In January 2018 I did a 4-part facebook live series on “Aikido And Teaching.” In this blog post, I am sharing with you the 1st of these 4 video teachings. As I opened this series I decided to speak about a topic that touches everyone walking along the path of Aikido. Namely, “How To Choose An Aikido Teacher”?
The biggest trend in personal development these days is “mindfulness.” The popularity of Mindfulness today is especially interesting because even though it is adopted as a post-modern practice, it has been the core transformative practice of spiritual awakening traditions for millennia. Mindfulness also happens to be the primary awareness training that lies at the heart of Aikido practice. We call it “Zanshin” – the mindfulness of aikido.
How intentional are you about your practice and what do you ultimately hope to gain? Do you even consider your desired outcome? In this “Dharma Bite” with Zen teacher and author Diane Musho Hamilton, we discuss how meditation gradually brings you into a greater sense of simplicity in your life. But part of gaining this simplicity is understanding what it means to have few desires, but have great ones.
Do you see defeat as a good or bad? If you’re like most, defeat is something you would probably rather avoid. In fact, in some cases, the thought of defeat can be so unacceptable that you’d rather not participate. But even though defeat may feel completely undesirable, what are the possible upsides to defeat? What did the mystic poet Rainer Maria Rilke mean when he said: “the purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”
How aware are you of fear? How does fear feel in your body? How about your mind? Is your experience of fear that fear is in you, or that you are in fear? In the below “Dharma Bite” I continue in my series of Dharma Discussions with Integral Facilitator & Zen Sensei Diane Musho Hamilton on this very topic. In this excerpt, we talk about the competency of containing fear with awareness.
What is your relationship to conflict? Is it something you prefer to avoid? Or do you like to lean into a good fight? Recently, Diane Musho Hamilton and I held our 3rd Community Call in our “Dharma & The Evolution Of Conflict” 3-part series. In this call, together with the global sangha, Diane & I dove into this very topic as we explored “Embracing Conflict As Path.”
Confession time: my wife Maya and I are fans of “The Good Fight”, a drama series on the life and times of Chicago lawyers, now in its second season on CBS All Access. This series is a spin-off of the popular series “The Good Wife” that ran for 7 seasons (we were also fans). As an Aikido practitioner and teacher for close to 35 years, you can imagine what a wonderful surprise I had a few weeks ago to find Aikido on The Good Fight.
There are no two ways about it; from time to time, life can be tough. Creating the skill to work with life’s arising challenges is essential. Meditation, for example, is a sort of “superpower” that gradually increases your capacity to hold and be with life’s challenges. It will help you to weather the storm. But you also need to develop competencies to skillfully work with, and discover the inherent potential in difficult moments.
The main focus on this blog is the exploration of what it means to “Walk A Higher Path Of Practice.” All “higher paths” are teachings, practices, or methodologies that progressively lead you, in one way or another, to the awakening of spirit absolute. Aikido, meditation, yoga, and the many other disciplines that come out of the spiritual traditions are all examples of higher path practices towards awakening. All such practices for awakening will progressively lead you forward through a process called “the 3 shifts in awakening.”