The calendar pages are about to turn on another year as well as a decade. It is traditional among many of the world’s cultures to take a moment and reflect on what has been and consider what is about to be. Kagami Biraki is one of these traditions.
Kagami Biraki, or breaking the mirror, encourages us to look at what we see reflected back to us, shatter it, then over the new year strive to improve our reflection, our image of ourself. In this way we strive to see teachings in a new way. We look for more depth in the knowledge we seek. We work to improve ourselves in some small aspect that can be a benefit to those around us.
While we may make this practice ceremonial each year at this time there is no reason that this emptying of the cup in preparation for growth can not be a daily practice. Consider my bread starter. Twice each day, every day, I feed the child. I take a very small spoon’s worth out and give the small seed a bit of flour and water. While throwing the rest out, Again and again the same thing.
I have been asked what part of the starter do you save? All of the parts. The seed is stronger with all of its parts just as we are stronger with all of our parts. I mix the stringy part together with the more body-full part and with the wetter part. Together they form to just the right tension, body and life, that when given the proper attention will make a beautiful loaf of bread.
We enter the dojo and bow, in a way shattering the mirror that has followed us in our day, throwing out the unneeded. On the mat we are challenged to be empty of preconception and judgment. In this way we absorb a new lesson and let it feed us, becoming part of us, just as I feed the little bit of seed each day.
Let Aikido work through you without confines of yesterday’s lessons. In this way your exploration is joyous and fresh each day. When you walk out of the dojo your reflection will hopefully be a bit different then when you walked in.