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The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom
The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom
by Lynn Seiser
02-15-2012
The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Breathe in, fear
Breathe out, forgiveness
Freedom

There is a lot of talks these days about forgiveness. Perhaps besides focusing on giving or receiving forgiveness, we could also focus on not doing those things that need forgiving. How do we get ourselves to do those things?
fear: (1) fantasy-experienced-as-real, (2) terror/alarm, (3) worry/dread, (4) to be afraid of, (5) emotional anticipation/apprehension of danger
I once heard that we can have fear or we can have love, but we cannot have both. Therefore, our major task in life was to overcome fear and t0 let love in and let love out. While love may heal everything we are afraid of, it will also bring up everything we are afraid of. Fear appears to be our developmental obstacle.

Generically, there is no such thing as fear. Nice to know, isn't it? There are only negative fantasies that we think are real and so construct and structure our lives around them. This is a major source of ignorance, believing our own minds. Based on those mental constructs (real or not) we create and generate our emotions, which is what we use to motivate and perpetuate our behaviors.

In relationships, the intimacy of love is our biggest fear. Actually, it is what we believe will happen if we allow ourselves to be intimate and vulnerable with another human being. If we have positive thoughts, then we would all walk towards love and have it in our lives. It is because we have negative thoughts about what would happen if we fell in love (or let someone love us) that we block it, don't have it, yearn for it, and resent people who have it.

In Aikido (and other martial arts training) I often emphasize that usually both people are coming from a place of fear. Offenders and predators are actually very fear based but assume that their victims will be more afraid than they are and can control them through that fear. A better situation would be if only one of you were afraid. I suggest you choose the other person. Before you can utilize their fear, you must overcome your own.
forgiveness: (1) for-giving (not for-getting), give-up, (2) to pardon, clemency, (3) pity/mercy, (4) absolution/exoneration, (5) grant relief
How do we flow from external (or internal) fear to internal (and external) forgiveness? How to we transform fear once we realize it is a fantasy of our own creation into a new fantasy of our own creation that allows forgiveness (but not forgetting)?

Insight is seeing through the ignorance and illusions of our intellect. Perhaps on closer examination (which requires real courage) we will be able to see through these learned limitations. When and where did we learn to be afraid? Who taught us? Is there any real evidence that what we are afraid of is real, possible, or probable?

Perhaps we need to forgive ourselves for beliefs in false realities that lead to actions that hurt others. Perhaps we need to forgive others who believe in false realities that lead to actions that hurt us.

In the dojo, on the mat, others will attack with my permission. They may not attack exactly the way I would like them to. Their attack may be limited by their fears and the level of their abilities. They may attack with anger and aggression because they believe they should or because they have had a bad day and presently I am a safe target for its expression. Whatever their internal state, it will manifest in the attack; in its intent and intensity. It flows from their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral center. It is the gift they give me and I must accept it. By acceptance, I do not mean I have to understand, agree, or like it. Acceptance only means that here we are together and I must deal with it from who I am at the moment. If each of us is coming together, bringing the baggage of our day and life, we are giving of who we are.

In relationships, I have to remember that not everything is about me. My mate can have a bad day or a bad history that is being played out right here and now. The same is true for me. I may want to think I am only reacting or responding to what my mate is doing, but there is a higher probability that I am reacting or responding to my fantasy interpretations of what they are doing based on my own history. My mate is in pain and I am too. Our relationship is where our individual pain meets and has a chance to be either reinforced or healed based on how we each individually and collectively choose to respond to it. We can respond to the other's fear and pain through our own fear and pain, or we can choose to respond through our intelligence, insight, empathy, compassion, and love. Actually, viewed this way, there is really nothing to forgive because neither of us have done anything intentionally wrong. We have a choice of what we give back, no matter what the other person offers.
freedom: (1) the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraints, (2) liberation, (3) independence, (4) released, open
Through forgiveness we can choose to transform fear into freedom.

IMHO, everyone believes in freedom of thought and expression as long as they agree with you. Yet agreement only means that what the other person thinks matches what you think. It doesn't mean anyone is right. Disagreement only means the other person does not see it the same way. It doesn't mean anyone is wrong.

There is a quote from an old Clint Eastwood western where he is told to be careful because he scares people. He calmly responds that it's what people think about themselves that scares them. The fear is within us.

I step on the mat with a lot of mat and reality time. I suppose there's an attitude and arrogance that goes with that. It seems to unsettle some people because they imagine what I am capable of. Yet others feel more secure knowing that I am well trained and can control myself. Sometimes people feel a particular need to prove themselves and attack out of that fearful insecure place. They are not fearful/angry with me (because most of these people do not even know me). They are fearful/angry about their own self-awareness/assessment/insecurities. I do remember being there. My job is to give them the opportunity and experience to overcome their internal fears (wherever they may come from). And their job is to give me the same opportunity and experience. Together we both grow through the training.

Likewise, in the real world outside the dojo, people have their own fears and insecurities (most with long unknown and unexplored histories). If they are on automatic pilot like most people, they will act-out those fears and insecurities in relationships at home, in business, or just on the streets. If we are equally on automatic pilot we will re-act-out from our histories. This makes our lives and our relationships only a re-enactment, a repetition, and reinforcement of our mutual fears and insecurities. There is no freedom.

Freedom is to act and respond from a different place within us. Despites historical fears and insecurities, we all tend to already know the right things to do. Even if we have never received it, we still know it and can give it. It takes clarity and courage to see through our own fears and transform them into freedom. It takes clarity, compassion, and courage to see through the fears and insecurities of others and offer them the same opportunity and experience of freedom.

Breathe in, fear
Breathe out, forgiveness
Freedom

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for over 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance and Yondan (4th degree Black Belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation. He is the co-author of three books on Aikido (with Phong Sensei) and his martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders, victims, and families of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He is an adjunct professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains and teaches at Kyushinkan Dojo, Roswell Budokan.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:09 AM   #2
graham christian
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Very nice Lynn and well said.

Now I'll go back to the three 'L' Words......Learning, Loving and Living....

Regards.G.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:34 AM   #3
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Now I'll go back to the three 'L' Words......Learning, Loving and Living....
Careful, I may remember and use them!!! LOL

Thanks for reading and responding.

Until again,
Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:53 PM   #4
crbateman
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Good stuff, Lynn-san... Where did you find time to write it?
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Where did you find time to write it?
Osu,

Its was written and submitted before I came down to Orlando.

Just finished the next one.

Its the stuff that will disappoint people when they actually meet me in person. LOL

As always, thanks for the conversation and companionship.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:18 AM   #6
JanP
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Modest as always.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:11 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Jan Pop wrote: View Post
Modest as always.
Garden Grove and Fountain Valley?

Have we met?

If we have, do I owe you an apology? LOL

I always tell my wife; "Funny not Nice". (another F word)

IMHO, not modest, just realistic.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:45 PM   #8
niall
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Thanks Lynn. Interesting and thought-provoking as always.

Quote:
A better situation would be if only one of you were afraid. I suggest you choose the other person.
Great point! And would the next stage be to try to help the other person out of the state of fear?

Forgiving other people is intrinsic to many religions. Forgiveness might be important for our own spiritual well-being and perhaps even our physical health. But is forgiving ourselves letting ourselves off a bit too lightly?

You also mention clarity, compassion and courage. All fundamental to budo. Clarity was already one of your c words but it could be a head start for the next alphabet cycle! It's a great concept for your columns.

By the way normally I try to avoid the f word you didn't use but I used it in my blog last week in quotes from Samuel Beckett and Christy Brown…

Niall

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:34 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Forgiving other people is intrinsic to many religions. Forgiveness might be important for our own spiritual well-being and perhaps even our physical health. But is forgiving ourselves letting ourselves off a bit too lightly?
Thanks for adding to the discussion.

For many people, they define forgiveness in the same sense that "its okay". But if it was "okay", there would be nothing to forgive. Therefore, forgiveness implies there was some wrong that needs forgiving.

When we for-give others, its a statement that something was wrong and in our perception to other person did it. Let them own it. Give it back to them.

When we forgive ourselves, its not about letting ourselves off at all, its about acknowledging, accepting, and admitting that we did something wrong. In program they talk about making amends. This means more than just saying we are sorry and then going back to the same patterns that created the wrong to begin with. Its about realizing the ignorance of our thoughts and behaviors and a-mending, healing, or changing them so we do not repeat our mistakes. IMHO, without this fundamental change, there is no grounds for true forgiveness.

Thoughts?

Thanks for readying, responding, and continuing our conversation/discussion.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:59 AM   #10
JanP
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

We did train together a few years back. But of-course, my memory can play tricks on my.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:06 AM   #11
niall
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Thanks for that Lynn.That is very clear. Another c word. I like the way you split up some words into their component parts. It gives a refreshing perspective.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
w b yeats


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Old 03-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Jan Pop wrote: View Post
We did train together a few years back. But of-course, my memory can play tricks on my.
Sorry, I am much better with faces than names.

Did I injure you?

Hope we get a chance to share space and time again.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:16 AM   #13
SeiserL
 
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
I like the way you split up some words into their component parts. It gives a refreshing perspective.
Wish I could take credit for it, but its an old Gestalt reframing trick. But it seems to work, so I keep using it.

I often find to learn something new, I have to let go of some old perspective.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:33 AM   #14
crbateman
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I often find to learn something new, I have to let go of some old perspective.
Kinda like flushing out the hard drive to make space?
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:35 AM   #15
SeiserL
 
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Kinda like flushing out the hard drive to make space?
Yes agreed.

"Flush" would be a good "f" word.

I guess it works on hard drives too. ;-) LOL

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:37 PM   #16
JanP
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Lynn, I am a student of Sensei Phong.However, you never got a chance to injury me. Your aikido skills are same as your writing, very smooth.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:46 PM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: The "F" Words: Fear, Forgiveness, and Freedom

Quote:
Jan Pop wrote: View Post
I am a student of Sensei Phong.
You are very fortunate. Sensei Phong is an excellent teacher.

I will forever be grateful.

Please extend my appreciation, gratitude, and respect.

Perhaps one day we will again share mat space (no injuries).

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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