You never step into the same river twice...
Recently several of my relationships have undergone massive shifts. This is nothing out of the ordinary, just the normal ebb and flow of life. But in recent months the landscape of my friendships has changed quite dramatically. Most notably, several of my friends have relocated to points foreign and overseas, with one even moving to the conflict-torn mountain kingdom of Nepal, nestled in the Himalayas.
And suddenly those regular (and irregular) get-togethers, those walks along the sea-shore or the movies on the art circuit are no longer there. The in-depth, late-night conversations about conflict, spirituality, raising the kundalini, life, the universe and everything will no longer take place in their customary form.
Every friend raises in us a world within us, possibly undiscovered and dormant, definitely unchartered, until they come along. "Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They are in each other all along", said Rumi.So it is important to treasure the moment of meeting, to cherish the time you spend together and to value the richness each friend brings to your life.
Similarly on the tatami, each person with whom you train offers you something different, a new lesson or a new take on an old lesson. As such, each uke is someone to treasure whether s/he is a high-ranking dan grade or has just stepped onto the mat.
Aikido, as a system, relies on this sense of relationship between uke and tori. Each technique is created in the moment of the coming together. I rely on the presence of uke to perfect my technique, to challenge who I am, to help me develop into a better aikidoka, into a better person. While I may be able to practice my individual boy movements (tai no henko) by myself, I rely on a dynamic, fluid and mutual relationship with uke in order to develop my technique, and to create the beauty inherent in Aikido.
So cherish uke for the time you have to train with him/her. S/he has a special purpose in training with you on this technique. Next time you meet, the circumstances will be different and both of you will hopefully be changed....
See you on the tatami
See you on the tatami