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Ueshiba Aikido e-Reflections
ISSN 1712-2341
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November 09, 2012

"Fiddling with this and that technique is of no avail.
Simply act decisively without reserve."

Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei

The quote refers to how looking for that "perfect" technique is not as beneficial as decisively executing what is needed in an appropriate response without hesitation when you have to. Being confident and convicted with choices and decisions, I was reminded of a discussion the other day about commitment and life-paths (and how people dig up past hurts to replay repeatedly to fault find and blame, while rallying people to support their "cause") I shared a little Zen story that I sometimes share with my students because it is such a powerful reminder.

The story is: a monk and his disciple were walking together, engaged in deep spiritual discussion, when they came across a beautiful young lady weeping by a raging stream. Approaching to see what the matter was, she turned to the monk and begged for help to get across because she was unable to swim and there were no bridges in sight. To the amazement of his disciple, who himself had taken a vow of celibacy in a life of prayer and fasting from human distractions and pleasures, the monk agreed to help, lifted her on his shoulders and carried her across the raging stream. After leaving the grateful woman on the other side of the stream, the monk continued his spiritual discourse as if nothing had happened. After a mile or so down the path, the disciple finally could not contain himself and interrupted the monk; questioning him for even entertaining the thought of touching and carrying the lady on his shoulders. Surprised by his disciple's reaction the monk replied: "I put that young lady down back at the stream a mile away, and you are still carrying her?!?"

Of course today, there would be so many questions raised about propriety, liable etc... however, the story highlights how things are carried in our minds and hearts beyond what is necessary. How long do we hold a grudge or displeasure, for example, after being cut off by another driver on the road, or a perceived mistake that was made that we continually punish ourselves about? If not addressed, these sometimes manifest themselves as recurring or chronic ailments. Like the monk, how comfortable and convicted are we with ourselves, in what we believe and stand for while responding to and addressing what is necessary at that moment - secure and detached enough to release the outcome to move on?

As we practised our sword cuts with bokkens a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded to share with the class that the word "decide" is from a Latin word that means "to cut off". An excellent reminder to me that a commitment requires a decision, and to decide also requires commitment and the conviction to follow the commitment through to its completion. Once cut, a thing cannot be un-cut. Fiddling with this or that implies uncertainty and a lack of conviction, possibly resulting in incomplete resolutions and unfulfilled commitments. Can you imagine performing a sword cut half-way? The sword would either be stuck in the object or person being cut; or the person would be in great pain with a dangling appendage. Imagine soldiers hesitating as soon as the order to charge up a hill is given...

Is there something being carried that is preventing a fulfilling life at this moment, or was it left back at the raging stream? Focus on being here now. Decide to move on, to forgive, to celebrate and live life fully with those around you, now.

Have a meaningful Remembrance Day Weekend.

See you in the Dojo.

In peace and harmony,
Rafael Oei Sensei.

(© Copyright November 2012: Rafael Oei)

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