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Old 04-12-2006, 03:28 PM   #15
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: "Self-defense" or Something Else?

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
More about the darkside. You will run into many that believe that it is not necessary to explore or have knowledge about the negative, darkside, evil, violence etc in order to have peace and harmony.
The via negativa in Catholic tradition. The "dark night of the soul", the "cloud of unknowing." Eliot called it the "darkness of God." All of these describe the closest we can come to direct perception of God in Christian mystical disciplines. It is dangerous to our normal sensibilities, but not inherently harmful to our soul or spirit and ultimately can be very fruitful. St. Teresa of Avila emphasized the importance having an appropriate spiritual teacher or guide in this process, as does nearly every Eastern mystical tradition of which I am aware.
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Many fundamentalist religions develop structure and rules to avoid this, because they believe exploring them or entaining these things harms you. (it might if explored for the wrong reasons or too intently or deeply). ... So in the end avoiding the "darkside" only draws you in deeper!
The Greek term "daimon" or "demon" originally meant an "in-dwelling or guiding spirit." The related term "genius" in the Latin means "guardian spirit." It is also neutral in the Greek. Traditions of guardian angels fit this definition, as do other, far less benign influences. Only relatively recently has its secondary, negative connotation taken over. This is notably commensurate, I might add, with the modern (post-medieval) aggrandizement of ego generally (i.e.-- anything "I" do not decide is good, is, ipso facto, bad.) I suppose that my effort is to find and awaken the O-Sensei's genius, the "guardian spirit," as guide to our own practice.
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I think it is fundamental to martial arts. We have a methodolgy for exploring violence in a constructive way in order to better understand it and reduce the fear around it, which allows us to expand our knowledge of how to better influence peace and harmony!
I could not have said it better.

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