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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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April 19, 2011

"True Victory is Self Victory."

O Sensei Ueshiba Morihei

Just the other day, I was chatting with someone about how curious it is that each generation expressed concerns over the next generation, the generation gap, how difficult it is to deal with teenagers, and how delinquent some are. The amusing thing about this conversation was this person was sharing a quote from Aristotle who had the same challenges way back then! Of course, I'm sure our parents shared the same sentiments at times.

Over the years, numerous studies have emerged to explain this or that condition or developmental stage of life. For instance, lately I hear schedules are designed around the sleeping habits and behaviour of teenagers who, research (which I am told is taught at high school) has shown, are unable to go to bed early and may not function well early in the morning. This would then be used by teenagers as reasons and excuses why something is not possible because of what they are going through. Laying blame is so easy.

So meeting deadlines are difficult too. However, tell them they are going on a field trip or need to get up early to queue up for a hard-to-get-tickets sports match or band concert, they are up and out the door ahead of time, just to get in line. I think it is the focus of the motivation that matters, not so much the research. We are either motivated to achieve, or to leave.

The quote often used to inspire goes something like this: the bumble-bee is aerodynamically not engineered for flight. However, no one told the bee, and it flies.

The pursuit of self-mastery is eternal, through each generation and for each individual. The question is how easily do we allow ourselves to be discouraged? Is whining, rationalising, justifying, and getting our way just because it is more convenient and comfortable easier to do than being reasonable, and working out a solution or re-solution? The only determinant really is how far one is willing to go. Conditioning comes to mind. Looking around, the technological successes we use daily are evidence of somebody not giving up.

This week, what is remembered and celebrated by Christians around the world can be taken as a victory over self. Battered, weak from being betrayed, from torture, fatigue, lack of sleep, and loss of blood, it is reported that this person picked himself up three times after collapsing from pain and exhaustion, carrying a heavy wooden burden; made heavier by his injuries and torment - only to be executed in a shameful way. If you strip it of its spiritual significance, this can also be taken as an example of one man's determination against overwhelming and hopeless odds to carry out his purpose to complete his mission; to achieve his objective although crippled, and even though it led him to an ignominious and inevitable end that is commemorated on Good Friday. He could have chosen not to pursue his mission, knowing where it would lead; to choose a safer and more convenient life.

His victory is celebrated on Easter Sunday; a victory over self, and on behalf of the daily struggle we have over all our selves: to show what is possible and that it can be done. How can we compare?

O Sensei said that enlightenment is in the practice. So when there is a barrier to progress, or seeming opposition, do we persevere or give in? Sadly, very often we are our own worst enemy.

So, in this Easter season, I wish you all the strength, determination, perseverance, courage, and discipline to achieve your goals, no matter what they are, and to never be discouraged.

Have a most blessed and meaningful Easter!

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.

(© Copyright April 2011: Rafael Oei)

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