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Old 03-10-2017, 02:13 PM   #5
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,192
Re: Letting Go of the Ego

Cassia Rose Heatley wrote: View Post
Nonetheless, from the above you can probably see my issue, I care very much about what others think, how they train, how that affects me training, how well I am doing compared to them, etc. and I would like to mentally overcome this.
Well...I'd say a good start is to own it, which you've just done. I don't think you can "overcome" this kind of trait; you can't grapple with it and wrestle it into submission. You can only become someone different, who isn't triggered in that same way to that same degree. And the way you become that someone different is, I think, to look in the mirror as Amos says, and then be both honest with yourself and gentle with yourself about what you see. And then, you need to be humble about the standards you set for yourself. When I was at your stage of training, I didn't think about what "the aiki mindset" is, or what the ideal aikidoka is -- honestly, where would I have gotten any idea about those things? My sensei didn't lecture us on the topic, no one said "hey, newbie, this is the aiki mindset, now pay attention" -- we showed up and trained. Things like "the aiki mindset" or "the ideal aidikoka" tend to be at least somewhat in the eye of the beholder, and as with anything that isn't cut-and-dried objective, your view of it will change over time. It's also a very lofty goal. If your goal is to become a paragon, you probably won't get there, ever -- and if you set that as your goal as a beginner, you'll almost certainly take a lot of wrong turnings as you pursue that imagined mountain top and fail to see what's at your feet.

When you look in the mirror, you see flaws. Facing that with honesty means owning them, not projecting them outward. That can be hard to do when you're dealing with other flawed human beings: you see the fellow student who insists on trying to teach others, and you can identify the flaw -- but you can't fix his flaws, only your own, and if that flaw grates so much, does it maybe mean you have something of that same tendency? And then, gentleness. You see something in yourself that you don't like, you feel hurt and upset, and you respond by being very hard on yourself, and vowing to completely eradicate that flaw, starting immediately. Stop. Breathe. Smile. Look at yourself with gentleness and affection, say, "yeah, human, you got a flaw," be forgiving of that. And then humility, means trying to take a tiny step in the right direction. Humility means recognizing that the step is tiny and that even so, you may fail at it. Humility means being ok with that.

Less analysis and more training will probably do you good. Aikido, like any challenging endeavor, defies analysis: it can't be approached through theory. The theory means nothing without data points for reference, and the "data points" are your experiences on the mat -- and until you have a LOT of data points, I think that theory and analysis do more harm than good. Experience aikido, don't interrogate it. Don't try to figure out what it means. Just do it. If the practice itself -- without the newage-sounding "aiki mindset", without being the "ideal aikidoka" -- is not enough, then don't do it.
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