What is Misogi

The following few paragraphs and quotes are from John Stevens’ “Abundant Peace”– the Biography of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.

Misogi – ritual purification. The custom of washing away impurities with cold water dates back to the dawn of Japanese consciousness. Contact with the dirt and dust of this imperfect world stains one’s original pristine nature; Misogi purifies one of all the accumulated defilements and restores one’s link to sacred being.

There is external Misogi – rinsing off the body with cold water, and internal Misogi – cleansing the inner organs with deep, regenerating breaths.

After performing Misogi properly you enter a state of sumikiri – crystal clarity of body and mind. In this condition your heart is as bright and clear as a cloudless sky, untainted by base passions and worldly concerns.

Crystal clear,
sharp and bright,
my mind has
no opening for
evil to roost.

The morning sun shines in,
my mind, too, is clear and bright;
from my window, I let myself
soar to the highest heaven,
bathed in divine light.

O Sensei concluded that Aikido IS Misogi, purification of body and mind, a Way to reform and transform the world. O Sensei gave this advice:

Daily training in Aikido allows your inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter. Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Keep the mind bright and clear as the endless sky, the deepest ocean, and the highest mountain. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on Aikido, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions. Aikido never restrains, restricts, or shackles anything. It embraces all and purifies everything.

Rely on Aiki to activate your manifold powers; pacify all things and create a beautiful world.

In addition to the above thoughts from O Sensei, OUR practice of Misogi at Aikido Olympia uses the cold water as a way of learning about our center. It is not only about washing away the dust and dirt for a new beginning of the year but learning about our own power of centered-ness. We use this centered-ness as a way to face difficult tasks throughout the coming year.

This isn’t so (bad, cold, difficult, etc), I went in the water at the New Year and was able to keep my center! We will all be able to help each other through this challenge – what a great way to begin “creating a beautiful world!”

Where we do Misogi

All are welcome to take part in water Misogi which will occur January 1st at Millersylvania State Park (Deep Lake), located on Tilly Road between Olympia and Tenino . The park opens at 8 am and so you are welcome to meet us there promptly a little before 8 am or come to the dojo and leave from there around 7:15 am. We like to all go in the water together as the sun is rising at 8 am. Bring your bokken (wooden sword), warm clothes, slippers, a towel, and wear a bathing suit…we will only be in the water a short time as we ring in the New Year of training together.

From I-5: Take exit #95. Drive east, and follow signs to park (about three miles northeast of the freeway).

From downtown Olympia to the park: Take Capitol Way through Tumwater and follow it as it turns into Old Highway 99. Turn right on McCorckle Rd, and then left on Tilly…the park will be on the right-hand side (about 25 minutes from downtown Oly).

Once inside the park continue past the check-in shack and follow the road staying left. You will see our cars parked on the left side near a bend on the park road (it’s only a couple of minutes from the entrance by car). Walk through the woods to the kitchen area (doubling as changing rooms) and the swim area will be to our right.

I hope you can make this fun and invigorating way to begin the New Year! Following water Misogi, we will return to the dojo for a session of breathing practice – internal Misogi…and there has been some talk of going out to breakfast. You are welcome to all or part of the activities.