Essay by Sensei

Thoughts on These Times……..

The times in which we live are both challenging and exciting. They are challenging because old paradigms are breaking down, resources are limited, pressures abound and there rarely seems to be enough time to do the things we need to do, let alone the things we want to do. It can be easy to feel as though we living at the behest of outside forces.

These times are exciting because with the breakdown of old paradigms, (a death if you will) comes the opportunity to birth ourselves anew. We are being asked to come up with new and innovative ways to live, love, grow, create, relate, support ourselves and others and to be fully responsible for the choices we make each day.

The excitement is based on the manifestation of our creative potential. It is a time in which we can (and should) leave the realms of powerlessness and victimization and enter into the realms of empowerment, personal responsibility and conscious choice. We have the ability to choose where we put our attention, to choose how we feel, to choose how we perceive the events in our lives and to choose how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. We get to choose how we resolve conflicts in our lives, choose whether or not we are choosing or simply allowing life to happen to us and perhaps most importantly, we get to choose daily, even moment to moment, what kind of consciousness we are contributing to the world.

Many would admit that the world is out of balance. The reason for this is because most people are out of balance. Many spiritual teachers realize this and there is a collective acknowledgement that in order to bring the world back into balance or harmony, we must bring ourselves into balance and strive to live harmonious lives.

In part, this means that we must stop fighting. Stop fighting ourselves, each other, our own lives and the myriad of wars in which we so easily engage. The way to make the world a more peaceful place is to become peaceful in our own hearts and minds. The founder of Aikido said: “eliminate the discord within oneself and help make the world one family”. Doing this enables us to contribute a harmonious and peaceful consciousness to the world in which we live.

Learning to be peaceful internally and in our relationship with life is what we practice at Kuma Kai Aikido. Experiencing this peacefulness within the construct of a martial art means inhabiting our center in a world of paradox. Aikido is a profound Art. At its essence is the opportunity to explore, experience and evolve all the ways in which we respond to life. It is an opportunity to explore one’s own nature in response to the pressure of an attack (real or imagined). We get to work with ourselves and evolve ourselves within the psychological spectrum that runs between fear and aggression. It is a psychological study, a spiritual path for healing and effective form of self-defense.

All of this is done within the constructive mirror of relationship. Aikido training is done with a partner. It is done with a teacher in a group or community setting. It is practiced in the dojo and in daily life. It is rigorous, thrilling, scary and a lot of fun! The movements are simple but not easy to do. Mind, body and spirit are to be united in harmony with self and the attacker. All of which is done while embodying the Aiki principle of “The Loving Protection of All Beings”. To develop within the Art, one must be willing to rigorously examine their responses and reactions to being challenged by incoming flows of energy (life pressures). With the ultimate goal being to be able to stay fully present, flowing, engaged and empowered in this glorious journey called life.

Denise Barry Sensei
March 2014

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