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Harmony in ConfrontationShugyo
The severity of the trials we face become transformational if we accept them and direct the energy responsibly. Shugyo is a Japanese term that translates literally as “intensive training” and defined by pushing beyond self-ascribed mental, physical and spiritual limits. It stresses that harmony and peace are found in the forge of self-immolation; that is, in focused, vigorous training and denial of one’s self. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder Aikido, stressed that true power is found in the simplicity of a circle as it implies harmony, eternity, peace and perseverance.

The lesson from Aikido (well, one of many) is that the degree of force generated by others can be redirected or transformed. This is no different than the trials of our lives. Generally speaking, throws follow an arc. Longer arcs have less power and displace less energy. Tighter arcs are far more powerful, though more dangerous and require greater skill to control. Interestingly, the highest form of the art is practiced when the attacker feels little or no pain, perhaps only discomfort. The intent is to understand your surroundings as they are now and will soon be – employing all senses (particularly intuition) – in protecting yourself, but bringing little harm in restoring harmony.

Self Actualization Requires Mental Discipline
The point of my relating this story is that this philosophy can be applied to all facets of life. It’s been many years since sitting seiza in a dojo and I now prefer the running trails of Colorado to the strict training and hard falls upon a cold tatami mat, but the mindset stays with me. Physical exertion fuels the mind and calms the spirit – I believe this still, though harmony through self-actualization requires mental discipline in governing all aspects of one’s life.

Christianity teaches us that, “God scourges those He loves.” As you embrace new beginnings, be thankful for the challenges and the opportunity to grow. Surpassing self-imposed limitations requires that we become tomorrow what we are not today by finding harmony in confrontation – if only with ourselves.


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