We recently had the chance to join the Evolutionary Aikido Community in one of its main yearly events: the Riviera Seminar, held in Vevey, Switzerland and led by Patrick Cassidy Sensei and Miles Kessler Sensei.
This kind of events gathers people from very different Countries, cultures, styles, habits, offering to all participants a kind of lab in which everyone is involved in an exploring process based on the principles that are transversally underneath everyone experience, both in daily life and in martial arts’ practice. The bright side of globalization, in a certain way.
Diving into the realm of principle could take the wind out of the sails of those people who see in the martial practice something related only to the physical capability to subdue the opponent.
For sure, it requires the same -or even more- courage needed to face an aggressor. Because, while keeping high the level of physical practice through innovative exercises, the participant is asked to deeply investigate his or her capability to acknowledge the limits, to embody the principles, to face fears, to stretch the borders of what can be defined as a “comfort zone”.
The theme of the 2018 seminar was “Non-duality in the midst of conflict”, which meant a lot of things, because everyone of us -not only of the participants- experience every day situations in which duality may arise uncomfortable circumstances in relationships. And, of course, in the relationship with the self.
By recognizing that a relationship may build a “we” that is not just the sum of two separate identities, everyone can experience that it is really possible to evolve, making the relationship fruitful.
Evolving means that there is always room for the question “What’s next?”. We all are equipped with some pre-installed firmware: our basic survival instincts pop up when our system is under a sudden threat. We all experienced that the breach in our “comfort zone” led us to a fight, flight, freeze mode. Maybe we fought, maybe we tried to escape, maybe we stood as a marble statue, trying to ignore the problem.
And the reaction we had in such occasions surely was inspired to a passive attitude or an aggressive mood. Or a passive-aggressive reaction.
That’s what we all are. But, luckily, there is always the chance to ask and see what’s next.
And if I recognize that my polarity in life often brings me to react in a certain domain of the previous states- yet I would like to change… What would be next?
The next step is starting to seriously ask who am I. Who am I in the relationships I’m in. Who am I in the plan I would like to develop. Who am I when my body and my voice and all my physical output act in a way that the inner self ultimately doesn’t approve.
There is always a spot of blue sky, over every kind of clouds. In the same way, there is always something next, that frees us from the weight of our fears. That adds value to our moments by empowering the focus on humble, daily issues we have to deal with.
It is not an addition of other burdens, of other issues in a life in which sometimes we aren’t able to manage those issues we already have…
Rather it is the opening to an infinite source of power. It is recognizing that, beyond the surface, like waves in the ocean, we all are connected to the very same, perfect identity.
Yes, there will always be something that will hurt us, but the pain won’t be the last fighter standing. Suffering will open to a wider understanding and to a newer meaning as well as the many beautiful things we are surrounded by will shine of a newer beauty.
And this kind of thoughts led us to recall John Keats’ poem Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art:
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores
We are moving waters, waves that are in charge of a priestlike task of raising awareness, cleaning our intentions and making our lives shining.