Feeling very calm this week, although I've been very busy. I actually have a job interview on Monday, at the place a mile and a half down the street from home (the one with the ludicrous range of desired skills--for the last question on the screening test that I didn't know the answer to, I just wrote down "I like cheese", which perhaps made an impression). I'm starting to feel like a conversation a couple of weeks ago, which resolved a lot of personal issues and let off a lot of emotional pressure, was the first tangible step in an important process that I expect to take a while. My perceptions and insight are changing, as I change more into the person I want to be...

The word "aikido" is a compound word that O-Sensei made up to name this budo he'd created. It has three characters in it: ai, which is "harmony"; ki, which is the energy of the universe; and do, which is "Way" in the sense of a path of being. aiki is something along the lines of "positioning yourself in the right place"...a pretty good translation of aikido is "Way of harmonizing with the energy of the Universe". I do believe, have believed for as long as I've thoughtfully believed anything, that if you move with the Universe instead of against it, good things will happen naturally: such a blending and unity is at the heart of wisdom and understanding. You'll find enough happy coincidences to stop thinking they're coincidences; good things and good people will find you. And bad things will happen, too, but if you're going with the world instead of against it, you can handle those. If you can feel the light inside you, worlds of possibility open up. Feeling that light is the unshakeable stillness inside you, the source of what is good and wise in you, the genesis of being-at-peace.

If you wanted to be really rebellious about the whole thing, you could say that the Tao (Way of the Universe) is just another authority structure, and I'm trying to get you to conform to something. But to me that's tantamount to saying that gravity is an authority structure, or magnetic fields...and don't you feel some kind of order? There doesn't need to be a God directing it, and in fact maybe the primary reason I left Christianity behind is that for all its merits, I found it lacking in ways to help my understanding of this inevitable interconnection-of-things which I perceive and feel as much as I can see that someone feels uneasy or happy, or that they're limping.

This is in retrospect, of course. At the time I had a lot of anger and annoyance and created a sort of vendetta against Christianity, although largely on a personal level since, as I am happy to explain to anyone with the same problem, directing your anger at Christianity itself for any reason is a thoroughly lost cause. I finally learned, maybe six to eight years ago, that most of my distaste for Christianity has more to do with human behavior that far transcends religion, and Christianity per se has a lot of complex lessons to teach about faith, to say nothing of the mystery of picking and choosing what you think is right (cf. Catholics who think the Pope is wrong, or the lack of a death penalty for working on the Sabbath). I've got a little bit of a handle on faith, but the picking and choosing I'm not sure will ever make sense to me in a way that doesn't feel arbitrary.

I think I'm more and more getting myself lined up with the universe, with one result being the recent spate of centeredness and job possibilities and relationship goodness. More than ever I'm feeling that jobs and relationships and friends will come to me when the time is right, and I'm letting go of my impatience and dissatisfaction and my life is smoother for that. Taking aikido and starting this process of change all seems to come at the right time.