This morning I was playing a simple card game with my 7 year old. We call the game high low, or more commonly called war (for adults). The only rule is that upon the toss, the person who throws the highest card "wins" both cards, and subsequently adds an additional card to their own stockpile for future throws. The game ends when one person is out of cards to throw. But who "wins"? Along the way, my creative child decided to change the rule from whoever ends up with the most cards wins, to whoever loses his cards first wins. This child just wants to win! It's o.k. with me, because, as you may or may not know, this simple game can seemingly last forever! Ah, but the tides turned once more and wouldn't you know, the rule happened to change once more back to the original. Once again, fine with me. The emotional tie to winning, however, showed itself prior to the final rule change. Sadness appeared when the game was nearing it's finale. One may think that I should have not let my child change the rules along the way, and let my child accept the consequences of losing. But, as a result of my Aikido training, I saw a potential teaching and learning experience for myself and my child. You see, it was quite amazing to view the different emotional ups and downs throughout the game that were experienced as a result of the ties to the perception of winning or losing. Winning is good, losing is bad. Both are perceptions with links to emotions. It appears to be an innate drive for survival. Generally, in life, their are many more losses than there are wins, when something tangible is linked to the game. Casinos were made to play on that emotional perception and supports my statement. Nobody wins all the time, and most not even some of the time. The odds are against us.
Getting back to the game with my child, we continued the the near completion of the game and less and less cards were in my hand. Happiness was in the eyes of the holder of the most cards and victory seemed eminent. This is when I had the idea that I would favor the second rule, while my child could chose whichever rule to abide by. This was a sort of compromise that turned a game into just playing, with no matter who technically wins. I could have easily sad the one who loses "wins". It wouldn't matter. When winning and losing were taken out of the equation, by simply stating that no matter the outcome, we both we had fun in the process. So, I hope that taught my child that there will always be times to win and lose, such is life, but in the process and in the moment, their are always different ways to look at, or perceive those moments and that the game is not who wins or loses, it's how you play the game and what you learn as a result. The chips are going to fall where they may, many times out of our control with rules created by those who are out of reach and unknown, handling and managing perceptions during the process is the key to being happy in life. Feel and let go, feel and let go. Lead and follow, take and give. Be open to it all and experience what comes and goes.
So, my Aikido practice has revealed to me that by letting go of my preconceived perceptions or notions of what my uke will do, I am more able to blend with what my is giving or offering me in their energies and movement, especially while practicing randori on the mat. The moment when both or all of us realize that we are out to not hurt on another(we would lose members all the time) and we are there to partake in the give and take, ebb and flow of the moment, and truely learn and experience what Aikido has to offer us, the more satisfying and gratifying Aikido is for me. That is the internal challenge that exists in long term practice. How can I release all of the walls, notions, preconceptions and misconceptions so that I could be free to see what is being offered and in response take care of myself and others.