The Lesson of Aikido

I came across this quote in one of my journals today “when you don’t resist, there is no pressure”.

One of my previous posts was on Letting Go.  Today’s is on Letting Through.

Resistance requires so much energy.  No wonder we feel so worn out.  We resist with our mind those things we don’t want to know about or hear about because they challenge our views or opinions or self-concepts.  We resist with our emotions those things we fear are evil or wrong or bad.  From Aikido we learn that if we hold our balance and let the external forces roll by us, we neutralize without resistance.

So how could this look applied to ourselves.  Other people’s opinions, ideas and demands are interesting, look at them to see if there is value to be gleaned and if not. PASS.  There is no need to argue or contend. Acceptance does not equal agreement.  We can accept another’s input without giving away our solid ground.  Now let’s be careful not to reject out of hand.  Let it through, be truly open to take what is of value and let the rest keep moving through. (in yoga we encounter the concept of vinyasa which equates to moving on the breath, sometimes also called moving through).  What about our own thoughts, which so often feel like an onslaught or plague.  It’s my experience that while we may quiet the mind in some small degree, we cannot shut it down, no would we want to.  The skill is to let the thoughts come up and let them move through.  We are not responsible for what thoughts we have, we are responsible for which ones we hold. An important distinction as we let go of resistance and pressure.

The emotions work in much the same way.  When we resist and hold we get into a locked position that creates pressure.  I just have to look at my relationships to see this dynamic at work.  When I feel resentment, I know there is a feeling like anger, hurt, judgement etc that I have been pressing up against.  I am resisting the relationship and feeling the pressure.  Guilt works the same way, it’s just directed at myself instead of others.  I’m not saying that we don’t work through the feelings.  I’m suggesting that there is little chance of doing productive work when we are locked in resistance.  The first step is to get flowing so we are free to deal with whatever comes our way.

Productivity works the same way.  We all feel pressure.  Certainly much is imposed externally through deadlines, expectation of our bosses or clients etc.  My suggestion is to look for the places where we can let the deadlines, expectations and demands flow through, we capture the pertinent data and process it through our organizational system, without resistance, so we can remain agile and flexible to do actual work.  How does my work resistance look?  If I am procrastinating, complaining and out of focus, there is a good chance I am in resistance.  That’s a good time to get back to the processes that have worked for me, empty my inbox, review my goals, commitments, communications and get cleared out so I can move back to a natural state of flexibility and productivity.

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