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Old 06-08-2008, 06:57 PM   #4
Joe McParland
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Dojo: Sword Mountain Aikido & Zen
Location: Baltimore, MD
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 309
Re: Mental Toughness

Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I thought I was pretty clear I was asking about <i>how</i> to deal with the obstacles between my ears. I don't think dealing with fear is a particularly unusual experience, nor do I think that failing to manage it is unusual. You, however, seem to suggest asking how to deal with frustrations is inapropriate. You deny mental obstacles deserve any consideration. Obviously, I don't agree.

I completely agree with you when you say that improvment requires getting in there and opening up to them in the first place. But getting in and opening up are not automatic.

I suspect you and I are just going to disagree on this, considering the deep contemplation of my ass in your first paragraph
Hahaha! Actually, I was contemplating my own ass that probably should have gotten up and gone to practice today. I looked around and saw it in my easy chair---there you go

Still, I think the example is apt. The way to get out of a chair is to stand up. The way to get out of bed in the morning is to get out of bed. When you're pouring a cup of tea and it's about to overflow, you don't question how to stop pouring; you stop pouring. The way to get to go to practice is to go to practice.

Mental obstacles are very real, of course---they're what are keeping you from getting to practice. However, mental obstacles are also very much not real. There is no thought that is going to leap out of the ceiling panels and attack you like Kato after Inspector Clouseau in a Pink Panther movie! No thought is going to grab your jo staff and crack your kneecaps as you reach for the dojo door.

Now, there are issues like clinical depression that can really off-balance a person---talk to a pro about such things---but otherwise thoughts are just thoughts. Recognize them for what they are and move along smartly! Walk right through them like the phantoms they are!

BTW, I'm a big proponent of combining aikido studies with zen studies. Both deal in some way with getting past thought as an obstacle.

Best regards!

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