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by Lynn Seiser

Breathe in, trust
Breathe out, trust

At first, we have to learn to trust our immediate caregivers (parents and teachers) and what they are teaching us. Later, we learn to trust others. Finally, we learn to trust in ourselves. Trust is not the issue because we can always trust people to be who they are. Learning/choosing who to trust is the discipline.
Trust: (1) reliance on somebody/something, (2) position of obligation/confidence/dependency, (3) having hope/faith/belief, (4) care, (5) responsibility that somebody has or that we place in them, (6) holding/managing of another's property, (7) give credit/expectation
When we first enter the dojo, we are asked to trust blindly in the teacher, the style, the school, and the techniques they are teaching us. Even if we have done our research, it is hard to know who is a legitimate teacher and teaching a legitimate style. Just because someone has earned a black belt in something from someone does not mean it is legitimate. What is great about the information/internet era is you can Google anyone/thing and easily gather information. We cannot trust everything on the internet, but it is a good place to start. I know that people say we should just train and not do much reading or questioning, but I have found the opposite to be true. One of the things I like about Buddha is his statement that we should accept nothing on authority (even his) but to question, research, and reflect/contemplate on our own experience. If it seems too good to be true (deadly skills or a black belt in a short period of time), it is probably not true. Since things are not always as they initially appear, sometimes you just have to jump in and find out.

In life, at first we trust blindly in our parents and the care they are giving us. We do not know any better. In early life, we have to trust/join with others to survive. Anyone in our immediate environment will do. There is a great deal of inter-connectedness and inter-dependency in these early years. We learn what we live and mimic what is modeled. Most of these early patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are mutli-generational roles/rules/traditions that are unconsciously transmitted and integrated/identified. While we want to think we are unique mysteries of the universe, but psychologically we are usually just creatures/victims of habits. They say that happiness first comes from accepting (and even appreciating) what is, where we are, and where we come from. We feel helpless and hopeless about changing the past (finishing what is unfinished and gaining closure) because we cannot change the past. While we can argue the idea that karmically we picked our parents and environment to learn some important lessons, most people believe (western society and psychology) that we did not choose anything. When we look deeper (with objectivity and compassion) we can see that our parents/family did the best they could given what they were given and who they were. Fair or not (by our standards/wished), they are the parents and past we got. At first, we do not know better, so we just trust that they are there to take care of us and keep us safe. Later, we learn to trust them for who they are by demonstration, not by talk, promises, or our own wishes/fantasies.
Trust: (1) reliance on somebody/something, (2) position of obligation/confidence/dependency, (3) having hope/faith/belief, (4) care, (5) responsibility that somebody has or that we place in them, (6) holding/managing of another's property, (7) give credit/expectation
Then we learn to trust in others.

In the dojo, we learn to trust our training partners. We lend them our bodies and they lend us theirs to pursue this thing call martial awareness/arts. We can trust that they are there training for their own purpose/reason and that these may be different from our own. While we will each strive for the ideal, we all have personal issues/obstacles to overcome, and will fall short. Perhaps the training teaches is the inter-connectedness of not being alone on the mat or in life.

In life, after we learn to trust our parents, we learn to trust our siblings and our peers. We are socialized by the examples set by our parents but practice these skills in the larger social context of family and school. Often our siblings will be the longest relationship we will ever have. Friends and relationships may come and go, but family is forever. This may be the hardest lesson, to let other see us and to see them.
Trust: (1) reliance on somebody/something, (2) position of obligation/confidence/dependency, (3) having hope/faith/belief, (4) care, (5) responsibility that somebody has or that we place in them, (6) holding/managing of another's property, (7) give credit/expectation
Finally, we learn to trust in ourselves.

In the dojo, eventually we learn to trust the technique and ourselves. If we train long enough and integrate the lessons deep enough, the self disappears, there is only the stimulus and the response. We trust our abilities to observe/orient/decide to the point that action is effortless, automatic, and instantaneous. It would be nice if this ability was normal and natural (and some will appear to make it so). This is usually a progressive sequential journey, not a destination. We learn to trust ourselves more and more in what we already know, but still feel unsure in new learnings. We begin to trust that we can and will learn if we put in the effort. We trust that growth comes from intelligent mindful study, training, and practice. We trust ourselves to handle more and more each time we step inside the dojo, onto the mat, and bow in. So much starts with bowing in.

In our life, before we can trust ourselves, we have to find/figure-out who we are. Since we internalize/identify with others, many of the internal programs for gathering information, evaluating it, and decision-making are not actually our own. They are learned patterns that may need to be unlearned before we can trust ourselves. Many of us have learned that we cannot trust ourselves because these unconscious automatic patterns/processes have led to the same consequences that the people who taught us received. That may not seem like a good thing. We can learn to trust ourselves but not our patterned habitual learned way of thinking, feeling, and acting. We change/unlearn our destructive unproductive patterns and learn new ones that cultivate, facilitate, and perpetuate clarity, compassion, courage, and altruism. We trust in our ability to learn through our own empowered efforts by being flexible/fluid in our concept of self, finding our security in the normal and natural constant and continual everyday opportunities and experiences.

An important question to ask ourselves is do we trust in a safe universe. If we can trust the universe and everything/one in it, we can live love-based. If we believe we cannot trust anything/one (including ourselves), we will live in a fear-based universe without hope. Perhaps life is a bit of both and wisdom/serenity is knowing the difference.

Perhaps the ultimate end is to accept/trust the universe (not teachers, others, or self) that everything is unfolding/becoming as it should and that everything is okay just the way it is.

Breathe in, trust
Breathe out, trust

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 Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation and Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance. 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 a professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He lives with his wife and trains on the Florida Gulf Coast (chasing grandchildren).
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:44 PM   #2
fatebass21's Avatar
Dojo: Westminster Tenshinkai Aikido Dojo
Location: Fountain Valley, CA
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 280
Re: Trust

Great read!

Chris Sawyer
Training day is every day
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:12 PM   #3
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,902
Re: Trust

Chris Sawyer wrote: View Post
Great read!
Thanks Chris,
Good to hear from you again.
How's training?
Until 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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