What value could an obscure and ancient concept bring to modern business and life’s challenges?
The founder of Aikido explained his art through a concept out of Shinto philosophy, called, ‘the floating bridge of heaven’.
The implication here is to be connected to both heaven and earth, being able to maintain some connection with your divine origin, as well as your place in the mundane world. It implies allowing the fullness of your dreams along with ability to see what is actually so, with neither impeding the other.
The metaphor of the bridge implies the idea of being able to stand in two places at once. This might apply in our world as being able to understand the two positions in a conversation whether it be, management and labor, teachers and students or mine and yours.
For a parent to truly understand their child’s interests, as they do their own, changes their ability to guide the child. It also changes the child’s ability to hear and receive that guidance based on their understanding that the parent sees both positions. Translate that to any and every hierarchical structure and the same principle holds true.
Understanding complimentary views increases the depth of our understanding and effectiveness of our actions. Standing on the floating bridge, seeing multiple dynamics, means being able to make decisions with a more inclusive and informed understanding of what’s going on. Your leadership and guidance for those who follow you, for whom you are responsible or are in your care is enhanced by that power.
The concept of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ is an example of standing on the floating bridge, as might be, maintaining the well-being of our customers as our profits, maintaining the well-being of our employees and those in our charge, as well as our own. If we were to apply this power in the political or economic realms it would transform the way we live and work together.
Standing on the floating bridge implies living in a world of growth and development for individuals, ideas and systems of thought. It may only be possible in imagination or heaven, but I believe it is possible ‘on earth’, as the saying goes. Imagine if all the energy and resources expended in conflict were instead invested in education, art and commerce. That’s what I think standing on the floating bridge might mean to our world.