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Don't Create What You Don't Want
Don't Create What You Don't Want
by Lynn Seiser
02-17-2009
Don't Create What You Don't Want

Breathe in; be mindful of what you want.
Breathe out; decide the direction and discipline to make it happen.
Don't create what you don't want.

The laws of attraction are very popular right now. While this sounds like new-age media hype, its just old-age wisdom and there is validity to the belief that what we focus on gets manifested in our lives.

I was talking to a good friend the other day. He was worried that his training had hit a plateau and would never get any better. There was no evidence except in his fantasies. He actually has been coming along quite nicely. Because of this thought (fear) he often didn't show up to train. Yes, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fear is like that.

I remember learning how to break boards and bricks (and an occasional person). I was told to look through the target until I just didn't see it anymore. Aim at the floor. Then put my hand there. If I focused on the target, it won and stayed in one piece. My hand didn't. When I focused through the target, it broke with ease.

Extend ki. I remember hearing that when I started Aikido. We were from the old school of talk a little, sweat a lot. I didn't know what that meant. It really didn't make a lot of sense to me. Then as I trained more I found that Ki followed wherever I focused my mind. If I looked right at my training partner, all my energy stopped there and so did my movement. If I focused through him (like the board), I sailed right through.

In applied kinesiology (muscle testing) I used to demonstrate that if you hold a positive, true, or healthy thought in your mind, the body remained strong. If one thinks negatively, false, or unhealthy thoughts, the body will test weak. I recently learned that as a tester I can affect the outcome by what I think too. In communication we say that you cannot not communicate or affect another. The question is, how and in what direction do we want to affect each other?

In a recent seminar I worked with a woman who could not seem to make irimi-nage work. Her movement was fine. When she tried it on me, I asked if she was a nice person. Of course she was. She didn't follow through on her movement. She had no intention of throwing me. She was so focused on me that everything stopped right there in front of me. When I asked to go straight through me as if I wasn't there, down I went.

I remember the first time I heard "don't create what you don't want." I didn't understand, but nodded like I did. The instructor demonstrated that if he tensed up his muscles, so did I. If he relaxed, so did I. If he jerked, I jerked back. If he moved slow and smooth, I just followed. If he pushed, I resisted. If he just reached through me, I followed his subtle suggestion. If he appeared angry, frustrated, or struggling, I would reciprocate. When he focused his eyes though me and let his body follow it, it was an invitation to me to let my body go too. He said, don't create what you don't want, and create what you do.

In program we say that what we resist persists. A client of mine went through her first holiday season clean and sober. She had gotten through most of it before she even realized what she had done. I asked her how she did that. She laughed and asked how she can tell someone that it was easy. She just focused on what she wanted, not what she didn't want anymore. The availability of intoxicants was around her, but because her mind was not attached to it, she didn't notice it.

When you go shopping, do you make a list of everything you don't want and try to resist buying them? If you did, you'd be surprised how easily the cart fills up with what you don't want. It's wiser to make a list of what you do want, and buy that.

In the Dojo, and in life, it is important to know what you want and create that. Don't waste time and energy creating what you don't want and then struggle to overcome it.

Breathe in; be mindful of what you want.
Breathe out; decide the direction and discipline to make it happen.
Don't create what you don't want.

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 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Tenshinkai Aikido under Sensei Dang Thong Phong at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in Southern California. He is the co-author, with Phong Sensei, of Aikido Basics (2003), Advanced Aikido (2006), and Aikido Weapons Techniques (2006) for Tuttle Publishing. 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 and victims of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains at Roswell Budokan.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:31 AM   #2
Nick P.
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Great article, thank you.

"The instructor demonstrated that if he tensed up his muscles, so did I. If he relaxed, so did I. If he jerked, I jerked back. If he moved slow and smooth, I just followed. If he pushed, I resisted. If he just reached through me, I followed his subtle suggestion. If he appeared angry, frustrated, or struggling, I would reciprocate. When he focused his eyes though me and let his body follow it, it was an invitation to me to let my body go too. He said, don't create what you don't want, and create what you do."

I thought this was something only I was noticing, saying and believing; nice to hear I am not alone in this belief.

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Old 02-17-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Great article, Lynn. What a gift for writing you have!

One of my teachers once made the observation/instruction that "the universe does not hear, 'no'. The universe is absolutely literal."

I take this a bit like:If you don't want something, don't mention it. If you are interested in getting something, mention it positively.
For example: A statement like , 'I wish my husband didn't smoke'. would be better phrased as,' I wish for my husband to live an active and healthy lifestyle so we can enjoy our days together in good body,heart and mind." I really liked that!

I was also once impressed by a kinistetic 'trick' that involves tying a string through the hole of a washer (or nut) and holding it between your second finger and your thumb on one hand. While holding your body absolutely still (as much as you can) begin to think of direction;counterclockwise,clockwise,forward,back. As you meditate on that direction in your minds eye the washer will move in that direction. When you shift to another directional thought the washer will adjust and assume that direction. Fun Stuff! Once, when I thought I was thinking one way it turns out I was actually strongly considering another direction at the same time. The washer went the way of the latter. That was cool to notice.

Thanks again!

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:18 PM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Nick Pittson wrote: View Post
I thought this was something only I was noticing, saying and believing; nice to hear I am not alone in this belief.
I too often think I am alone in my thoughts. Okay, sometimes I am. But its also nice to know we are not alone. So much for the existential angst.

If we don't want to be alone, don't create it. Lets create connectedness.

Thanks for your kind comments.

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 02-17-2009, 12:23 PM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I was also once impressed by a kinistetic 'trick'
Agreed, I first did pendulum work in metaphysics. Like muscle testing, it showed me that where and on what I focus my mind makes a difference.

I recently work out with a man who finally commented that to get better he was going to have to believe that the technique works and that he can do it. I just laughed and smiled my agreement.

The unconscious cannot negate. Like the universe, it focuses on whatever we hold in our mind. Let fear go and focus on love.

Thanks for you kind words. Its always nice to know someone is reading.

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 02-23-2009, 07:35 PM   #6
tarik
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
I recently work out with a man who finally commented that to get better he was going to have to believe that the technique works and that he can do it. I just laughed and smiled my agreement.
Having the correct job order is so important in our training. It's like target fixation in motorcycle riding (or shooting for that matter). We tend to head directly into what we're looking at or thinking about, so to avoid unwanted behaviors, we need to focus on the behaviors we want instead of the behaviors we want to eliminate.

Thanks,

Tarik

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:38 AM   #7
Jonathan
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

As I have trained over the last half dozen years or so I have come to appreciate more and more the things you have stated in your article. A few years ago I heard a man, speaking along the same lines as your article, who said, "The me I see is the me I'll be." I've since then used this statement many times in teaching Aikido. As you have pointed out very well, there is a direct and profound connection between one's focus and one's experience.

I look forward to your next essay!

Jon.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:38 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
we need to focus on the behaviors we want instead of the behaviors we want to eliminate.
Yes agreed Tarik. Too often I hear people focus on what they don't want and then wonder why they never get what they do.

I also agree with target acquisition and fixation. Keep your eye on the target.

Thanks for joining the conversation. I always enjoy hearing from you.

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 02-24-2009, 11:41 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
there is a direct and profound connection between one's focus and one's experience.
Jon, thanks for the kind words.

Yes agreed, its such a simple concept yet so hard to communicate. I heard in Aikido that where ever the head goes (the focus) the body will follow. I apply the same to psychology and everyday life.

That's the discipline, to maintain the focus on what I want to experience.

Thanks for joining the conversation.

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 03-09-2009, 05:51 PM   #10
Kevin Love
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Thanks for the article Lynn, and to the rest of you for your astute comments. Indeed, that which we put our attention on will grow.
I also liked the comments that illuminate aikido as an act of co-creation between partners. And we're all partners in this world, aren't we?

Create a good day,

Kevin
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Kevin Love wrote: View Post
And we're all partners in this world, aren't we?
We all win or we all lose. We are in this together.

Thanks for the kind words.

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 03-19-2009, 12:52 PM   #12
David Warden
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Hi Lynn
thanks for another interesting column.
I read 'The Secret' in December 2007 during the dark days of contemplating major back surgery. Whether it is coincidence or the power of positive thinking/visualisation, several events were triggered from that day, that have dramatically changed my life and I am now back on the Tatami at full pace. I have also used the 'what I want' to improve one of my fears of Aikido, falling without too much pain from a Koshi Nage.
However until reading this today, I had not thought of using it to work on my worst technique. Why it is my worst technique, naturally because I believe it to be so. Tonight I will remember these words as I execute an Irimi Nage right through Uke to the target of the floor.
Best Regards
David
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:34 PM   #13
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
David Warden wrote: View Post
Why it is my worst technique, naturally because I believe it to be so.
Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to comment.

Yes agreed. I use this principle in every aspect of my life, both on and off the mat.

Believing doesn't just make it so without practicing. But at least it makes in possible with the right discipline.

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 03-21-2009, 03:40 PM   #14
Susan Dalton
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Lynn,
I really enjoyed this column. Have you read A Stroke of Insight? It's by a neuro-scientist who survived a stroke. I think you'd enjoy the book.
Susan
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:58 PM   #15
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Susan,

Thanks for the recommendation. I have not read or even heard of it. I will put it on my list.

Does it have to do with neuro-plasticity and rehabilitation?

Glad you enjoyed my simple words.

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 03-25-2009, 06:54 AM   #16
Nick P.
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Everyone,

Monday I was stuck with a particular partner (Jim, I am looking at you!) doing ushiro-waza, and realised I was stuck in the mindset of "I cant make this work."

Remembered this article and began looking the other way, towards "I will make this work." and it certainly appeared to work more often.

Thanks again, an excellent reminder.

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Old 03-25-2009, 08:28 AM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Always glad to be of assistance.
Especially if I don't have to be present.

I once heard that a miracle was just a change in perception.

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 03-25-2009, 01:32 PM   #18
Kevin Karr
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Yup,

"Your Focus Determines Your Reality."

And when Aikido techniques become difficult I think:

"Free your mind and the rest will follow."
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:52 AM   #19
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Kevin Karr wrote: View Post
"Your Focus Determines Your Reality."
"Free your mind and the rest will follow."
Good words to live by. Shows how powerful words are to give us instruction, insight, and inspiration.

But eye to eye: I freed my mind once and I will be off probation soon for it. ;-)

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 05-13-2009, 10:09 PM   #20
boyana
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Thank you,this is very real for me,since I made my life,just like that in last 12 months.
I have to decide What I do not want in my life.
By the way,to all of you on the Forum,plus people that know me
in my real life,I became mother of two boys,last year.

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Old 05-14-2009, 10:54 AM   #21
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Congratulations.
I have two boys too.
And three grandsons.

Thank you for your kind word.

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 05-14-2009, 11:59 AM   #22
Anja Lampert
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Hi Lynn!

I just read your article and it really perfectly fit my situation right now. I'm about to finish university and have been in a slight panic for the last days, as I have to pass my final exam in 14 days. So for the last weeks I have been rehearsing, reading, studying like mad and in the meantime doing my fulltime job as well as I could. Well, to put it properly I was really freaking out.
So today I tried to pull myself togehter and start to think that it was like any other exam or test, so why make such a fuss about it. And just then I discovered this article, which helped my to focus and try not to create what I don't want - and then focus just where I wanna be - which is walking out of the room, having tried the best I could do to pass that exam. And it kind of relaxed me to move my thoughts away from the thought of sitting right in there with those three professors asking me all kinds of questions, and instead putting me right where I want to be, just those few moments later, having passed or not...

Just the right thoughs at the right moment for me!
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Old 05-15-2009, 05:22 AM   #23
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Anja Lampert wrote: View Post
Just the right thoughs at the right moment for me!
Thank you for your kind words.

Timing is everything, isn't it?

Yes, must of us focus on what we are trying to move away from (fear, depression, anxiety, failure), which actually directs our energy towards it. This opposition of direction builds stress.

The idea is to move towards what we want, moving through obstacles as if they are not there. Our energy doesn't stop at what we don't want, it continues towards what we do want. Without the antagonistic opposition.

I can relate having to defend a dissertation before a panel or testifying in court as an expert witness. Mental discipline is the trick.

Thanks again, for reading, relating, and responding.

Rei, Domo.

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 05-28-2009, 09:18 AM   #24
Anja Lampert
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

...just wanted to let you know that I passed my exam today and as today finished my study! And honestly, believe it or not, your thoughts really helped my on my way! Thanks so much!
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:59 AM   #25
SeiserL
 
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Re: Don't Create What You Don't Want

Quote:
Anja Lampert wrote: View Post
Thanks so much!
Congratulations.

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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