Statistics reveal that in today’s world the practice of communal gathering is in decline more than ever before. This is cause for concern. Family gatherings are all but unknown and concomitantly psychiatric disease is on the rise with all manner of behavioural and substance abuses on the increase.
In the cases of gatherings, many, rather than meeting for creative purpose are merely cults which reinforce some form of mental aberration.
Out of the remaining few who do gather with sincere intent to offer something of worth to the world, with purpose and with benign intent, fully two thirds of those who attend have other agendas.
Most people of today’s world are alone, feel alone and are destroyed by intense loneliness of the soul, for lack of meeting with like minds, even in the midst of crowds.
No, you are not alone in this; you are part of the majority.
Now, for a species that has evolved for millions of years in tribal, mutually reliant, interactive communities, sitting alone, staring at a screen with information on it and other human disconnections, is a giant leap. But a leap to where?
Is it too much of a leap too soon?
From ancient times, a physical and real communal area, place or edifice has always been part of the human experience that reinforced the healthy bonding which is a necessary part of our existence. In such focal meeting places and communal shelters, culture was thus propagated through dance, ceremony, arts, educative transmissions of learning, skill and technologies, through living contact and communication. This gave purpose to each member of a society. The place of gathering has transferred through the ages with ashrams, temples, churches, mosques, monasteries and also schools, colleges, universities and the like. But too often such places become infected with sectarian and political agendas and fast lose the optimal healing and mind clarification merit.
Our forefathers made sure to slaughter those they invaded and who could have best taught us the sciences and arts of real community; and who exemplified those core values that make communities real, spiritually rich and sustainable. Now, as a result of those and other ignorant actions, we find ourselves bereft and empty in a world of material fullness we can’t find before our very eyes.
It has become a world of “self-service” instead of mutually respectful and loving exchanges expressed with trust foremost.
Our experience is nothing like the idealised characters of advertisements and even the actors who portray those characters go home to the same misery and spiritual emptiness as everyone else.
The dojo, whether for budo, ikebana or any other purpose, hopefully retains its non-sectarian purpose of self-revelation, self-correction, self-improvement and service to the greater good and can constitute such a communal place for recharging the soul and providing meaning in a lonely world. By finding, reclaiming, getting to know and coming to terms with ourselves, we become enabled, empathic and at ease with others.
Hopefully then, when we do return into that desert of overpopulated crowds, and have to face square screens and other ennui for long hours, that momentary respite in an oasis of human warmth and mutual striving, will have lent purpose to an otherwise meaningless experience without any horizon in view.
Then again there is always seppuku, but I don’t recommend it since it is the way of the coward.
There is work to do on planet earth. Especially in the human world. Fortify yourself as a peaceful warrior and face the reality of the challenges that are making it such a lonely planet.
In the world of today we are faced with ever increasing enemies and adversities. And the growing fear of those who don’t even exist. With such attitudes, as some have demonstrated, we will manufacture and multiply such enemies. And then they will be real and existent and we will be forced to contend with them, too late to heal the manufactured rift.
By taking full responsibility to learn the lessons so offered and embracing the path of Aiki with true sincerity, it can make enemies and adversities into teachers.
Perhaps we can find what was lost, that which we and ours of the past have destroyed.
If enough people purposefully choose to take responsibility to so contribute, it will become a world full of friends again, because we will have made it so. And these will be real and lasting friends. Then we will be able to realise the ultimate goal of Aiki, which is the realization of heaven on earth where the entire world is in harmony.
We have some work before us, as there are those so spiritually diseased and lost that they would strive to stop us from healing ourselves and thereby humanity, so it won’t be a boring journey.