Ai-ki-do(g) the Way of unifying with life energy or any other growling entity
(Mike McCarthy)

“There are indeed (who might say Nay) gloomy & hypochondriac minds,
inhabitants of diseased bodies, disgusted with the present, & despairing of
the future; always counting that the worst will happen, because it may
happen. To these I say, How much pain have cost us the evils which have
never happened!”—Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, Apr. 8, 1816
After years of participating in martial arts, vulnerability as a practical
physical function has become second nature. It's easy to surrender to an
aggressive force by flowing with the action until your opponent's aggressive
move has carried them beyond their ability to maintain stability and
balance, allowing you to leverage their own momentum against them. But inner
vulnerability as part and process of an enlightened path is much harder to
achieve because the opponent is self. Our ignorant myopic view of reality,
our misplaced fear of hurt or rejection or failure, our selective
pessimistic memory that tends to focus only on the negativity of past
experience, our insatiable desire to control, and our denial of our own
inner potential, all separate us from freedom, freedom from our own self
centered illusion.

As a young boy I walked to elementary school every day, and there was this
large dog that took certain undue and unwanted interest in my wanderings by.
First there were only growls and barking as I hurried by, but somehow the
creature sensed my fear, and the situation escalated over several days. I
tried running and I tried kicking back at the beast, who was set upon
chasing me, but both actions led to tugs at my pant leg and shattered ego as
I desperately tried to remain on my feet and struggled to move beyond his
territorial bounds where he would eventually cease his aggressive pursuit.
My fear only increased as the days went by. I imagined all sorts of
miserable and tragic fates; and, I asked the wrong questions. Why me? What
did I do wrong to deserve this? When will this be over? Can I face another
day? How can I avoid the situation? Should I lie about not feeling well and
stay home?

Then the day came when I was finally liberated from my fears by fear itself.
I had carried the burden for so long that it turned into paralysis. As the
dog raced to once again harass me I was frozen in my footsteps. I couldn't
move; this was the end. I closed my eyes and surrendered to being knocked
down and having my throat ripped out. But seconds went by and nothing
happened. I slowly opened my eyes and there he was, just sitting with head
cocked to the side and ears perked erect. I stuck out my hand and he sniffed
my palm. I remember him relaxing his ears and returning to his haunt on the
front porch of the house. I hadn't fled and I didn't try to harm him; I had
unknowingly communicated a new signal. I wasn't prey on the run, and I
wasn't a threat; I was just another creature passing by.

Fight or flight is part of an ingrained mental state. We have rehearsed
fight or flight so many times in our lives, beginning in our childhood, that
they have become deep ruts in our inner consciousness. But what if we use
the momentum of every situation, good or ill, that comes our way to leverage
our fear of the unknown? What if we simply surrender to vulnerability and in
doing so maintain our inner spiritual balance? Might we find that it is our
self centered and deluded illusion of reality that is the true root of the
distress and suffering in our life?

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