Letting go of being ‘right’

Just the other day I was wondering – who was it that said “Ask not for an easy life, but for…” ? I couldn’t remember the rest of the quote. The information age has given us a tool to quench this sort of thirst, and I found 3 different origins for this quote (plus one source that quoted it as being from “Unknown”):

  1. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” (Bruce Lee).
  2. “Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men”. (JFK)
  3. “O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.”  Phillip Brooks 1835 – 1893

I was asked about the letting-go-of-being-‘right’ stance or position (gamae) in Verbal Aikido this morning. It may help to look at the information you receive as a stream of energy that leaves a trace on you (or not). If you can do that then you may also see that there can be many sources (i.e. the quotes above) of these streams of information energy. Receiving this information with a Verbal Aikido-style position, you can experiment with a simple Irimi such as “Yep, that’s one of many theories (on the subject)”.

If you insert an adjective before the word “theories”, you will have an impact on the “frame” of the following exchange. For example, adding “interesting” would have a different impact than adjectives such as “fascinating”, “boring”, “radical”, “influential”, “conspiracy” or “well-documented”, etc.

Irimi Nage (pronounced ‘nag-ay’) in Martial Aikido concerns bringing one’s center closer to the other’s center and then projecting the energy of the attack. The use of adjectives with this particular Irimi gives an additional element to the projection, so choose wisely your verbal terrain to prepare or enable an ‘Ai-ki’(See chapter 6).

An exchange might go thus:

A: Who said that: “Ask not for an easy life, but for the means to…”?
B: Ok, first of all it’s not “Ask not”, it’s “Don’t pray”, and secondly it was JFK.
A: […] (Inner Smile) Yes that’s one theory. What was the whole quote?

If you treat all information energy as being receivable by way of theories, interpretations, feelings etc., even if it’s just for that moment of Inner Smile, you are much more stable and comfortable to implement the sort of Irimi demonstrated above.

Delve deeper into Verbal Aikido:
Resources |Training

Letting go of being ‘right’