I’m so excited to be co-teaching (with my amazing Aikido sensei) a six week Meditation and Aikido* course in the summer! It will be a great opportunity to practice integration of mind, body and heart.
My Aikido practice has helped me understand better some of the meditation teachings and vice versa. Here are a couple examples.
The sense of feeling centered and grounded – if I remember to do it – I can physically respond in an effective (and more pleasant for my partner) way. If I don’t – usually my Aikido technique is not so effective, definitely less pleasant for my partner and sometimes I even end up down on the floor being taken completely off balance. Sounds so obvious – and yet… I actually get thrown off balance even more in my daily life when I’m not centered and grounded. Meditation can help in bringing back the sense of being aligned and centered.
Another example is a response to a challenging situation – whatever it might be – someone suddenly screaming at you, being accused of wrong-doing, being mistreated or hurt. A typical reaction for a lot of people would be “if I’m pushed I’m going to pushed back”, you did something to hurt or upset me therefore I’m going to give the same (and more!) back to you. Let the fight or war begin!
Aikido and meditation practice however, offer a different way of responding. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction the practice calls for awareness of one’s own and the other person’s position, connection (physical in Aikido and philosophical in meditation), and skillful re-direction of destructive energy. When well executed not only does it look impressive but it can be the most effective way of building a civilized relationship and society.
*Aikido – is a non-violent martial art, developed in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba. The essence of Aikido is not to compete with and destroy others but to unify body, mind and spirit to create a peaceful society. Using powerful circular movements, Aikido techniques embody the principle of non-resistance wherein the defender moves in complete harmony with the attacker, bringing the conflict to a peaceful conclusion for both.