PDA

View Full Version : Layers of understanding, levels of surrender.


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


torbjornsaw
10-01-2010, 06:04 AM
Understanding of the nature and spirit of being comes from giving up, not from acquisition. If you want to know what and who you are you need to invest in surrender. There is a real thread that you can follow that will lead you back to your fundamental self. Consider the similar example of wearing an old fur coat. You feel its weight and you are enveloped by its smell. It's close to your skin and you have had it for years. You are very familiar with it almost to the degree that it feels to be a part of you. Yet you never make the mistake thinking it is you. You can take it off any time you'd like. In the same manner you will have to discard and undress your self from unquestioned assumptions of who and what you think you are, in order to reach the core being beneath all superimposed layers of identity. But like the old fur coat, they still are part of you, not to be dismissed outright, but seen for what they really are; a vestment, a piece of clothing, covering your nakedness. Ideas and believes about your self may have to be exchanged. The body will have to remain. Yet you want to see even the body, flesh and blood, to be a garment to your soul. Go beneath all layers, physical as well as mental. Undressing can be challenging. Maybe the top layers are easy enough, especially if it's warm outside. But we're always shy when it comes down to our last essentials. This process of giving up usually takes years since each new layer needs a thorough going over. You cherish it, it's been part of you for such a long time. It takes time to surrender it and maybe even a little time grieving its loss.There is a faster way. Consider that if you would have to give anything away, you would choose to give away the most important thing to you. Out of all things that are dear to you, you would part with the thing that is closest to your heart. In this way you very quickly come to see what lies at the core of your self. Consider that and you will quickly find out your fears in regards to surrender. Can you do it? Are you willing to give it up now or later? In the end, if you want to find absolute freedom, you will have to abandon the very thing that you hold dearest; your very own self!

Shadowfax
10-01-2010, 07:19 AM
Nothing to add but I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I enjoyed it very much.:)

SeiserL
10-01-2010, 07:34 AM
If you want to get Zen/Buddhist about it, you don't have to give up or surrender to what never existed in the first place.

torbjornsaw
10-01-2010, 07:55 AM
That zen or advaita approach always favours the lazy Westerner :-)
It might be true but it's a little early to jump to easy conclusions.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-01-2010, 08:40 AM
That zen or advaita approach always favours the lazy Westerner :-)
It might be true but it's a little early to jump to easy conclusions.

Early for whom? And why ist that conclusion easy?

torbjornsaw
10-01-2010, 08:44 AM
Oh no, you figure it out.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-01-2010, 09:14 AM
Oh no, you figure it out.

I guess I should, my understanding is just too shallow. Back to cleaning, a good lazy Zen practice.

Shadowfax
10-01-2010, 10:37 AM
If you want to get Zen/Buddhist about it, you don't have to give up or surrender to what never existed in the first place.

I don't think surrender has to equal giving up. As my sensei says. Just because you don't fight back does not mean you don't defend yourself. ;)

C. David Henderson
10-01-2010, 12:15 PM
Interesting point of view.

To me, the concept of surrender does have the sense of giving in or giving way to something or someone; like surrendering your body to a wave in the ocean or current in a river instead of diving beneath it or swimming against it.

I tend, for this reason, to think of defending as a contrast to surrendering.

To me, saying you don't have to [struggle against or] surrender to [either] what never really was [or what always was] isn't a lazy way out; its more of a description of mindfulness as a practice.

Then again, so too may be Bjorn's concept of surrender for him, as reflecting his own exploration.

I wondered when I read it whether it may be a somewhat different take/angle on his "break the will of the ego" idea, using an image of a more gentle nature to describe a process of personal growth.

I guess it also has the sense of self-ablation attached to it for me; maybe I'm mistaken.

lbb
10-01-2010, 12:15 PM
That zen or advaita approach always favours the lazy Westerner :-)
It might be true but it's a little early to jump to easy conclusions.

I think you're confusing "easy" with "simple".

jonreading
10-01-2010, 01:48 PM
"In the end, if you want to find absolute freedom, you will have to abandon the very thing that you hold dearest; your very own self!"
First off, let me just say that I am pretty sure this was a line in Logan's Run right before they sent you into the Carousel.

Joking aside, I think nature is struggle; at birth we begin our struggle, at death we surrender. It is interesting to read that the very things that define our person are the things we are to remove from our person. That something as small as our favorite color so dramatically frames our personality. That our love, hope and fear are the very things that we should remove from our lives is a difficult concept for me not because I cannot remove those things (I have never tried), but because what shell of a person is left once I have freed myself of these things? As Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem says, "Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all."

Rather, it is my belief that in life we do not shed that which we gain, but use it to build upon our person. What I wear around my person defines who I am. If what I wear is not who I am, then I am false. If what I wear needs to be shed, then I chose poorly dressing myself.

Consider that if you would have to give anything away, you would choose to give away the most important thing to you. Out of all things that are dear to you, you would part with the thing that is closest to your heart. In this way you very quickly come to see what lies at the core of your self. Consider that and you will quickly find out your fears in regards to surrender. Can you do it? Are you willing to give it up now or later?

In Family Guy, I remember a scene when Peter tells Lois' Dad that Lois is worthless, referring to a bribe to get out of Lois' life. Obviously the humor resonates because we appreciate what Peter is saying, that Lois is priceless, but he chooses the the word "worthless" instead. I also remember a story about a guy named Abraham who was asked to sacrifice that which was most dear to him...

Giving is about someone else, not you. A gift is valuable to the recipient, not the giver. Giving is a level of want.
Charity is about someone else, not you. Charity is valuable to the recipient, not the charity. Charity is a level of need.
Sacrifice is about you. A sacrifice is valuable to you. Sacrifice is a level of survival.

I can give up chocolate during Lent, I can tithe and pay my taxes for charity, but I never hope to sacrifice those things closest to my heart (such as my family). I guess I'll keep wearing my life...

Shadowfax
10-01-2010, 11:15 PM
Giving is about someone else, not you. A gift is valuable to the recipient, not the giver. Giving is a level of want.
Charity is about someone else, not you. Charity is valuable to the recipient, not the charity. Charity is a level of need.
Sacrifice is about you. A sacrifice is valuable to you. Sacrifice is a level of survival.



Huh... I guess that all depends on the giver. I value the gifts I give very much and more often than not give them, not only to bring happiness to the person I give to but, because of how good it makes me feel to do so. Actually I get more pleasure out of giving than out of receiving. Perhaps I am in the minority.

@David... is not aikido often referred to as fighting without fighting? Mary Heiny sensei talked a bit about this last time she visited our dojo. Basically what I remember her talking about was:

Aikido is not about doing something to our attacker. It is about restoring harmony to them while maintaining our own. When someone attacks you they are out of harmony and we act to help them return to that state using aikido. So in a sense we are protecting ourselves without fighting back and we are protecting them by refraining from doing more than necessary to end the conflict. After all if we fight back we give them power, we give them our energy, we escalate and this does nothing to help restore them to a harmonious state.

Now of course I do realize that not everyone sees their aikido training this way. But it sure makes a lot of sense to me and is the kind of aikido I personally want in my life.

torbjornsaw
10-01-2010, 11:22 PM
Early for whom? And why ist that conclusion easy?

-Early for all of us! The thread is fresh and there is no need to wrap it up immediately. Easy (or simple) because it quickly assumes everything is fine under the sun. Is it really? Let's find out together by inquiring.

In Buddhism they describe the two sides of a coin; Meditation, tranquility (Samantha) and Insight, contemplation (Vipassana).
In India they divide their time between Meditation and Satsang; one being still absorption and the other engaged thought. Emptiness and fullness.

This thread can be a medium of engaged dialogue leading to insight. Then we meditate on the perfection already inherent in our Being. But for now let's think about what it all means.

To a Christian, full surrender has already been accomplished by Jesus in your place so no need to do anything else but to give your life to him. I love that man.

lbb
10-03-2010, 06:39 AM
@David... is not aikido often referred to as fighting without fighting?

No, hon, that's kung fu. Bruce Lee, "Enter the Dragon".

C. David Henderson
10-03-2010, 08:09 AM
Hi Cherie,

To me, it isn't about Aikido (or aikido) being about "not-fighting;" its the difference between "not-fighting" in a way the restores "harmony" vs. "surrendering."

Nage's role doesn't evoke the idea of surrender to me, nor uke's -- at least not until the punctuation of the encounter with the formality of tapping out.

Of course, YMMV.

mathewjgano
10-04-2010, 03:41 PM
A lot of what Bjorn has described speaks to my understanding of Misogi. I'm pretty sure a basic meaning to misogi is to clean the body, to give up accumulations of dirt and grime, which we pick up in one form or another throughout daily life. However, deeper meanings apply: one layer of meaning would be that as we surrender the dirt to the flow of water (water-misogi, in this case) we can also surrender the psychological tsumi/impediments we acquire. It's a conscious and/or subconscious act of letting go of the relatively petty things which act as impediments to our awesome:D lives. It can be really hard to do...particularly when it's cold, wet, and breezy...er...uncomfortable.