Heart Opening Moments

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True Aikido is Egoless

Payet Sensei 7th Dan Aikido Mugenjuku

Effortless power comes from the dissolution of the ego

“Relax, relax…” Payet Sensei tells me gently as he guides my arms to completely let go.

“No way, then there’s nothing!” my mind never could grasp the act of surrendering. It doesn’t make sense.

“Watch, it is nothing.” He turns around, connects with me, smiles and sinks into his own body. He radiates relaxation. I feel nothing. Yet my body starts to bend as I begin to lose my balance from the top down. Within a second, I am a part of his movement, his energy, and him. Unable to stand up or move, I still feel nothing but vast openness and joy.

It only happened a few days ago during Jacques Payet Sensei’s yearly visit to the U.S. After a weeklong intensive training with him, I feel like a new person – with my arms a little more relaxed and my heart a little more open. The sensation of his energy feels like the base note of a perfect perfume, subtle, vast and lasting. The profoundness within that single moment is remarkable, leaving me raw and exposed while immersed in the pureness of its nectar.

“So this is egolessness,” I finally experienced what I’ve been searching for. The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron speaks of egolessness and no-self as a fact of life but there was no meaning within the words until this chrysalis immersed herself within the purity of True Aikido.

Pema speaks of the psychological egolessness. “Egolessness means that the fixed idea that we have about ourselves as solid and separate from each other is painfully limiting. That we take ourselves so seriously, that we are so absurdly important in our own minds, is a problem. Self-importance is like a prison for us, limiting us to the world of our likes and dislikes. We end up bored to death with ourselves and our world. We end up very dissatisfied. In the most ordinary terms, egolessness is a flexible identity. It manifests as inquisitiveness, as adaptability, as humor, as playfulness. It is our capacity to relax with not knowing, not figuring everything out…” In other words, living in the illusion of separation we become prisoners to our own ego. We become rigid, tense and dissatisfied. Only by allowing ourselves to let go and dissolve our boundaries, we can then relax and experience each moment with a fresh view.

In Aikido, our rigidity in thinking is reflected in our movements. Whenever the mind wants to do something to someone else, the arms tense up and the body loses its centerline – and the technique fails. However, when we change the view from “me doing something to you” to “let’s connect and do it together” the mind naturally accepts the other person, the arms soften, and the body’s more grounded – and the technique flows with zero force. Some of the most effective Aikido partners I’ve seen have been the most humble individuals I know. Their flexible thinking allows them to relax into the unknowing with their core strength perfectly intact. They embody a sense of confidence that is beyond superficiality because they know that the power of their core will never fail them and their strong centerline is made even stronger if they are accepting and adaptable.

A self proclaimed master once told me that Aikido won’t help me live a better life, I beg to differ. Aikido has helped me tremendously in my own psyche as I embrace the we in all situations. As I soften up and sense the feelings of another as my own, I become more compassionate. And that compassion makes me stronger in my own ground. The future is no longer based on competition instead true cooperation. When you suffer, I suffer. When you live in joy, as do I. Aikido has helped me to use my body as a guide to dissolve the illusion of boundaries that have kept us separate by authentically blending our energies together to create unity. In turn we gain astonishing power without force that is gentle, unfailing, and ever-lasting.

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, World Transformation | 3 Comments