Tensingoso - The Hymn of Life

practices
 

Tenshingoso is a journey of self-discovery. It is called the Hymn or Cycle of Life and is one of the fundamental movements of Shintaido.

"Tenshin" means heaven or universal truth in Japanese. It also means, the shape of your adorned true self, and the perfect freedom. "Goso" literally means 5 phenomena or stages. It is derived from esoteric Buddhism, and represents 5 ways of embodying the universal creator, from emptiness to emptiness.

Before we approach each stage we must first develop a strong awareness or witness consciousness. We can then begin to absorb and embody the meaning of the five stages.

Each stage-movement is accompanied by a mantric sound in Sanskrit, UM - A - E - I(ee) - O - UM.

Even though we sometimes practice one stage independently, it is important to remember that the 5 stages are essentially interdependent & flow together as one cycle or hymn of life

 

UM - EMPTINESS, DARKNESS 

From "Um" to "A" the pure energy rises like a flower opening, giving birth to your life. As you sound "A" open your hands out, and spread your feet a little more than the width of your shoulders. At the same time, let your arms continue backwards, relaxing your shoulders, and letting your fingers and palms open and stretch back. Bend back and reach behind you pushing your hips out, and look towards to the skies. As your hands open and you reach upwards, you expand out and rise up into your highest aspiration. Increase your awareness and open gradually, following your hands as the energy ascends up the centre of your body, from the earth to the sky. Push the palms of your hands upwards into the sky concentrating the energy through the heels of your hands. Slowly bring your wrists up until they are facing each other over your head. Reach up as high as you possibly can. You are reaching towards your highest ideal. Don't worry if you feel ungrounded. Reach up as far into the sky as the energy will take you. Let it take you. Expand beyond your limitations and receive grace by opening your whole self. Trust your body. Follow your ideal.

A - EXPANSION, ACCEPTANCE, THE IDEAL 

From "Um" to "A" the pure energy rises like a flower opening, giving birth to your life. As you sound "A" open your hands out, and spread your feet a little more than the width of your shoulders. At the same time, let your arms continue backwards, relaxing your shoulders, and letting your fingers and palms open and stretch back. Bend back and reach behind you pushing your hips out, and look towards to the skies. As your hands open and you reach upwards, you expand out and rise up into your highest aspiration. Increase your awareness and open gradually, following your hands as the energy ascends up the centre of your body, from the earth to the sky. Push the palms of your hands upwards into the sky concentrating the energy through the heels of your hands. Slowly bring your wrists up until they are facing each other over your head. Reach up as high as you possibly can. You are reaching towards your highest ideal. Don't worry if you feel ungrounded. Reach up as far into the sky as the energy will take you. Let it take you. Expand beyond your limitations and receive grace by opening your whole self. Trust your body. Follow your ideal.

 

E - INTEGRATION- ACTUALISING THE IDEAL

This shift can sometimes be very challenging as we learn to integrate the ideal "A" into the reality of "E". Don't compromise your ideal, and yet be willing to accept the present conditions of your everyday life. At the outset of A with your arms and hands stretched heavenward, make the sound "E" and start to bring your little fingers together, whilst looking to the far distance. Twist your arms and hands bringing your little fingers, and the back of your hands near to each other. Let your arms stretch upwards a little. Now start turning your palms outwards, leading with the elbows, and little fingers.

This is the movement of integration, as you bring your dream into reality, and carve out your future, sounding "E". Bring your arms down and out, shoulders width apart, moving your elbows out to the side and bringing your thumbs to the front. Your palms are now facing forwards and elbows pointing outwards. Make sure your hands are not too far a part. If they are too open, the experience will be too shallow, and the energy will dissipate. Your arms are like two swords. Let them cut open what is blocking the way in front of you. It may be more helpful to imagine you are cutting through mist or opening curtains in front of you.

Standing in this posture, penetrate your inner frontiers.

I(ee) - MANAGEMENT CONTROL AND DEVELOPMENT

Sounding "I" you discover your capacity to manage, control and develop your original hopes and dreams effectively in the world. "I" brings a self-confidence and grounded engagement with your daily life. Imagine you are sounding "I" from the top of a mountain, with the whole world at your feet. There are two movements here. First, from the wide position of "I", bring your arms and hands down towards the pelvis.

Let your index fingers close together as you push the hands out in front of the lower abdomen (management). Secondly (development), stretch your arms forward and gradually push your hands up and facing forward, almost touching, with the index fingers and thumbs creating a triangle in space.

Set your visual focus on the infinite.

O - RECONCILIATION, COMPLETION, OFFERING

Sounding "O" you embrace and reconcile yourself with everything in your life and the world, as you feel the presence of universal love in every cell of the body. Sounding "O", you make a big circle spreading your arms wide open and backwards a little. Envelope everything in front of you. Your hands move down and forwards at a waist level. Bring them together and push forward and up as far as possible with the palm facing forwards and the fingers pulled back and downwards.

This is a gesture of offering & completion. Standing in this posture, offer everything back to the centre of the great universe. From here, let yourself relax and return to the original stage of "Um" where your mind is free from all ideas and thoughts. Bring your little fingers together and overlap your hands, like two resting wings, right hand over left and then down to the "Um" position.

Once again, return to nothingness in preparation for the next Cycle of life. UM...............(begins again)

Continue for as many times as is appropriate. One to three cycles may be enough to begin with.


For more information on The Naked Voice: www.thenakedvoice.com

For more info on Shintaido: www.shintaido.org 

Shintaido was started in Japan in the 1960’s under the leadership of Mr. Hiroyuki Aoki, with a group of martial artists, musicians, actors, visual artists, and others who wished to combine traditional wisdom with aspirations for peace, freedom and equality. The Shintaido philosophy is grounded in body movement. It takes us to the core of our beings to express our highest aspirations:

  • to find our true selves,
  • to communicate with others,
  • to become unified with nature

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