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.
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.”
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.”
What does it mean to “embody conflict resolution”? In the below “Darma Bite” I continue the series of Dharma Discussions with Integral Facilitator & Zen Sensei Diane Musho Hamilton. In this excerpt from our discussion, we talk about conflict resolution in the field of mediation as compared to Aikido, and how they are in essence the same thing. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this short excerpt on “Embodying Conflict Resolution”.
The early Buddhist term for a teacher is a “Kalyanamitta” – which means a “Noble Friend.” I love this phrase because it reframes the role of the teacher and student, and how this holy relationship impacts your life. In this blog post, I will share with you the advice the Buddha gave in his teaching on the 5 qualities of a “Nobel Friend.” As Aikido is a higher path of practice, I think that these guidelines are especially relevant to Aikido teachers. This is the Buddha’s advice to an Aikido Sensei.