A Few Excerpts from The Art of Peace
The Art of Peace is a collection of lessons from the O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of AikiDo. I consider the book my guide in life and have not memorized it, have read it multiple times and still do so whenever I feel like reading it. OK, I still read and study it, fine :-) The lessons change shape, the more I learn, the less I know, so I keep on referring to it and keep learning new stuff.
We will have ample opportunity to talk about some of these lessons in the class, along with techniques; and will take it to meditation seminars we will hold this summer.
Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter. One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train. The Art of Peace is medicine for a sick world. There is evil and disorder in the world because people have forgotten that all things emanate from one source. Return to that source and leave behind all self-centered thoughts, petty desires, and anger. Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything. To practice properly the Art of Peace, you must calm the spirit and return to the source; cleanse the body and spirit by removing all malice, selfishness, and desire; and be ever-grateful for the gifts received from the universe, your family, Mother Nature, and your fellow human beings. As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you. Daily training in the Art of Peace allows you inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter. Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts, or shackles anything. It embraces all and purifies everything. Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life. A true warrior is always armed with three things: the radiant sword of pacification; the mirror of bravery, wisdom, and friendship; and the precious jewel of enlightenment. The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance. Because it is nonresistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing.
To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace. Always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner. A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. The key to good technique is to keep your hands, feet, and hips straight and centered. If you are centered, you can move freely. The physical center is your belly; if your mind is set there as well, you are assured of victory in any endeavor. Techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space. When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.
In the Art of Peace we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control. Never run away from any kind of challenge, but do not try to suppress or control an opponent unnaturally. Let attackers come any way they like and then blend with them. Never chase after opponents. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it. Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent: he may mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze on his sword: he may intimidate you. Do not focus on your opponent at all: he may absorb your energy. The essence of training is to bring your opponent completely into your sphere. Then you can stand where you like.