– - – by Koichi Tohei Shihan
As you go outdoors on a warm spring day and look at the beauties of Nature all about you, you become absorbed in what you see. Or as you sit under a clear sky at night and watch the stars, you lose your sense of self and of the earth as though you were completely at one with Nature.
It is at such times that your mind and body become one. If we could all continue to have at all times the magnanimity and purity of heart that at-one-ment with Nature would engender in us as we meet people and live our lives, how pleasant this world would be! Unfortunately, such a state of affairs would not last long. Any slight change or vibration would disturb the fine equilibrium and bring us back again into this world of hatred, agony and strife.
The mind may be likened to the surface of water. A mirror-calm pond reflects the true, round moon. A puff of wind ruffles the surface into ripples and the moon is shattered into a thousand golden pieces. The mind is like this. A peaceable, clear, stable mind can make correct judgements, but a disturbed, shaky mind will fail to reflect the true form and color of what it sees. It cannot see that willow leaves are green or that roses are red. If you would see Nature in all her truth and understand that truth, you must first coordinate your mind and body and reach such a state that your entire body is like a polished mirror. It is impossible to grasp the truths of Nature if your mind and body are at odds with each other.
Many sages since ancient times ave pointed out the need of mental and physical coordination and told us that to keep the formless, intangible human mind in tune with the physical body is one of the difficult things in life.
Even as we sit quiet and relaxed, we do not find it easy to keep the mind at rest. It is even more difficult to keep the mind calm while the body is in motion or exercising. From ages past, men seeking the truths of Nature first tried to train their minds to think clearly by going into solitude. They sat on rocks, or remained under a waterfall as they disciplined their minds. Some accomplished their purpose, others lost their lives in vain…
- – - Koichi Tohei Shihan, “Supervised by Morihei Uyeshiba”, in Aikido The Arts of Self-Defense, p.40