In the Zen tradition, they often use the metaphor of “the finger pointing to the moon.” This metaphor beautifully symbolizes that there is quite literally nothing that you can “do” to have a “non-dual” experience. Simply put, you can’t get there from here. “Doing” in this case is like the finger and the “moon” like the non-dual. So “doing” points the way, but it cannot get you there. If this is the case then we should ask, what exactly are the conditions for Non-Duality In Aikido?
The Impact Of Early Beginnings
Patrick Cassidy and I first met in Iwama, Japan back in 1988 where we lived, training Aikido full time with Morihiro Saito Sensei. We spent several formative years there together training, exploring, and growing up in Aikido. AND, along with a few other foreigner friends we had in Iwama, we were both also drawn to Spirituality. Especially, to what a spiritually awakened Aikido looks like.
Patrick Cassidy “Nage”, Miles Kessler “Uke” About 1992
Our keen interest in Spirituality guided us to train intensively on the mat, but also off the mat and in other disciplines as well. We were engaged in “Chado” (Japanese Tea Ceremony), “Kyudo” (Zen archery), meditation, “satangs” with awakened teachers, and many deep philosophical and spiritual conversations.
Now, some 30 years later, it is interesting to see how this deep commitment in our early beginnings profoundly shaped our respective paths, and the impact it had on our Aikido. The impact it had on how we teach individually, and on how we teach together.
So what you will see in the below video is the continuation of this exploration Patrick and I have shared in Aikido and beyond. In a very real sense, this talk and exploration is just the continuation of the deep conversations that Patrick and I started all those years ago when we lived in Japan.
Conditions For Non-Duality In Aikido
In this most recent conversation, Patrick and I chose to focus on the conditions that are necessary to facilitate a shift into the Non-Dual perspective. Having an appreciation of all non-dual “pointing out instructions”, and acknowledging that “fingers” are only pointers to the moon, we spoke about the specific conditions you need to develop in order for the non-dual shift to happen.
I hope that you enjoy this and may it serve as a “pointing out” teaching, creating the conditions for awakening to the non-dual in your very own Aikido.