“One does not need buildings, money, power or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” – Ueshiba, The Art of Peace
I didn’t find the Tao (or ‘God’, or the Force, whatever,) in church or a book. I found it in Kung Fu. It led me to discern this Source of energy from within myself. The earliest roots of Kung Fu come from Taoist monks, who thousands of years ago strived to keep the peace, not promote fights. They were the first to teach how to ‘surf’ this ‘flow’, dancing with the rhythm of the universe.
Kung Fu is an Art of Peace. The key to finding this Empty Force is maintaining a consciousness of love. I study Yee Chuan Tao Kung Fu, one of the last arts to have been passed down within a family. (check out http://www.yeechuantao.com.) However there is another teacher anyone can learn from – Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. Aikido is extremely similar to Kung Fu, especially in its teachings of peace, and having only defensive moves.
Morihei Ueshiba lived from 1883 until 1969, and was known even into his old age for his ability to take down any opponent ‘with a single finger.’ But though he was undefeated, he detested violence, and taught Aikido as his ‘Way’ to peace. In my opinion his Art of Peace has become one of the few true manuals of the Way. It was compiled from a lifetime of his poems and sayings.
During his life Ueshiba experienced three powerful visions which transformed him. “…I felt transformed into a golden image, and my body seemed as light as a feather. All at once I understood the nature of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces and nurtures all things…” (intro to the Art of Peace, compiled by John Stevens, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 1992.) He developed Aikido as a way to handle the aggression in the world, and believed that everyone, martial artist or not, could be a Warrior for Peace.
“Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you. Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants, and trees – should be your teacher.” -Ueshiba