Aikido is Learning the Habits of Great Nature…

– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei

I was reading, today, some dialogues with a generation of teachers that came before us, and they were talking about time. About how aikido is based on a sense of time that comes from living with the habits of Great Nature.

And this is not about living some Romantic-era, balmy utopia. It’s about familiarizing yourself with something. And at one time, competence in this was considered to be very important.

So. You are learning to familiarize yourself with the habits of Great Nature.

Nature has habits.

That’s why, for instance, there used to be clock gardens where they planted different plants, that would open at certain times of day… so, you know, it was really nice when they discovered Peru, because now you could have a  “4 o’clock” !

So:  morning glory for 5  a.m.,  scarlet pimpernels for eight… Star of Bethlehem  for ten,  goat’s beard at noon…

They’d really worked this out.

So, humans, also would familiarize themselves with the habits of nature and If something was off – – – you’d go, “Huh?”  A disturbance in the forest… “This is unusual…”

I remember my father taking me out, and we were on a road that ran East-West, and it was the equinox. And the moon was coming up, and the sun was going down. And we were on this road and you could see it: that humans had understood the habit of nature, because this road, because of its true direction, was marking this moment, the equinox, quite clearly. I was little – and the moon was there: the horns of the moon – a new moon, with Venus very bright.

And what I remember was, he was telling me: “You see, there’s a wet moon and there’s a dry moon, and this is a dry moon: because it would catch water. If the horns are like  t h a t ,  it’s pouring out water, and if the horns are like  t h a t , it’ll hold water.

So he would correlate that to the habits of nature: what plants were doing…

And I started noticing things – and we’d be out walking – and I’d see that trees and their habits are showing you what’s going to happen. They’re quite adept at feeling what we might measure as barometric pressure, humidity… The tree is an exact, beautiful, biological clock. It will tell you everything.

So think about: what shape would the leaves take when there’s lots of  humidity? Well, everything would expand and they would go the same shape as a river when there’s water coming in: taller in the middle than at the edges. And then, when it’s dry, the leaves would – like a river when there’s no rain – sink in the middle.

So people used to be living in this pulsing rhythm of things, all the time… they were quite tuned in to it, to the nature of shadows, and to all of this…

So their entrainment was to the habits of nature, and so i would say their experience of reality was much more a feeling of a big communication going on.

And then, if something was odd…

My father showed me a couple of things… like sun-dogs. When there are maybe one or two false suns… They are atmospheric projections of the sun.

And sometimes the sun also has a halo round it, and we talked about that, and my father said, “You know, people used to think that was a warning of some kind because it was so unusual. It’s not the habit of nature to do this. But what it indicates is very high-altitude charged particles. When they descend, they collect water and produce storms…”,  and it has to do with the flow of the jet-stream…

And the forms within aikido – ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo – also have this component based on a way in which they tried to represent the habits of nature, using a triangle, circle, and square.

And stars, moving stars, all these kind of things… they were attempting to map the habits.

And once you knew the habits, the inhale, the exhale, you could understand when it would move and not move. And if it happened to move in some point that was not the usual, it was significant. Because it would throw the rhythm off, and it would have to go through some kind of adjustment event to get the rhythm back. And usually it would be either a great eruption of energy of some kind, which could be severe cold – which is yin, super- super- super-contractive – or it could be yang, which would be heat and drought and fire.

And it’s really interesting, if you know this stuff, to look at what nature is doing, what’s happening now… and they say: well, It’s chaotic weather.

It is.

And nature’s correcting it. it will not go on forever. That’s not the habit of nature

It’s pretty simple.

Nature will restore itself.

Though that doesn’t mean that the world may not have been changed after the restoration.

If it needs to rain like crazy, and it rains so hard everything’s under water, well, eventually that water will drain, but where there was not a lake, maybe now there’s a lake.

Or where there was a river.  Maybe now there’s no river.

And you can see this in the habits of people. People are part of nature. And they become habits of energy and movement.

But human beings have this interesting capacity to witness things differently. They have this unique ability to witness. And by being the right kind of witness, we can interact with the patterns. We’re not simply pushed along by them.

Other higher mammals have their own versions of this. Think about the big Tsunami in Thailand, where the elephants in Thailand went uphill before the Tsunami. And because they’re very compassionate creatures, they tried to drag everyone with them: “Come on! Come on! What, are You guys crazy? You don’t hear it????”

We say, “oh they felt the vibrations…”  But however it was, they saw the unseen. What humans do not see they saw.

When you train, you reach a point where you begin to see the unseen, and see how things work.

And you realize that people are much more interested in the aberrations of nature. They want you to levitate. They want an aberration of nature to show them some truth. When the real deal is much more profound.

And it has longevity

Aberrations are not long-lived.

Luckily for us…

So, when you train, one of the things that can happen to you is you start tuning into the natural pattern of things. And if people around you can seem kind of crazy because they don’t really see much. They’re tuned into something more abstract that we have created. And it doesn’t necessarily mirror the Big Reality. And it’s subject to aberration quite often to adjust itself.

But we tune in to the natural pattern of things.

And that’s why, in training, you should not be concerned about progress.

The natural process will move you along.

In its own natural time-scale.

That is the habit of things.

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