Cultivating Practice 
Jan 2022

A fundamental in ki breathing and meditation is to drop our attention to our breathing in the lower belly: mind at one-point. When we notice we’ve wandered into thinking, we gently return to one-point. It is this recognition and return that is the practice. We may return ten times, or a hundred times while sitting. Each time we choose to return we cultivate mind and body unification and reiseishin. This practice carries over into everyday life as well: while driving, pushing a shopping cart, walking in the snow, cutting carrots, etc.

Reiseishin - the mind directly connected to Universal mind.— from Tohei Sensei

Filling meditation with thinking —plan align="right" hspace="10"ning, comparing, regretting, worrying— is an error if you aim to cultivate a state of being more connected and calm than the dissatisfied and impatient small-self. 

In the same way, if I practice aikido with constant thinking, judging and analyzing, I am also practicing mind separate from body. Thus I am going to have more of this disconnection and disharmony in the future. Practicing with constant thinking, I normalize separation and tension in practice, in life and with others. 

“What we practice is what we will do.”  — Richard Strozzi Heckler Sensei

On the other hand, if I am practicing with mind and body unified: letting go of thinking and returning to one-point, being aware in the present moment of tone, touch, rhythm and movement, then I will have more of this sensitivity and presence in the future. I will tend to practice more often in a non-conceptual, unified state, i.e., Reiseishin. This leads to being more connected, relaxed and whole in daily life.


“Make your life your monastery.” — Shaner Sensei

As we go through our day to day activities, we either choose unification within the activity, or we do the old habits of disconnection and impatience. Choosing to act from bodymind, being patient and relaxed, cultivates and actualizes an experience of unification with all things. This is available to all of us, it is our choice, moment to moment.


May your practice go well.



© Steve Self, 2022, All rights reserved.