“Is Violence Natural? The Centre of the Cyclone” by Nev Sagiba

Can peace be possible? Indeed is it desirable?

As far back as the earliest history, despots have used the concept of “peace” as an excuse to make war. Facts, when not suppressed, show clearly that war deprives all participants of any semblance of peace. Soldiers live and die in various forms of torment whether they survive or not and their civilian victims certainly get no peace. So who is it exactly that gets a piece of what?

Pageant contestants like to quote “world peace,” hoping to gain cheap acceptance in the face of flashing a veneer, imagining that the audience wants to hear it said. But what exactly does it mean? If anything.

The dictionaries variously describe “peace” as: freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.

Where in heaven and earth can such a fictitious state exist?

The nearest to a totally static condition is only found in stagnation. In such a stagnant state only collapse in an imploding death will ensue. Creation and creativity requires effort and produces inevitable friction and attendant discomfort. Work.

Accommodation to produce dynamic harmony in the face of conflict and disagreement is neither stagnant nor hostile, but rather a skilled distillation of energetic possibility.


In the beginning everything was, by human standards, extreme and violent activity, as we are told, the “big bang,” or one of many recurring ones.

Metaphysically speaking this momentous occurrence would have followed an immense vibratory discharge, or “The Word” of God, which we are told, “was in the beginning.”

Physics and metaphysics tend to concur in their different similarities in this regard.

Following that immense release of Light, the Universe was, as we are told, a fiery chaos of conflicting flows, gasses, heat and solids exploding outwards to seek resolution. Fluids, gasses, fire and solids; corresponding to the mystic’s and shaman’s description of Water, Air, Fire, and Earth; these originating as Hydrogen, Helium, Nitrogen, Carbon, now acknowledged by our sciences, as being the foundational building blocks of the visible universe. For billions of years, this intense activity raged and played in the great and infinite immensity, the great plain of heaven, without beginning or end.

It was as if a dream was pressing all this outwards, and to this day, the Great Universe continues to expand.

In time, or timelessness, I know not which, this galaxy, in an infinite soup of galaxies without number was formed and within it, about 4.6 billion years ago, our home and solar system came about, resulting from the fiery exchanges and clashes emanating in the resolution of our then nascent sun.

Within this little system, in a string of circumambulating spheres, this planet, our Earth home was born and the moon that revolves around it.

Since its inception and for many, many millions of years, planet Earth was covered with hot fiery and violent storms. Volcanic activity was everywhere. Pyroclastic flows melted and poured throughout the globe. Nothing was at rest. Conflict everywhere.

Occasionally an asteroid would kiss the mostly molten surface with a crater, bringing added stardust with it, adding mineral gifts and sometimes ice as well. The universe was newer then. But already it was clear that the quintessence had differentiated into elements seeking to find their source again. One such haven was this little Earth.

As a vast spectrum of rays from Sun touched newly forming atmosphere, water consolidated and began to appear in volume. And to increase. And with the coming of the waters came atmospheric change. In time oceans grew. Oceans which moved with varied volcanic activity making steam which rose into the air changing many things.

When the oceans were sufficient, the Earth’s cooling started; and within the growing of those still warm raging oceans, life began. In the relative peace of the silent depths, in the dark deep, around those profound oceanic lava flows which opened up the oceans floors from time to time, new bacterial forms finally appeared. Mighty storms of a new kinds began to rage above, and with them, the Thunder Beings and their Lightnings, began to have their say as well.

One day, no-one really knows when, a fine thread of plasma arose from an ocean now long gone, providing a filament for a Thunder to unleash a lightning bolt which touched the new made oceanic soup. This touching, by a mystery of Light, brought about the first enzymes and with enzymes was born the mighty Thunder Dragon’s link upon this earth. The winds began to blow.

Ever since that day long ago, the Thunders and their Lightnings have roamed the Earth looking for a home, yet consigned to roam the skies. Touching plasmic filaments, no-one knows why. And watching over their relatives, those life forms comprising of organic mobile cells and glands making enzymes and peptide cocktails, which contain that same celestial spark to carry living nerve sensations so similar to those webs of sky bound electric fire. The cooler conscious kindred current. For these were the children and relatives of that first strike born of Bright Light, five times hotter than the surface of the Sun. The Universal Essence made manifest.

The Light of conscious understanding given birth, began to grow.

The first rotation of galactic time long gone before, having spun their webs of matter in cosmic space of ancient times before that, then making endless spirals, each unique as snowflakes, flowed on. More galactic time passed as Earth and galaxy continued to consolidate and harmonise in time and space and multiple dimensions.

And more again as form took form and minerals cooled, the earth grew hard, the skies began to clear as the ancestors of creation looked on. More time again. Much time. And friction.

Until flora, plants and grasses of many types and kinds drank up the still mixed gasses making oxygen as skies cleared, gradually becoming bluer. But still no eyes existed could witness. Not yet.

Until more and more time again and the swimming ones, reptiles and feathered flying ancestors came forth and changed over long, long spans. Multifarious visual splendour emerged. And more. They came and went. More came and went again. And yet again. And more becomings until now… throughout the Universes and Natures great and intense activities continued to clash and to devour and conflict and sometimes to reconcile.

Over long, long time and time again, the constant Thunders continued to roam the Earth. And to this very day, watch patiently over multitudinous developments, adaptations and change. The growing of composite bodies with more complex glands and endocrinal systems and eyes and touch and other senses. Creatures with blood both warm and cold matching the amniotic great mother ocean’s reflecting of the greater universal one. In time forms begat more forms and also other forms which changed to suit conditions unfolding upon the third rotating round rock revolving around the little sun upon the outskirts of one small galaxy made insignificant in the soup of galaxies within which it suspends, inside The Great God’s efflorescent outbreath.

At the Centre of all centres which is everywhere, the Great Architect Supreme seemed to smile. The plan was unfolding just as it should. His heart, filled with Great Love radiating outwards, as He lay resting upon the coiled remainders of endless vast emptiness, the webs of wobbly interdimensionality from which He dreamed Creation by gazing into the dark marea of undifferentiated substance to reawaken seeds of creation yet again.

And from its skin, as the wobbly membrane that separated dimensions, rippled … and The God Breathed out once more, like a bubble floating in the air, our little universe emerged again among the others… and expanded the more.

Upon a speck within a speck within a speck among countless specks our little blue world saw changes come and go.

The beasts needed to eat. From the very small to the great all feeding the cycle of energy and life that comes forth and return to the mighty fiery sun. Amoebas chased, caught and devoured amoebas. Rocks melted and reformed the minerals cooling to form soil which fed the great living creatures who in turn were chased and crushed and eaten by others who then died and fed the soil again to provide the rich red and black top layers of nourishing biotic loam to feed trees and grasses and herbs and fruit bearing bushes all making oxygen increase as did the planktons in the mighty swirling oceans where big fish ate smaller fish until they died to feed the smaller ones in a never ending cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth and continuing continuance.

The globe tilted and made seasons and variables adding to the great cycles of life.

Until now, so many mammals gone by, some still here with us who’ve grown a brain and senses to see and understand a little of that Great Mystery that’s all around. We who breathe the Breath of Life, yet understand it not.

Our human species have risen and fallen, only to rise and fall again over aeons upon aeons of struggles, wars and periods of relative unrest interspersed with quietude.

We, who contain the spark of Origins yet know it not. The Thunder Dragon sleepeth yet within our blood, biology and neurons. Awaiting that day of great awakening when Universe shall become our home again…

Where does that spark dwell but in the still, silent Source Dreaming existence from the centre of the centre of all centres?

The skill to accommodate intense activity, be it volitional aggression or simply natural attrition, in a way that will produce dynamic harmony, and this without compromising integrity, is the nature of Aikido.

Accepting of the fact that nature and the universe will inevitably throw up circumstances; instead of resistance, constructive relationship is sought with safety.

This cannot be a stagnant process of waiting, wishing or hoping, but rather facing up to reality, as it is, and dynamically embracing the inevitable relationship. But with skill.

Neither complacent stagnancy, nor hostility can resolve a disagreement. Energy requires relationship and dispassionate harmonizing, in order to culminate fruitfully.

The Ai of Ki lives at that Centre where the very source of life and intention presses us ever forward, ever forward despite the adversities and challenges which will either break and kill us, or, if addressed, make us strong, so we may pass those strengths to future generations.

In the midst of violent activities throughout the Universes and their little earths, there has always existed a still, quiet centre at the centre from which emanates great peace and the Dreaming of intention pressing outwards to express all manner of possibilities and reconciling the intensity of clashing chaos activity.

Why do the challenges and adversities keep on coming? They always did and forever will do so. The innate wisdom of the Universe knows well that in stagnation lies only permanent death and that in movement and friction, the warmth thus generated makes life and verily Creation possible.

Where there is clashing, difference and conflict there also exist immense potentials to reconcile forces and to find that Original Centre where quintessence dwells, which is still and quiet, yet vibrant and vivified, filled with the impending and quiet power potential, just like the centre of the cyclone, reflecting greater centres, indeed the ultimate Central Core of All. Left to natural devices this reconciling will take time. Long time.

If you look at eternity, time, space, energy, matter and creation; intense changes and activity have existed side by side, immense, intense activity interspersed with intense calm, from the very beginning. It would appear that the nature of light, in an expanding universe, predisposes to clashes of forces. When you look at Nature in her prolific and abundant productivity, it seems to be an inevitable part of processing of energy that there will be conflicts between interests. It seems that adversity and challenge is in the nature of things as much as peaceful moments of quietude.

Change is the universally guaranteed constant. Sudden change takes on the appearance of violence. Consciousness enables predictability and the ability to navigate change. Navigationability of change, enables harmonizing in lieu of clashing.

What you practice regularly you get good at, and will refine consciousness. The more refined the consciousness, the more refined the ability to predict, navigate and to harmonise.

There have always existed experience based sayings that indicate this principle, such as: “Expect the unexpected.” “Chance favours the prepared.” “Be prepared.” “Err on the side of caution.” “Better sure than sorry..” And so on.

Change is natural indeed. Even sudden change. Our ability to flex appropriately with sudden change to survive, even thrive, it is, that makes of us warriors.

Nature’s changes do not carry either volition as we know it, or ill intent, but are indifferent actions and reactions of matter and energy’s interplays in time and space.

Volitional ill intent is something only humans are capable of. Those with a damaged navigation system who are blinded to the more efficient and harmonious alternatives to obtaining results, other than violence.

We are already armed with the navigation system; this being consciousness. Practice refines consciences and thus the ability to notice directly devoid of clutter, and then act accordingly, thereby skill in action, or, the yoga of budo. Harmonizing efficacious intention, or aiki.

Finding the calm at our centre despite the intensity of circumstances, much as during jiyuwaza/randori with multiple attackers, is the skilled meditation that reconciles these opposite potentials and restores the harmony that is at the seat of Origins, and which resides immutably within ourselves. It seems that despite the making of errors and perhaps learning from them too, it is a potential faculty of the human being, to become able to purposefully and dynamically reconcile conflict in dynamic equilibrium. Such skill reveals the long-term futility of violence as a tool for human interaction by opening up a way for a multitude of viable, result getting alternatives, to come alive.

Aikido training brings this skill forth.

© Copyright, Nev Sagiba 2003; Adapted in part from the final chapter of A DIFFERENT SHADE OF BLUE

Nev Sagiba


  1. I think that along with 99% of our DNA a lot of our behavior is also shared with apes. We’ve just used our brains to do it with fancier tools. I like the scene in 2001 where the ape-man figures out using the bone as a weapon, then flip forward to the bone-like military satellite. There was some recent research on the subject in the daily news. That said, peace, to the extent that it occurs on earth is either a cessation of hostilities or greater or lesser duration; or between our ears.

  2. Since we’re on the subject of “peace” and lightning somewhat, about ten minutes after Stan posted this blog, an immense but brief thunderstorm came up locally and hovered overhead.

    I turned the computer off and went out to watch the rain and thunder, something I enjoy. As I returned into the dojo an explosion ensued which appeared to lift the building a foot into the air and the kitchen shelves emptied onto the floor. From what a neighbour reports an immense ball of lightning fell from the sky and struck a giant tree in the land next door. The incident was intense and to me interesting. When the storm stopped if felt very “peaceful.” Nature was happy.

    I went out, inspected the tree which base, one third the height, was split and now supporting three or four times the length, twice over, immense weight, because after the base the tree forked out into two.

    Now here’s the rub. The tree is twenty metres from the house and three times that in height. It’s tilting towards the house and presents imminent danger.

    In the good old days we would simply fix the problem. That’s peaceful too. A bit of sweat and a day’s work, some measure of risk and its all over and we get back to life.

    But no. There are people of today involved, each with their own special brand of mental poison. A similar situation involving a smaller rotting tree and electricity wires presenting similar danger some years ago, I lobbied for a year and each department and individual passed the buck for full 12 months until, as predicted, on the anniversary of my first letter it came down at 8 am one morning and live electric wires were waving in the street alongside chidden playing!

    In the good old days, and fewer today, people had ki, were proud of having developed real skill and were not afraid of moving forward when something obvious had to be done. In today’s world of mostly moral cowards faking pleasantries, most people expend many times more effort and energy covering their backside and avoiding work, than simply doing the job required as self evident. That is why people are not at peace. Complacent living a lie and peace of mind certainly do not go hand in hand.

    Unless what they imagine to be their “interests” are threatened most people give a hoot about doing what’s right. Never mind that when three score and ten catches and a tree is eating them, their “interests” will cease to exist. That hard fact seems to escape reciognition.

    We, some of us, for the greater part, have forgotten how to take responsibility and act responsibly. We want to spend our lives playing instead, it would appear.

    And so we miss life by making simple things so complicated that they entangle our minds and lives in a quagmire of confused action that has no relevance with reality.

    This time round I’m a little more experienced and got advice from people with the guts to act.

    We’ll see how it goes.

    In the face of such self evident imminent danger is my “peace” disturbed? Well with the knowledge the blessed tree can come down on my head at any second a wind may rise, I’m too busy activating the right people to sit there and feel sorry for what “might” happen. In the face of the facts as they stand, “tree lovers” or just plain ignoramuses living in denial have moved their mouth with a lot of unscientific maybes. The tree “might not come down,” “it might not do it for a long time ” ” it might miss the house” and other such excrement. In other words THEY ARE NOT SITTING UNDER IT! This included the so called State Emergency Services, experts at parading in front of cameras with their bright orange jumpsuits whose “fearless leader” arrived with no intention of doing work, stood about with hands in pockets and then made the executive decision “I will not put my people at risk,” and simply left without making any attempt to secure the tree or invoke specialists of any kind or activate any level of responsible behaviour whatsoever. That they pointedly failed in their duty of care, yes, that level of ignorant laziness does disturb my “peace” just sufficiently to act and keep on acting until the job is done.

    Mind you I’m not authorised to “trespass” next door with an axe and do it myself, or I would simply do it myself.

    What did the experts, professional arborists say? “You have 24 hours!”

    It should be an interesting 24 hours.

    So what is my point?

    Well, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, street attacks and all the other vagaries do not just happen to “other people.” They are coming to a suburb near you. Soon. They won’t be at the movies, but real. The unprepared will pay the price. Are you equipped?

    It therefore behoves us all to get our heads out of the ground, grow up, look around at what really is and start to prepare for real life as it is. Not as too many do, imagining it to be otherwise.

    And if we work consciously together, it can be an all win scenario, instead of a scattering of stampeding sheep.

    That’s true Budo. And with Aiki it’s even better. I’m not talking of pushing people over into padded floors and feeling good about yourself, more play; but of meeting real life and harmonising that.

  3. Update Tuesday
    A direct approach was used. The factual details about the problem and liability was determined, confirmed and communicated in a respectful manner to all concerned. Relevant due process was enacted. On this basis, early affirmative action was the unanimous agreement of the disparate parties. A sensible young person with authority was decisive, thereby enabling fast right action. The tree is being removed as I write this and in a few short hours will no longer pose a risk. Expensive protracted lawsuits were prevented. An all gain scenario subsequently ensued. Nobody lost. Everyone gained. Aikido.

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