3/24/2020 Anya van Til

The Corona virus crisis is letting us see where we are exactly at this point of our lives and practices.

Are we still having fears and worries? If yes, then this situation is providing us a powerful opportunity to keep practicing to streamline and strengthen our practice and bring it into life.​
​I had a dream the other night. Well, I was lying awake because of my concerns and was getting angry at myself that I couldn’t let them go.

Let them go
Let them go
Let them go

They wouldn’t go.

How? I asked myself.

And then instantly I was imaginarily in the kitchen with a sieve in my hands. I was sieving the worries so to speak. But! They wouldn’t go as they were too big to go through the tiny holes of the sieve.

The contents of the “sieve” is in fact everything, the life itself: worries and fears as well as the things to be thankful for, self-assurance, faith, trust, self love and compassion. It is all there… I just had to let go of the fears and contain the best I had in me. How would I do that?

Now the fears wouldn’t go as they were too big, too present…

They say, everything what you pay attention to grows. 
Thus just by thinking about the fears and worries I let them grow.

What if I start paying attention to love and beauty and start thinking about what I can gain from this crisis. As soon as I do that, I feed the positive thoughts and emotions in my brain and let them grow.

Guess what happens, the fears shrink and fall away through the little holes of the sieve.
The compassion stays. Science proves that our brain can only experience one thing at a time: either negative or positive.

So compassion is always the antidote to fear.

Difficult to find sometimes…especially if the challenge is huge.

But this is exactly the reason why we practice. And in the best scenario we have been practicing beforehand so that we can take whatever life throws at us.

Practice what?
We practice centring and grounding.
In aikido when under attack one has to ground himself to not get lost in fears but stay present, alert and in contact with oneself and with the attacker (read difficult situation in life)

How to practice centring?
Chant a mantra! Mantras are the most powerful tool to quieten the mind and stay present and aware of where your mind is at every moment. Being present means 100% being focused on what you are doing.

Do a moving meditation, where you engage your body movement, your breath and your awareness. The practice of Aikido is of course very potent to me. 

Go for a walk. A silent walk where you are soaking in the surroundings and are aware of every step you take works perfect for me as well.

These are the powerful tools to change your habitual pattern of thoughts and help train alignment of your body, mind and energy. But actually in everything you do, try to practice focusing and staying aware of your thoughts, words and actions. 

What does centring do?
Going back to our center trains the center and the axis, makes it stronger. Apparently, the stronger the axis the more space it can hold. The bigger the space the more it can accommodate. You know the saying: 

“A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes it undrinkable. In a lake it is unnoticed.”

In aikido it becomes very clear that connection is the best protection.
Connection within yourself (not being distracted by the thoughts, being centred) keeps you clear and sharp which is of course the best protection.

Through the connection within yourself you are able to maintain the contact with the attacker/challenge in life. Why is that important? It is important because then you know what exactly is happening and where the attacker/challenge is aiming at. When you know, you can take immediate action, readjust, reposition yourself to prevent the attack/challenge from happening or succeeding. Thus in life you do not stay stuck either but constantly readjust yourself, to make the best out of the changes in the situation.

Therefore the COVID-19 crisis provides us with the great opportunity of practicing centring and connection. Through this practice fears and worries don’t get attention because focus and compassion are being fed and watered. 

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