Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears in the roots.

– Rumi

Have you ever spent some time alone in nature and been enchanted by the ineffable? Try as you like, there is something in this experience that defies conceptualisation and yet lingers inexplicably in the knowable. This reminds me of attempting to define Musubi.

In Japanese culture, Musubi 結び is referred to as the techniques of tying or knotting objects such as belts (Obi), Japanese wrapping cloths (Furoshiki) and Syugibukuro, the special envelopes used to gift money. Katahana-Musubi are commonly used in Kimono dressing. Martial artists may have a favourite style of Musubi to knot their obi and hakama.


In Aikido, Musubi is usually referred to as the connection between partners during technique; the blending of the attacker’s movements with the responses of the defender. As Aikido ka we yearn for greater levels of Musubi to fall deeper into the heart of Aikido.

In Shinto, the native religion of Japan, Musubi is of central importance. It is referred to as the power of creation: the interconnecting energy of the universe.

My personal experience of Musubi was very unexpected. It transformed the way I interact with life. You see we almost exclusively define reality in terms of the world of forms. Our modern logic and scientific materialism has reduced the world into separate objects.  We have been feverishly dissecting reality, creating names for as many “things” as possible to make some sort of sense out of our lives. Yet focused on seperate objects, we all too often miss the evidence of a larger intelligence at work. Some refer to it as the creator, God, the universe, the Tao or a myriad of other names.

What it is called is of only limited significance. The real question is can you experience it? This awesome intelligence took as much care making an ant as it did a great mountain; all of creation is its work, woven like an enormous tapestry. Can you see Musubi? That which ties together the seemingly separate forms around you?

Tell me, where does your wrist become your hand? ……Where exactly does this take place?


No matter how long you look, you cannot separate your hand from your wrist in any meaningful way. It is more “correct” to claim your wrist is also your hand; this is Musubi – The creator seamlessly manifesting the one into the 10,000 things as it is said of the Tao.

Consider how the trunk of a tree becomes its branches. This is Musubi. 

Where does your neck become your head? You are quite certain you have a neck and a head, yet where is this line of separation? This is Musubi.

When did your life begin? The moment of birth? Conception? What proof of claim do you have? This is Musubi.

Where are you located in your body? How are “You” connected to “your” body? Can you identify where two become one? This is Musubi.

Follow your inhalation and exhalation. Become aware of the transition between in-breath and out-breath. Go deeply into that subtle moment. Can you find it? This is Musubi.

When you are lying in bed trying to catch the moment you fall asleep and you instantly wake up the next morning – this is Musubi.

You eat a banana; When does the banana cease to be food and instead become your body? This is Musubi.

When does a baby become a child? A child become a man? A man become an old man or a dead man? This is Musubi.

Where is the boundary of your mind? ……..Can you find one? If not, then where is the separation between your mind and my mind? This is Musubi.

Musubi, the creative energy of life, is working its way throughout creation weaving a tapestry of infinite complexity, yet of a single source. Can you see it’s ways? If we observe carefully, we discover its hidden hand growing the entire universe seamlessly. We have invested so much of our lives on separation, what is me, you, mine, yours etc and yet when we look sincerely, we cannot find the evidence to support this. On the contrary, what we find is overwhelming confirmation of the unity of the entire cosmos; of all of life.


By going out of your mind

you come to your senses.

– Alan Watts