friends We are not alone...

Sounds like a sci-fi title or some tag line to a bad movie about aliens, but the fact of the matter is that we are not alone and nothing is ever achieved or accomplished alone.  It's wonderful to think that we alone score the winning goal, achieve enlightenment on our own or get good at Aikido alone, but the reality is that no matter what is done, accomplished or won, we had help.  I read an interesting article about a book coming out called the Powers of Two in which the author contends that everything that has ever been done was done as a partnership.  In the article the author was spending time refuting the idea of the lone genius.  The lone genius would be someone who came about as a result of solely their own efforts.  Of course this is not true because from the moment we are born we are nurtured, protected and fed by someone else.  Therefore we are never alone and we never get it done by ourselves.

Aikido is the same.  Everything we achieve and experience is done as a cooperative.  We only get good as a result of someone helping us.  In a a big way, people help us by taking our ukemi or because some other person teaches us.  In smaller terms, someone made the cotton which was then turned into the uniform that we then bought so that we could do Aikido.  Either way our experience of Aikido came as a result of cooperation.

Upon realizing that the world turns only because of this cooperation we can begin to learn gratefulness and compassion.  We are grateful because we need the cooperation, kindness and compassion of others just to exist let alone do Aikido.  We are compassionate because we realize that they sacrifice for our benefit.  This never ending cycle of gratefulness and compassion is what Aikido is all about.  O Sensei called it love.

There is an old Japanese proverb, "No road is too long in the company of friends."  Please remember that you are not alone and to be not only grateful for the sacrifice and kindness of others, but to be also compassionate to them as well.  This is what Aikido is all about.