View Full Version : The changing nature of devotion

Please visit our sponsor:

Anders Bjonback
10-29-2004, 02:04 AM
I was wondering if other people go through phases in training where you just don't train much, and then get back to training more intensively later. I've been doing aikido for about two years now, and I used to practice twelve to eighteen hours a week, but now I do it one to two hours, if that. It seems like I'm just more interested in and devoted to different things right now, putting my energy into school work, tea ceremony and my meditation practice rather than aikido. I definetly don't think that I want to quit aikido, and I'm sure I'll get passionate about it again later on. I was wondering if people ever found that these kinds of periods help them keep training in the long run.

10-31-2004, 04:28 PM
I went through a period of about six months where I trained not at all. I worked 40 hours a week and took 16 units in college. During that time I got really depressed that I wasn't able to practice. Aikido has become quite a large part of me.

When I came back, it was amazing just how quickly I was able to get back into the swing of things, so to speak. All of my fellow students, however, had pulled way ahead of me, which I had to deal with.

The point is, I have a feeling that, no matter how long you take off, you'll never forget the things you learn.

11-01-2004, 08:37 AM
IMHO, the time and resources available to train can vary from time to time, and appropriately so. That doesn't necessarily mean the nature of our devotion has changed, after all, you came back.

Anders Bjonback
11-01-2004, 11:40 PM
I think devotion was a bad word to choose. I was bored and I thought that it sounded good and represented what I thought, when it didn't.
What I meant was that now aikido is much lower on my priority list than it was before. Sure, I couldn't pay the mat fee for awhile, but that was becuase I wanted to go to some Buddhist teachings. Now I have the time to do aikido, but instead I'm spending it doing other things that are important to me. It's not outside conditions that have changed, it's my drive or motivation to train that has. I was wondering whether having periods where one is not all that interested in aikido is a natural part of training, and whether going through that kind of stuff can actually help one to keep with it in the long run. It seems to me like it's natural to go through periods where one doesn't train much, and I know I'll want to train more in the future because I really do like aikido. Not forcing myself train all the time when it's not what I really want to do will probably keep me from getting burned out. I was wondering if this was true in anyone else's experience.

11-02-2004, 12:47 AM
My wife explained the difference between agape and eros to me the other evening in response to something I was reading. Leave it alone guys but for the few of you who have met her you'll understand.

Anyhow - I think Aikido when we first start burns like eros. Very hot, very fast and eventually unsustainable. Those who are able to replace it with agape are capable of a longer, deeper and more constant relationship (where eros can be alive and well), while those that can't burn out.

Dropping the level of your training to a more sustainable level over the long term is a natural evolution of your training and a good thing.

We use the term Love to describe both states - you could also say two types of devotion.

Jonathan Punt
11-02-2004, 02:52 AM
I found that I got a bit bored after about 8 years. Became a part timer for a couple of years, but am pretty much back into it again, enjoying it as much as I ever did. Training twice a week. Doing the weekend courses whenever I can etc.....


11-02-2004, 03:29 AM
... We use the term Love to describe both states - you could also say two types of devotion Damn, with this definition, I think I've hit my mid-life crisis.

Phases of devotion, oh yes. However, when you teach I think you get a bit of a bonus not available to those "just training" as you can feed off your aikido-virgins enthusiasm (note: currently unable to move away from the eros theme thanks to Peter's post)

11-02-2004, 04:50 AM
you have to do what is appropriate at the time - that is aikido.

Nick P.
11-02-2004, 07:41 AM
Something my Sensei and I were discussing last night.

Aikido is a life-long pursuit / journey / activity. One of the hardest parts of the journey is to just keep showing up for training again and again and again and....

Him and I have expressed just that same concern you originally posted, Anders. Is it normal for one's enthusiasm to flag? I would say yes, it is. I have noticed in my years of training a distinct, upwards-wave cycle. The peaks are higher than the one before it, but they exist because of the valleys between them. If there were no valleys, it would simply be flat (but still hopefully upwards).

Where am I now in this cycle? Agape, phase 5 or 6.

11-02-2004, 11:40 AM
I read a book on zen writing once, and here is a fine tale contained therein:
A woman who was studying zen writing would write for two hours every morning. Her goal was nothing in particular, just to put words together, get them out of her system, and keep the narrative flowing. She had practiced this way for several years when she hit a block. She would sit down and could find nothing to write about. She tried for a week to write and finally asked her teacher about her problem. "Teacher, I have been trying for a week now, and I jsut cannot write anything at all. Have I come to another level in my training where I am empty of words?" "No," replied her teacher, "you are just lazy."