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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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Jul 23, 2009

"Minding your own business..."

Rafael Oei Sensei

Please excuse my quote. I am not being rude. The reflection is indeed about minding your own self; your own busy-ness. What are you busy with, in your life? Are you busy minding your own behaviour, your own thoughts, your own choices, your own responsibilities, your own learning experiences, improving your own talents and skills... or are you concerned with comparing with and correcting other people's lives?

Here I am back in Singapore with my family. Catching up with the past and the present, listening to updates from family and friends, it is easy to get caught up in the life-stories of others. The challenge is not to get too immersed, while empathising and sympathising with others. Certainly don't get involved in gossip, and stay away from judging or attempting to correct the situation of others from our own limited point of view. It doesn't mean you don't care. We do what we can, though never at the expense of anyone. What is interesting is when there is a lesson, life reflects it in everyone we come into contact with. And so my Sensei also mentioned the same thing in almost all the classes I attended with him.

Healing always takes place from the inside out, not outside in. No one can make you do or choose what you do not wish to. Think about it. There is no such thing as somebody making you do anything. The choice is always in our hands. A person in an abusive relationship often hopes to make a difference by attempting to change the other; however, change must come from within first, to actually endure. Wisdom is knowing when to withdraw, or move on.

It is the same when it comes to Aikido practice. Be concerned about your own progress, your own discipline, and be accountable for what you are responsible for. Self-defence truly begins with the self first. Sickness comes from what goes into our mouths, the same as the measure of a person depends on what comes out of a person's mouth, and a person's actions and behaviour.

Sometimes we can be too overly concerned about making a difference by changing everything around us, forgetting to tend to our own garden first. Perhaps these people keep busy with other people's affairs because they can't stand being alone and quiet within themselves. As the saying goes: "To change the world, change yourself first." Get used to being alone and quiet with yourself, after all, you will have to live with yourself for a very long time.

So, are you "minding your own business (i.e. yourself)", or are you busy distracting yourself by minding someone else's business?

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright July 2009: Rafael Oei)

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