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Again the physical Aikido seemed insanely complex today, and it is the same movements that I have been working on for the better part of four months now.
Working with sensei after class talking about the dojo web site. We were talking about he essence of self defense being the defense of who you are. Sensei talked about the there being a lot of ways that we daily had to defend ourselves: Spiritually Mentally Spatially Emotionally Physically.
I guess that there was a whole new level of enlightenment that took place in me during this conversation. Aikido is more than the physical art. More than the mental centering and balancing too. There are "attacks" that we face everyday to our mental health, our spiritual well being, as well as our physical selves. It is through the mental centering of aikido that we learn to defend ourselves in all these arenas without retreating into survival mode and responding to all these attacks with our animal base survival mechanisms of violence. It is the commitment to harmony, and compassion that allow us to defend against all of these, and not loose our selves in the process. The violent anger that we feel when we are in survival mode is from our fear that we are not able to defend ourselves from the attacks. The learning of our own power be it physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional allows us to select from all of the options that are available to use in a situation. It opens flow as an option in addition to flight fight freeze. It is by being able to be present without fear in the face of any of these attacks, or perceived attacks that we can truly do Aikido, truly be ourselves, and have self defense on all levels. Telling a friend that you are unable to help them can be as much a self defense as repelling an attacker in a dark alley.
Love, Compassion, and Harmony. All things that come out of flow.
I realized that without knowing it, that I have been working on spiritual, and emotional self defense since the first day that I have hit the mat. These are the two areas that are making the most changes in my life, not the rudimentary physical techniques that I am able to do on the mat. I have no illusions that I would be able at this stage to use Aikido to repel a physical attack by a committed attacker. The emotional and spiritual self defense arts, are something that I have been using already, without my knowing it. The relaxation and centeredness that I feel now that I have been practicing Aikido, are the direct result of my not being in emotional survival mode. Sensei has never mentioned this until tonight, and never spoke of it. How did this get passed from him to me? Where did this come from in the practice of the physical art? I do not understand at all where this awesome gift was given, nor do I remember ever consciously accepting it.
This is deeply perplexing to me, what is the source, when did I receive this, what exactly is it. All evade my best efforts to describe them.