Wednesday, May 12

If it’s Wednesday it must be time for an aikido lesson.

Actually this is a lesson in Ki principles and meditation. First -what is Ki? It’s what everything is made of, it’s chi in Chinese as in tai chi, it’s prana meaning “breath of life” in India and it’s “use the Force Luke.” Before I get to the meditating part, you need to learn how to keep one point.

When you are standing (you are standing for this aren’t you?) your natural center of gravity is a few inches below the navel and just above “the family jewels” as I like to call them. When you focus your mind on that one point (you can find it by putting your finger on that spot) you are centered. Another way to do this is to come up on your toes like a ballerina and come straight down gently, letting your weight settle to the tips of your toes-not the balls of your feet. If you do this right you will feel like you’re leaning forward slightly but you’re not. I call it the ski jump feeling .

To make sure you are coming straight down have someone rest their hand on your back as you do this exercise. If no one is around, stand against a wall and do it. It’s not standing at attention stiffly but in a relaxed way, but don’t slouch either, didn’t you listen to your mother?

Now here’s the deal. When you sit down that one point is no longer just below your navel, it’s somewhere below the seat. Huh why? Because it’s not a fixed point on the body but moves as your center of balance shifts. Don’t focus on where it physically, focus on the feeling you have as you sit, stand, walk around etc. Ok now that you got that universal feeling let’s begin.

First- The universe is an infinite circle with an infinite radius. This means that ki extends in all directions, infinitely. Don’t try to visualize this or you’ll fry your brains- instead think of it like heat radiating from your body, even below your feet or light from a light bulb- traveling in all directions. Focus on your one point, let the feeling get bigger until it fills the universe. I can get about as big as the solar system before my imagination gives out. That’s fine just continue the feeling of expansion.

Second- the universe is an infinite gathering of infinitely small particles we call ki. If the universe is infinitely big then it’s also infinitely small. This feeling condensed this becomes the individual, then the one point and continues there.

Third- the universe is always moving (so that’s why I get dizzy). Seriously, even the string theory, the newest darling of physics says this. Everything vibrates, it’s moving and moving very fast, so fast you can’t see it’s movement. Here’s one way to get that feeling. Stand and shake your hands as they hang naturally at your side. Shake them faster and faster until you can’t shake them anymore and let them come to rest again. Now in your mind your fingertips continue to shake so fast you can’t see the movement so think faster, faster, faster. Another way is to hold out your arm out like it’s a sword and cut the universe in half then cut it again in half then again and so on infinitely ( you can put your arm down now but let the feeling continue). Remember, no matter how much you reduce something it can never be reduced to zero. In the same way that half, half feeling never ends.

If you have gasped any of these concepts you’re ready to meditate. Start by sitting comfortably somewhere quiet with your lower back straight ( no slouching) and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths then focus on the feeling of your one point. Use one of the three meditations. Think expansion: bigger. Concentration where you think smaller or the faster / half, half. This focus is very rapid. It’s not “Ok the universe, the local galaxy, now the solar system, now here” - forget that. Go from the universe, the individual, your one point and so on. Do it in reverse for expansion. Same thing with half, half, half. You can use one of these techniques or even better, switch from one to the other so you don’t drift off and lose your focus. The meditation really begins when you reached the limits of your visualization and continue.

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