Humans curiously find it imperative to constantly “do better,” striving to reach arbitrarily envisioned heights of accomplishment, and for goals of dubious importance that, the vast majority of them fade from memory faster than a rainbow after the rain. It is almost as if the human race was preordained, and was both empowered and obligated to improve on Nature’s design whenever and wherever possible. Verily, that was our job description from day one it seems, and nothing will make us happier than accomplishing these self fulfilling goals. This is why we were born. This is why we now exist, correct?
Nature, as far as we can perceive or conceive it, seemingly belongs to us, to serve as the template on which we make our marks, constructing, reconstructing, replacing and ever improving the original design of anything we see and encounter. Weren’t we, after all, made in God’s image, and isn’t that how He behaved in the first Seven Days of Creation? Now, isn’t it our turn, to make good on this gift of Original Entitlement, to continue the righteous and necessary work of improving and finishing His Grand Opus?
So far, so good, if only any of the above had any chance of being remotely accurate or true. If true, there would be no need to fret over our missions in life, our noble callings to achievement, or for providing any proof of the necessity for our participation and role in Nature’s Grand Design. If only……
But what if none of the above is true? What if there is no way to prove or substantiate any authentic claim for the human race’s pre-emminent role in managing that Grand Design? What if our research comes to prove the very opposite, that our puny and shortsighted efforts are simply being absorbed by Nature’s infinite capacity to adapt, and “naturally” being incorporated in its ever changing design, and not necessarily to our liking? What if we realize that no matter what we do, we could never do anything “unnatural,” or to significantly or appreciably disrupt or alter any Grand Design by God or Nature, and that whatever we do, IS, and always WILL BE a part of that inviolate plan.
Once we can fully accept that we are inexorably and indelibly a part of greater schemes that we may never appreciate fully or know well enough, we can then relax and perform in the manner for which we were wonderfully designed. We can then resolve to be lifelong students of this Grand Design, and find our way to be in harmony with its purpose, and happy in its execution. This is what I genuinely believe the Founder discovered in his search for meaning, and called this Grand Design, Aiki. In due course, his manner of acknowledging the power of this design was to create his gift of recognition, which we now call Aikido.
As to the notion of excellence, opinions and literary positions do indeed vary. Perhaps we can keep it simple, and refer to this statement of principle, not as an arbitrarily determined goal to attain, but as an ever evolving reminder, to both applaud sincere effort, and to encourage it’s constant pursuit on a daily basis. In this fashion, the honest pursuit of excellence indeed becomes a daily habit, not with “success” being the ultimate goal, but for the satisfaction of doing one’s best for that day, and in anticipation of even more productive tomorrows. Thus, may we be assured of an endless promise of excellence yet to be realized, primarily because it became a habit. No, we do not have super powers, or the right to interfere with Nature’s Grand Design. Yet, we can make a habit of excellence in all that we do, and truly be in oneness with the existence we share with all things. This is my Aikido.