Welcome to meditation Monday! Modern science has proven that mindfulness and meditation bring countless benefits to your life. These include greater emotional & psychological well-being, physical health, mental performance, and even greater functionality in relationships. But way back in the beginning, when the Buddha first taught meditation in the Satipatthana Sutta, he laid out 7 benefits of meditation. In the text and video below the Ven. Sayadaw Vivekananda shares The Classic Benefits Of Mindfulness.
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.
Aikido is a paradoxical art. Fully grasping Aikido requires you to develop a relatively complex understanding of its technical curriculum, while at the same time having direct access to the universal principles that are the spiritual core of the art. Another way to look at it is, to fully master the art of Aikido you need to “learn Aikido like a pro, create Aikido as an artist.”
The late Austrian psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl famously said “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Not only is this brilliant quote profoundly true, but it is also a very powerful description of how mindfulness actually works. I invite you to join me in the below Facebook Live replay as I unpack the profound meaning of the “Mindfulness Between Stimulus & Response”.
In one way or another, we are all teachers, and we are all students. Surely from time to time, you find yourself helping another, or getting another’s help in understanding something new. At the very least it is safe to say that we are all learners. It is in this spirit that I’m sharing my latest post on 3 Ways To Be A Better Aikido Teacher (And Student!).
Are you a narcissist? Or have you overcome your narcissist tendencies with meditation? Well, if you were raised in our highly individualized western culture, then there’s a good chance that at least a little narcissism drives your life. Your professional life, your personal life, and perhaps even your spiritual life. This is the topic I dive into in the “Dharma Bite” I had with Aikido Sensei, meditation teacher, and psychiatrist Dr. Dominique Cassidy about “Meditation, Narcissism, & The “I.“
What is the difference between the “relative” and the “absolute”? And how do these 2 perspectives relate to Aikido? Recently I held another “Aiki-Discussion” in the Integral Dojo Community Call series on this very topic. In this call, I was joined by Dan Messisco Sensei and members from our global sangha, as we explored “Aikido & The Absolute Perspective.”
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.