The following program is an offering from Wisdom Community Leader Leigh Schickendantz:
Being on a threshold of dialogue and practice to cultivate the depth dimension of our lives through the embodiment of an active contemplative path. Expanding our inner reservoir and widening our ability to respond to life with presence, compassion, and practical wisdom while drawing us deeper towards a centered life of wholeness is the conversation of Journey Towards Center.
Journey Towards Center is an invitation to the shared exploration of incarnational mysticism, aikido, and wholeness. This offering is a full-bodied program for those interested in the study and exploration of human and ecological wholeness and healing. It is a living inter-spiritual dialogue, a contemplative ecumenism of language and movement as an avenue to steward the awakened heart as a wisdom way of living.
Grounded in the Incarnational Mystical tradition together with Aikido, a martial wisdom practice directly exploring harmony in the midst of perceived duality, Journey Towards Center is a passageway into a wider bandwidth of resonance with our self, one another, and the planet. It offers an active contemplative path to explore and expand the totality of our being and perhaps access the invisible inside the visible.
The program is enriched, influenced, and supported by several years of study and mentorship with my teachers in the Incarnational Mystical tradition and Aikido. Specifically Jim Finley, Cynthia Bourgeault, and the direct lineage of Morihei Ueshiba.
Jim offers a corpus of wisdom teachings that are both far-reaching and intimate, dedicated to healing trauma and all forms of suffering. Cynthia’s precise and comprehensive exploration of spiritual transformation is exemplary and inclusive. And, inherent in Aiki principles we find a spiritual path of embodiment practices wherein heart cognition may be ignited and eventually stabilized through sincere practice.
While most people in our Wisdom network are familiar with the work of Jim and Cynthia, many are not familiar with Aikido; the Japanese martial wisdom practice of peace, functioning in service of the realization of unity and Oneness. Aikido, revealed by the late Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei), is a martial wisdom practice with roots in the inherent harmony of creation wherein Love is the shape of everything. Our work is learning to see it, experience it, and live it right here, the eternal Mystery, a spontaneous arising, an invitation in which we participate together. O’Sensei said, “We are here for no other reason than to celebrate our inner divinity and our innate enlightenment.”
The contemplative path of Aikido finds itself on a similar threshold as that of the Christian contemplative wisdom path. Both are in the midst of reclamation of sorts; both in the midst of “spitting out the bones” as we say in the Zen tradition. Just as the ground of Christianity does not live in a privatized notion of Jesus of Nazareth, nor does the ground of Aikido live in the Japanese Culture. The ground of Aikido lives in the realization of Oneness, just as the ground of the Christian contemplative wisdom path lives in the ground of Christ, an evolutionary dynamism.
Aikido is the study of the energetic field, the One body in all its complex dualities. It is a vast path of the study of a unitive mystery. Aikido is not a religion and embraces people from all faiths and practices. At a deeper and more essential level, the level that O’ Sensei points us toward, Aikido is a spiritual path aligning it’s practitioners with the natural evolutionary laws of the Universe. It shows and invites us by method and practice to directly experience our innate interconnectedness and Unity with each other in the midst of conflict and polarized positions. Furthermore, the sincere study can lead us to a direct experience that even in the midst of our unique dilemma we have the ability to settle into our self and access a wholeness that is our essential ground.
Travel the path and explore the perennial and elemental wisdom traditions through the study of incarnational mysticism, Aikido, meditation, poetry, chant, and dialogue.
Journey Towards Center is an ongoing exchange offered in a small group format to those who have attended either a 3 month program or retreat setting. We offer a 5 day non-residential retreat periodically both by request and as a scheduled event. Participation is by application only. If you have an interest in receiving an application, please send us a note with your request at firstname.lastname@example.org
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