It has been a choice. I have my reasons for taking time to respond to the violence and turbulence around the world in recent weeks. Racism, nuclear threat, violence in many forms have all significantly raised the level of anxiety and fear around the world.
And the young ones are watching and absorbing how we act in the face of such things.
Reading the thoughts shared by those I follow, and being aware of the messages riding the airwaves, I have been metaphorically sitting, observing, listening, thinking.
I ask myself, “What am I to share that will add to the mosaic being fed into our hearts and minds? What is my response-ability?”
In recent weeks I have been around people teaching and practicing martial arts. In the training grounds, seeing the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student, and watching as these ideas spark into disciplined action has been a beautiful dynamic to behold.
They have reinforced my understanding of Life.
How the World Works
Thought and Feeling lead to Action which produces Results… that lead to Thought and Feeling that lead to New Action and produce New Results… and the spiral continues.
The differentiating factor in each cycle is that of Choice – the Decision made that leads from Thought and Feeling to Action. Choice can be made in a split second, and for many is unconscious. It often runs the well-worn path of choices practiced time and time again.
Martial Arts is about Self-Mastery
Today’s brief discussion with a friend about martial arts led me to say, “Martial Arts is about Self-Mastery.” Whether it is Western or Eastern or Southern or Northern style, the ability to respond to conflict entails preparation that engages the mind, the body, and the spirit.
On a day-to-day basis, I suspect people focus mostly on the physical aspects – how to get it right so the result is consistently the same. One could argue that you don’t have to think hard to get the same result once you know how it’s done.
Yet to master physicality, one must master the mind. As Mr. Miyagi showed us, to train the unconscious mind, one must practice and practice the body in order to get under/beyond the mind. Wax on, wax off, block right, block left – It is the same physical action demanded for split second reaction.
Beyond the Mind to Where the Divine Can Flow
How to get beyond the chatter of the mind, the inflexibility of the body, and the gatekeeper Ego?
Eventually, though not always, the focus, discipline and perseverance demand that the old guards give way. It is then that the flow of Spirit can occur.
This is where the Divine is allowed into consciousness (though it is always present in the background, waiting to be engaged) and where there is more synchronicity and ease.
In another conversation, a practitioner of meditation complained how she felt punished by having to meditate for 60 minutes, or 90 minutes. She has been meditating for decades, and had become tied to the structure of the meditation, at the expense of opening to her natural flow.
Well, perhaps I upended years of her practice, but I did not see any point in suffering further.
“Make a different choice,” I suggested. “If your goal is to connect with Source/Higher Being/Light/Universe/God, then open up and allow that connection to occur. Do not be rigid by telling yourself that it takes an hour to get there when in reality you are practiced enough to reach that space in fifteen minutes, or five, or less. Acknowledge where you are in your practice, and move forward from there.”
And suddenly the light poured through.
It Is All A Choice
Once one has mastered the skills of any art – spiritual, creative, healing, martial, etc. – the moment of decision presents the choices one has available. In that moment, based on our knowledge and experience, we choose what to do, how to do it, how far to go. And in that moment, we are exposed, revealed, and self-defined.
I’m reminded that a wise person once said, “Choose your battles.” The world is changing in so many ways, so many arenas, so fast.
How do we act in that space of conflict, that moment of unconscious/conscious choice? It is a telling moment.
Some act in indignation or anger and push back.
Some retreat and stay out of the fray.
Some act with compassion and understanding.
Some wait to see how the situation evolves and watch as others jump in.
Some put more fuel on the fire.
Some stand their ground and hold fast, ready to respond should more force be required, or ready to stand down when the spark has passed.
Some step aside.
In recent weeks it has been hard for many to stand on the sidelines.
Yet isn’t that how change occurs? We reach a point where we are compelled to speak, to make a choice, to change (or not) our response, to push for something (different) we believe in.
And the world shifts.
Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe I’m simply more aware of these things now than when I was focused on Rising to Meet Each Challenge, on Doing, on Succeeding, on Getting What I Want.
I’ve come to understand that each of us is here in this life with our own purpose to fulfill, and our own battles to fight – and we will fight them in whatever way we choose.
The question is, Do we fight them in the way we have Always fought them? Or do we fight them with newfound skills, knowledge, or heart?
The choices we make determine the trajectory of our actions and therefore the results we experience, the results the world experiences. Will we continue the cycle, or move up the spiral? Either way, our young ones will learn.
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