There's No One To Be 

Most of us begin a practice like Ki-Breathing Meditation every morning in order to grow or improve some part of our situation. Might be to releave stress. Or become less distracted and more aware. Or perhaps we want to be more connected and graceful with others.  In aikido, maybe we asked a senior student or Sensei a question and their response was, "Do more ki-breathing every day!"

This is a fine way to get started. In fact some of this does actually happen.  Over the weeks, months, and years we might seem more relaxed, we might have insights into our misunderstandings about life, we might find ourselves feeling more connected and natural in our relationships. 

But then another shift begins to happen.  This can be sudden or gradual. As we sit every day, we can become aware of the scramble and desperation that has been running our getting-better-self. Perhaps we get a taste of vast silence for a moment, and then when our identity comes back in with its grasping, controlling, comparing agendas we see this. It can be stunning. Of course, often we begin chasing the vast silence. Our get-better-mind, our identity, has seized the memory of this and is now trying to get more and get in charge of it. Ha!

This chasing states of being can last an upredictable length of time.  Each of us unwinds our confusions, misunderstandings, paranoid terrors and conditioning in our own way.  But we keep breathing. Sometimes it can feel like we are right on track and it is going well. Other times it is awful and we so want to quit. We keep breathing. We come to see that our interpretations of how it is going are just more noise, "sound and fury signifying nothing." Soon we stop believing these comparative thoughts and just slightly smile as they pop up and drift by.

How it has gone for me is not how it will go for you. We each breathe and sit and the unwinding goes how it goes.  The less we judge and interfere, the smoother this process can be.  Sometimes we might get help from an expert. Other times we might get some support from a skilled person to open up something that seems really stuck.  But each time we sit on the cushion (chair or bench), and begin breathing and opening our awareness inside our body, we have no idea how it is going to go. All we can do is bring a good, open and connecting heart and be right with what is opening and moving.

Then we come to see that ki-breathing (meditation) is beyond getting better, beyond learning to get it right, beyond all agendas and goals, beyond who you are being or who you want to be. It is the activity of being in non-separation. We may not yet experience it as such, but it is.

"To actually live with mind and body unified and be one with the ki of the universe, we must let go. Let go of what? Of all the points, which we have designed to show the extent of our knowledge and the rightness of our beliefs, to others. We can relax from “being someone." --Curtis Sensei

The same is the case for Ki Testing and Ki Development Exercises. We may think we are getting better, believing these efforts, and that is okay for a while. But what is actually going on is we are practicing being our true self, the vast, empty, whole, fullness beyond all trying and achievement. The calm state of “there is no one to be.”

At this point we begin to see that aiki is moving-with the arising moment —not fixing it or controlling it or changing it— just moving with the direction of the immediate present. This too is beyond all opinions, positions, agendas or purpose. All of these expression of the self-contraction separate us from our natural union with the ki of the universe. When we let go, we find ourselves loose, open, present. It is an awesome-simple oneness. And no big deal.

May your practice go well.





© Steve Self, 2016, All rights reserved.