DAIGA: Traveling the Universe
By H.F. Ito
I was thinking recently about how much I enjoy practicing with all of you around the world. I learn so much from each one of you! This year I’ve cut back a bit on plane trips, but three things have helped me travel freely all over the universe:
(1) One-handed seated Tenshingoso (in a folding chair)
(2) Hoshizora (starry night sky) Taiso
(3) A life poem written by my mom not long before she had a major stroke a few years ago
Many of you are familiar with the four basic principles of Jiga (自我,personal self) Muga (無我,nothingness self), Shinga (真我,true self), and Daiga (大我,great or universal self). I’ve been learning a lot lately about Daiga from one-handed seated Tenshingoso, from Hoshizora Taiso, and from my mom.
I do one-handed seated Tenshingoso very slowly, with the other hand held ready and awake at my side. I make sure to move slowly and mindfully, and alternate sides. The chair takes care of gravity, so movement is almost effortless. As my arm and body sweep around, every cell aligns with its neighbors. This takes time, so it’s important not to rush. I remember what I’ve learned in Tai Chi – to go slowly, move fully, and relax. When I do it right, I can feel the ki energy moving through my whole body. I’m connected to the ground below, to the sky above, and to the people around me. I feel focused, renewed, and at home.
For Hoshizora Taiso, I go out into the night and reach up into the sky, toward the stars. It feels like each star is pulling me upwards, out of my personal self and into the bigger universe. Sometimes it’s hard to come back, but of course I do, because I have some things that I need to do yet, that are not finished. Afterwards I always feel more relaxed, at peace, and connected.
With regard to my mom’s poem, in Japan we have a tradition of writing “jisei no ku.” One translation is “end of life poem,” but I think “life summary” is more accurate. I believe my mom had an insight into “Daiga.” Many of you know that she had a very serious stroke several years ago. Her body is still here, in a hospital in Japan, but I think her universal self is already traveling.
The poem that my mom wrote goes like this:
After I am dead
The road ahead, a pathway
Walk the universe!