Budo’s spiritual path, being but another expression of the perennial philosophy, is centered upon a reconciliation between the Ego Tripartite Mind and the God Mind. This means throughout history, throughout every manifestation of the perennial philosophy, the Ego Tripartite Mind has been present and has been involved in the elucidation, the transmission, and the dissemination of every Way. This is also the reason why each manifestation of the Way ultimately comes to end in its own spiritual impotence: The Ego Tripartite Mind, in its natural functioning to thwart access to the God Mind, that which itself requires the aforementioned reconciliation, functions to generate an internal decaying that ultimately ends in a Way becoming antithetical to itself, making it unable to reconcile the two minds, and having a Way no longer function as a means of gaining access to the God Mind.
This is precisely why Ways corrupt themselves not randomly but always in an oppositional format to their core conceptual structures, whereby they always end in either internal contradiction or farce; For such is the Ego Tripartite Mind, caged in dichotomy and in oppositional thought. For example, Ways based in humility, become over time Ways that cultivate pride and self-righteousness, generating in a practitioner what Thomas Merton has warned as a “pride in one’s humility.” Likewise, Ways based in servitude, become Ways based in satisfying egoic drives, whereby practitioners seek not a loss of self but a social validation of self. Ways based in peace, become Ways based in conflict, whereby practitioners forfeit inclusion and harmony and instead sow and seek division and intolerance. Ways based in chastity, become Ways based in debauchery; Etc. What one is seeing throughout the history of religion is the ebb and flow of human consciousness, its two components, its two minds, playing out the very pattern of the universe, yin and yang, separation and communion, a redramatizing of the genesis act, over and over again, the Ego Tripartite Mind and the God Mind reconciling and unreconciling.
As the Ego Tripartite Mind function so as to corrupt a Way, what is important to note is that it will not do so obviously. Like the trickster beings it was poetically once associated with in our pre-modern era, the Ego Tripartite Mind thwarts its integration with the God Mind through positive ways, through ways presented as bringing about good, of generating less corruption, and of working toward a fuller integration with the God Mind. However, such is not the case. The Trickster deceives. Examples of this are St. Aquinas’s use of the Socratic Method to explain and motivate others toward a deeper engagement in the mysticism of Jesus Christ, and Contemporary Aikido’s assigning of responsibility to Uke for externally reconciling all force equation surpluses as a means of more widely disseminating Osensei’s practice of communion and conflict resolution.
In St. Aquinas’s example, what is most interesting is that we can see the God Mind’s ebb and flow to the Ego Tripartite Mind’s functioning within a single life’s practice of the Way – his own. For it was near the conclusion of his Ego Tripartite Mind’s masterpiece, the Summa Theologica (“Summary of Theology”), that he had his enlightenment experience - the functioning of the God Mind brought about by the cessation of the Ego Tripartite Mind. Following this experience in 1273, St. Aquinas stopped writing and did not finish the Summa Theologica. When he was asked by his prompted fellow Dominican monk, Brother Reginald, “Master, will you not return to your writing?” St. Aquinas’s answered, “I cannot,” and offered no further explanation. Brother Reginald compelled by all of Christendom waiting for the completion of the Summa Theologica pressed upon St. Aquinas again: “Master, will you not return to your work?” In a final reply, one delivered in a way that would override all additional questions asked by Brother Reginald, St. Aquinas answered, “I can write no more. All that I have written seems like straw.”
The irony here is that the Church would through the writings St. Aquinas’s did complete move itself further away from the mystical understandings and practices of Jesus the Christ, and thereby move itself antithetically from the God Mind experience the saint concluded had made those writings but analogous to the bedding for the low and impoverished. Over the following years, the Church was able to use St. Aquinas’s Socratic Method to address many growing anti-Christian positions, but in doing so, as it itself became more sophisticated at the scientific method it was developing, that which ultimately led to the Enlightenment and ultimately to Modernity, the Church eventually became antithetical to gaining access to the God Mind. It also came under the attack of the very reason it thought would offer protection. In ignoring the very action made by the saint, the choosing of the cessation of the Ego Tripartite Mind and the accessing the God Mind, over time, as more and more of the community itself lost access to the direct experience of the God Mind, more and more of the Church’s practices and beliefs worked through and centered upon the functioning of the Ego Tripartite Mind.
Returning to this process as it is taking place in Aikido: Contemporary Aikido, in an Ego Tripartite Mind reaction to feeling inferior, forfeited much of its identity and its spiritual technologies for the sake of being socially validated by the West. Like a nerd in a movie from the 80’s that suffered from an insecurity complex because she was not pretty and was instead frumpy in comparison to the popular girls in high school, one who then goes on to have a movie montage makeover, one where the whole audience learns how she really is pretty, Contemporary Aikido made itself over to look and act and think like the West: Contemporary Aikido adopted the secular-materialism of the United States, the very fruit of the seedling St Aquinas planted but then abandoned as straw, as worthless.
The same irony can be seen in Aikido history as was present in the personal history of St. Aquinas and the cultural history of the Church. As we know already, this irony is actually just a functioning of the Ego Tripartite Mind and its limitation of having to see the world dichotomously: The Ego Tripartite Mind cannot help but to generate contradiction or farce. Contemporary Aikido’s move toward Western secular-materialism happened at the same time that the art was generating and holding up the mythology of the Founder. The myth of the Founder, though Osensei was a man of the God Mind experience, a man very much of the same vein as St. Aquinas when he had his God Mind experience and refused to complete is Ego Tripartite Mind treatise, the Summa Theologica, was generated and being used to politically organize and validate the practice of people that did not have access to the God Mind and that did not want it for fear the popular cultural (American) would look down upon them.
Over time, and despite Kisshomaru’s efforts to place Aikido on a straw bed of western environmentalism, Aikido’s “spiritualism” remained, but having no real ties to the Founder it has developed into a combination of Western self-defense morality, itself Ego Tripartite Mind extensions of the mystical teachings and practices of Jesus the Christ, and a part of the multi-billion-dollar industry of self-help – also a manifestation of the Ego Tripartite Mind. What is important to note here for the Aikido practitioner that is attempting to do an archeology of the art, one that re-ties his or her own practice to the Founder’s practice, is that the Trickster still abodes nearby. He’s going to present to you great ideas and great reasons why you should continue to move further from the God Mind, while telling you that you’re are moving closer to the God Mind. In particular, and common to the self-help industry, he’s going to tell you that you should have a reason to access your God Mind. He’s going to make you look for one. He’s going to talk to you about ending suffering for yourself or for the world. He’s going to talk to you about becoming pain-free, more efficient, achieving what you want in life, about becoming successful. He’s going to talk to you about gaining peace, love, ecstasy, pleasure. He wants you to be healthy, whole, and fearless. And, in doing all of these things, in getting you to pursue all of these things, he maintains the functioning of the Ego Tripartite Mind, getting you to want to reify the self, getting you to think it is only natural or good or best to reify the self. And, in maintaining the functioning of the Ego Tripartite Mind, he prevents access to the God Mind: The Trickster deceives.
The tree and the mountain have no reason for holding themselves up. The human being that gains access to the God Mind has no reason either. He or she is neither plagued nor drawn by gaining some thing or losing some thing. The tree and the mountain stand because they are standing beings; the human being experiences the world through the God Mind because the God Mind is him/her.