Hello, today I want to talk about giving up the fight, along with the subtopics of acceptance and surrender. Now, the ego, the sense of “me,” is maintained and strengthened through our constant struggle and conflict with reality. We resist what is, we deny what is. What I’m suggesting today is surrendering, giving up the fight. Now, this isn’t necessarily what you think it might be. Because, you know, when you’re in the martial arts, for example, I had studied Aikido and Tai Chi several years ago. In Aikido, the main teaching was to never go force against force. You never want to be in conflict. You never want to fight force against force. That’s a no-no, to be avoided at all costs.
So, when someone was trying to grab you or if someone was throwing a punch, you would accept the force. You would receive it. These were key words often said during my Aikido classes. When I was taking them, I would hear the words “accept” and “receive” the attack, the energy. Because as something is coming in, instead of fighting it and trying to bounce it away or deflect or fight against it, as a force is coming in, you would accept it. And with the acceptance, you could guide it and lead it. That’s how great Aikido masters can fairly effortlessly throw people. They don’t fight the force that’s coming in. They accept and receive it, and then work with it. You can lead it in different directions. You can even lead it back on itself and throw somebody.
Now, Tai Chi was very similar because we would do what was called “pushing hands.” So, you would have your arm out and you’d go cross arm to arm, for example, and you’d try to push the other person’s center. If you resisted the push, if someone pushed and you resisted, it gave them a way to push your center of mass and throw you. You very quickly learn you can’t resist. Resisting conflict is the wrong thing to do because as soon as you do, you’re thrown. You have to yield. You have to accept the force and turn slightly. And as you do this, in Tai Chi, they’ll talk about it as if it’s a wheel. If you hit dead on the wheel, it pushes the entire wheel and the axis off to the side. But if you hit off-center from the wheel, it turns the wheel. And the wheel won’t move. In this way, you accept the force and turn slightly, and turn it away.
I’m using these two examples because it was funny that in these martial arts, you could physically feel the effects. If I resisted and fought the incoming force, I was doomed. It just never worked. The way to keep your center, the way to keep yourself from being thrown, was to yield, to accept, to receive the energy. So, in another story, more of an anecdote, you can have two oars in a rowboat and row quite vigorously against the current, and maybe you can get somewhere given enough time and effort. But it’s a lot of effort. Or, you can use one or two oars, steer effortlessly downstream, and then the entire strength of the river becomes yours.
That’s what I’m trying to suggest today. Give up the fight. Give up conflict. It is a change in mentality to say, “I’m not going to fight anymore. Whatever happens, as it occurs, I accept. I surrender to what it is.” And then I work with it. Like in Aikido, when you accept the force, you can lead it and direct it. You’re working with what is. When you’re trying to collaboratively and cooperatively work with what is, it’s not a conflict. To collaborate, to work cooperatively, is not a conflict. So, when something happens in the world, in reality, in your life, whatever it may be, don’t resist. Don’t make a conflict out of it. Don’t struggle. That means you’re not paying attention to the flow, and you’re not working with reality. You’re not cooperatively and collaboratively working with reality.
So, that’s what I’m suggesting today. Give up conflict. Give up the struggle. Accept, surrender, yield, receive, and cooperate cooperatively and collaboratively work with what is. Thank you very much.