Most of us regard mind and body as separate parts of ourselves. But in the east, this is something that is not so. In spiritual disciplines such as Zen and many martial arts such as Ki Aikido, mind and body are one and these disciplines eventually lead to the realisation that All is on, that nothing is really separate.
Regarding mind and body being one, if you think about this, it is quite easy to understand. When we feel an emotion such as happiness, sadness, frustration or satisfaction, we can only recognise that we are feeling it through our body as the nervous systems in our body reacts to not only our feelings, but our thoughts as well.
I discovered this many years ago when I practiced the martial art, Ki-Aikido. At first it was a strange concept to me that body and mind were one, then I experienced how the mind and body, when mentally co-ordinated (as they were designed to be) can be capable of almost supernatural feats. I learned how it was possible to render my body to be immovable when pushed on by another person, or indeed, two other people. And then how to render one arm to be unbendable that even when I relaxed all the muscles completely, an opponent who placed one hand into my elbow joint and the other hand on my wrist found he was unable to bend it.
This was all done by a visualisation process called extending Ki, and the more practised I became, the more effective it was. I was learning mind and body co-ordination – learning just how mind and body were really co-ordinated and functioning as one. The essence of this at-one-ness was referred to as Ki in Japanese. In China Ki is known as Chi, and in India Ki is known as Prana. It is the life-force of who we really are. This is the energy that we are part of. A good analagy would be that of the ocean and in physical life, we are the droplets of water separated from it to which one day we will return and become part of the ocean and indistinguishable from the whole We are then, the ocean. We are the Ki.
On the "combat" side of Ki Aikido, we learned how to put ourselves in our opponents’ position. By relaxing completely (always) and becoming one with our opponent. Again all this was done through visualisation, proving to ourselves over and over again the power that emerges when we can let go of separation and become at one, with our minds, with our opponents, in fact we are encourange to practice being at one with everything we encounter in day-to-day life.
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