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Soulful Sundays: Hurricane Eye

"Nonresistance is one of the principles of Aikido. Because there is no resistance, you have won before even starting. People whose minds are evil or who enjoy fighting are defeated without a fight." ~Morihei Ueshiba




The hurricane eye is an area of calm and clear skies amongst the world's fiercest tropical weather systems. Measuring roughly twenty to forty miles in diameter, the eye is a natural phenomenon whose formation still stumps modern meteorologists. They shouldn't exist amongst such high winds, yet they obviously do, and the bigger the eye, the stronger the storm.


The eye is a place where complete surrender meets unparalleled force, as the eye wall contains the strongest clouds of the hurricane.


Sometimes, every day life fells like being stuck in a hurricane. There are too many moving parts, moving too quickly. There are so many demands on our time, attention and resources. How can we be expected to do anything but survive? A counterintuitive answer comes to us from the realm of martial arts--nonresistance.


The arts of Aikido, Judo, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and many others, are built around the principle of attacking and moving in circles. Linear force, while effective in some circumstances, is easily blocked and does not readily yield to external pressure. Circles, on the other hand, provide a method for recycling energy and redirecting it towards our opponents. This is the difference between an oak tree that is rigid and strong in one direction (linear) and a sprig of fresh bamboo that is nimble and maneuverable (circle). One will break in a strong wind. The other will not.


Nonresistance is the ability to go in the direction of an outside force, without letting it throw off our own balance. In Aikido this means staying a the center of the circle--in the hurricane eye, if you will. In life, it means remaining flexible with outside demands. It means letting go of the fights that do not matter and staying centered in the few things that do.


Hard work is an unavoidable part of existence, but resisting that hard work only makes it heavier. When we embrace the things that we must do, then we remain at the center of the circle. We can reach a place of easeful readiness and begin to harness the abundant energy that surrounds us with little disturbance to our own calm. Someone close to us has a tragedy--we can listen and help. Something breaks down in our car or our house--we can calmly get it fixed. We experience setbacks but see them as opportunities to learn instead.


The beauty of thinking in terms of circles is that there is always an way to get back to the center, no matter which part of the circle that we are in. We need only reorient ourselves.

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