A social and spiritual

ble. Your journey has already begun. Meet

experiment with a realized spiritual

me there and we'll praise and worship to-

teacher. A traditional guru- disciple relation-

gether, or simply chat over a cup of coee.

ship gone bad. A love story with a bitter end? Yes, and no? Spiritually, I believe, something has taken place. Something that have altered many lives, even unbe-

A Need for Teachings

known to themselves. For me, it has taken

How do you frame your experience? In

many years to understand things I've seen

what context do you place your life? Are

in the past. One invaluable lesson I've

you a product of your society, the cultural

learned is that spiritual experiences are

norm? Are you the spitting image of your

here to teach us lessons of life, for us to

parents? Is your reference point the idols

grow free from them. Moments of insights

and human examples you respect and

share spiritual truths that are recognitions

look up to? Are you identified with a politi-

of realized states, of achieved levels of un-

cal view, or a religious denomination?

derstanding. The gist being, if you have

What is your default position? Find out and

been given an answer to your question,

realize how much our lives are dictated by

you can move on to the next. No need to

conditioning, good and bad. If we don't

linger with that particular scene. Since it is

see it we are bound to be enslaved by it,

not up to me or you to sustain or uphold a

as we would go about our lives thinking

certain context but for us to live it and

it's all normal, just who and what we are.

move on. Once seen and understood, old

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every-

equations give way to new formulas, to

one who commits sin is a slave to sin."

new sets of circumstances, to new walks of lives. No need to look back in anger or

Waking up to a spiritual dimension we

in despair but instead with an appreciation

come to see that our lives are part and par-

of what came before, of our trials and tribu-

cel of a timeless and eternal changeless na-

lations that lead us forward in our journey

ture underlying the complete evolution of

to a more mature future.

our entire universe. We become aware of our inherent non-separateness from the

To enter Heaven before it has appeared

whole process of life re-generating itself

here on Earth can be done. To dwell in the

without pause. These insights leaves us

house of the Lord for all eternity is possi-

with quite a bigger picture to which to iden66

tify with. Our frame of reference is sud-

face, water that seeks itself. The living

denly enlarged from the mere private indi-

preaching of the Dharma knows no end, it

vidual or culturally accustomed human to a

is heard in the wind, it touches you as you

universal cosmic proportion. We realize

turn. There is no blame in this.

there is no limit to who we are. No time nor space limit.

Empty flowers falling from the sky, making

Now how can we appropriate this informa-

your heart and the heavens part. The sky

tion? How will we find ourselves in this

is rendered, the firmament splits in two, re-

new vista? This is where teachings are nec-

vealing the true nature of a universe be-

essary. Complete teachings that takes all

yond measure.

of this into account; the past, the present and the future. A teaching that cover all dimensions of our multifaceted being. Study and learn of the knowledge already obtained of our spiritual nature and universal

you look up. Heavenly beauty explodes

Falling with nothing to stay your loss. Falling free, no need to cling. Nothing to hold unto, it slips o, like rainwater, unable to linger, to stay.

being. Do not limit your field of research. Take the largest possible perspective, and then some.

New Years Blessings

Beyond mere thinking, allow for a mystery

Blessings for the new year! Let yourself be

to compel you. Find a context for your life

showered with flowers from the sky. Let

that is infinite, all dancing and all singing.

your heart open to the spirit, surrender

Filled with boundless joy and love.

your soul to God and be touched and blessed by the sacred and holy. Look up at the beauty above and receive grace into

Seamless it Flows on

your life. Don't wait, don't hold back. Go

Without interruption, without breaks, the

wait to open its gates for you.

forward, ask and seek. The universe can't

spirit flows on. Emptiness is like a current that flows over anything standing still. Seamlessly it encounter no obstacles. Like rain that washes o, that pours over a cli


Self Confession

To speak Your Name
 When you can't wait to hear it Said out aloud
 Proves the greatest risk. Professing knowledge
 Of your whereabouts Is like leaving the door ajar For you to return home. Bearing testimony
 Will not hold up in court. I am sentenced long before
 I have a chance to plead my case. As my witness
 You disclose nothing, Rendering my defense obsolete. Alas, You will have to serve time with me. Since you can’t stand
 Leaving me alone.


Rain from Heaven

Š Bjorn Saw 2015 lxix

Rain from Heaven  

Notes on life, evolution and spirit.

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