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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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Mar 31, 2010

"You can either be Bitter about an experience,
or learn from it and be Better.

Fr Lucien Larre, Lenten Mission 2010, Victoria, BC

Describing a challenging experience and how he emerged from it, Father Larre gave an inspiring series of talks during a Lenten Mission this year. When he emphasised that a person can be bitter about what life throws at him, or he can emerge a better person, it occurred to me that the difference between the two words “Bitter” and “Better” is the letter “I”.

When a person is bitter, the focus is always on the “I”, or on “me”. Why me? It’s unfair to me. I am the victim. I am hurt. I am angry. I am offended. The bitterness stemming from an injustice done to “me”.

In difficult, and challenging situations, our ability to respond outward to others in a positive manner is not easy. Our own ability to respond, or “responsibility”, is also overlooked: because it may be easier to re-enact the fault, or re-act, in like manner – hitting back when hit, poking when poked. Rather, the ability to respond consciously creates better events that follow in sequence, creating better consequences.

Perhaps the ultimate response is “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”; a response from someone who was battered, flogged, made to carry his own instrument of execution, and then nailed to it to be left to die. I am not alluding to any religious significance, except its significance to Good Friday, and the example of gracious forgiveness.

Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei meant Aikido to be an art of peace, for peace. During practice, we refine ourselves through discipline and precise responses to attacks that neutralise, prevent, and stop conflict. As O Sensei says: “To overcome others, we must first learn to overcome ourselves.” With this in mind, we reflect on this Easter weekend with peaceful hearts, not to be a bitter person, but a better one.

Happy Easter!

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.
(© Copyright March 2010: Rafael Oei)

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