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Living the Shokushu: The Way to Union with Ki

posted Jul 14, 2020, 12:47 PM by Minnesota Ki Society   [ updated Jul 14, 2020, 1:19 PM ]
by Kirsten Welge

3. The Way to Union with Ki
The absolute Universe is One. We call this Ki. Our lives and our bodies are born of the Ki of the Universe. We study thoroughly the principles of the Universe and practice them. We are one with the universe. There is no need to despond, no need to fear. The way we follow is the way of the Universe which no difficulty nor hardship can hinder. Let us have the courage to say “If I have a clear conscience and a calm spirit, I dare to face courageously any obstacle I may encounter."
--Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei

Since February 2020, we've seen massive changes to routines of daily life:
  • In March, we learned of the devastating impact of COVID in close quarters indoors. In response, we shifted weekly classes onto Zoom, featuring meditation and hitori waza. 
  • In April, our seminar with Shaner Sensei was cancelled.
  • In May, we learned that the documented transmission rate was effectively zero for outdoor interactions with masks and spatial distancing. In response, we invited our members to practice jo in South Saint Anthony Park once a week.
  • In June, our cities were rocked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of us joined the peaceful protests; all of us were impacted by the injustice, the unrest, and loss of familiar landmarks. Amid smoke, sirens, and helicopters, we reached out to one another, practicing connection in the midst of uncertainty and fear. 
  • By mid-June, we agreed: it did not make sense to pay for an indoor space we could not use for the indefinite future. And once again, our community rose to the challenge. Dojo members showed up separately to pack up our library, jo, bokken and small items. Together, wearing N95s and spatially distanced, we moved the tatami and subflooring out of the space the dojo has called home for 14 years.

As of July 1, our dojo no longer has an address -- but it has not ceased to be. Our dojo is our community. Our practice space is now the world. 

Seen in light of our training, these events point directly to our interdependence and truth of our situation: We are one with the universe. Knowing this, there is no need to fear what happens next. We can face obstacles with a resilient heart and unshakable spirit. We can move freely, and use the great power that is naturally ours.

For now, we meet outside for our regular classes. We meet online on Tuesdays for tonglen practice, focused on applying Ki principles to antiracism in daily life. We offer Community Ed classes online, including Falling Safely and Oneness Rhythm Exercise. Our dojo members continue to explore new opportunities for sharing these principles to support our neighbors and our cities. And, we will celebrate the completion of 14 years in this space, and begin to look ahead to what we wish to create next, with a community gathering later this month.

Although the shape and form of our training has shifted dramatically, I see our commitment as individuals to our training and the dojo community is strong. Through all these changes, I see trust growing in our training, and in each other. We are part of the dynamic universe, part of great Nature. When we have a clear conscience and calm spirit, we notice what is important, and respond naturally and appropriately. As we train together, we are connected to each other, and can support each other well in keiko and shugyo. And, we trust that in time, another dojo space will arise that meets the needs of our growing community.

In the meantime, we'll keep training together.