Blind Spots

One of my biggest blind spots that has continually sabotaged me has been trying to stay and act strong. When in real time, I am mentally exhausted, my emotions are not in my control.

I don’t know whether to call this a personality or character fault. It happens under high pressured scenarios where FFF response hijacks me. Looking back I can see situations where my biggest mistakes were made in freeze or fight back mode. I am trying to think of a situation where flight caused me to make mistakes. If anything, taking a step back or fleeing/ running away, seems a better option when hijacked by the emotional brain i.e., amygdala. There is no shame in surviving, live to fight another day.

As a martial arts practitioner…. what will I choose when hijacked by my emotional brain? Fight, flight or freeze? Definitely not freeze… it’s either fight or flight and the judgement call somewhat comes from experience and practise. Exposure to fighting experiences. Once more there is no shame in surviving to live to fight another day, from a position of strength. A martial arts practitioner is a smart fighter, who knows when and when not to engage in battles. He understands that there maybe losing battles, but the war is won by strategy and plan. Damn… I am starting to sound like Sun Tzu. 😅

I am writing this because I am trying to assess why in different situations, my nature is to fight back but that’s because in real time, I cannot tell that my emotional brain has hijacked me. This happens under high pressured scenarios.

Going forwards what procedures or process can I put in place to avoid this pitfall? Flight is a good option that gives me a chance to step back, cut the loss short. It gives me a chance to step away, however, it will only be effective if I can be aware in real time. The emotional brain can be very tricky and often it is very hard to know what is happening until the damage is done.I have failed to do this over and over again. I have made a lot of mistakes in life, in high pressured scenarios, in high performance activities. I guess the only way to overcome these faults of mine is by sticking to a process. It’s easier said than done in real time. But if I am able to take corrective action especially to something I have been blind for so long. I can avoid pitfalls and sabotaging behaviour. I can minimise it, I can keep it under check.

I also know that it will not happen overnight and that it will take further practise. In pursuit of any craft, deliberate practise with focused attention is what builds the necessary skills. That said, I am glad to at least have gained this knowledge through constantly reviewing my own work, performances and analysing fights.

The reason why I like to compare my behaviour and my responses in martial arts to other high performance activities is because my experience and skills are greater in martial arts than other high performance endeavours and skills I am pursuing. It provides me an opportunity to assess my nature, my learnt behaviours. By nature I am fiesty, I do not like losing, I am competitive. I like to do better each time. I am impatient and act often without thinking. Knowing all my faults, the only thing that can save me from myself is a process- one of deliberate practise with focused attention.

To summarise this to myself and hopefully it helps you too, my biggest blind spot is keep on fighting even when hijacked by the amygdala. Why? Because my character has been shaped over years such that I act strong even when I am not. Here perhaps what I am seeing is the double edged sword that resilience is. However, it is not resilience that keeps me fighting. It is my emotions.

Denied or Denial

Why did I even come up with this name for the blog? This was a couple months back. To be precise I wrote the title of the blog per my drafts on 15th October 2020. What did I want to write then? I can’t really recall lol

But what can I write about this topic now? In this moment, when thinking of these words the first image that comes to mind is that of a judge. A judge listens to both sides of an argument of the party in question and draws conclusion by how well their arguments are presented. The party who may willingly/ unwillingly plead guilty thinks they are denied, hence sometimes they can also be in denial. Perhaps denying the truth or perhaps refuting the lies, maybe denied blessings, hopes and opportunities. Maybe denied hardships and trials that they cannot see unfolding. There is only one True Judge. The True Judge must be just beyond all comprehension. The one that brings all to light. The hidden and manifest, the seen and unseen. What is spoken of and what is kept secret.

Why did I write, “Denied or Denial ” as the title of the blog? Was I thinking about worldly life? Or was I thinking of spirituality? If I were to think from the perspective of spirituality, and the word denied- it is a blessing. Deny what the ego wants. There is a famous saying that comes to mind, a spiritual person is grateful for all the blessings the ones received and the ones denied. The human intellect and wisdom draws on past and present and projects onto the future. However, that wisdom and intellect doesn’t know what lies in the future. The wisdom and intellect of a spiritual person has to put all trust, hope and fear to the higher power. To God!

Denial in regards to spirituality in my thought and little knowledge that I hold embodies the lower ego. The id as classified by Freud. Or perhaps the unconscious mind and the shadow self as classified by Jung. The 2 ideas are powerful and as Jung says, if you don’t make what is unconscious conscious, it will dictate your life and you will call it fate. The id and the lower self is a force within the human mind, body and soul that entraps a person in a cycle of unconscious behaviours.

There is much more I can write on this… on and on but at the same time, I think that because what I know is very little, writing perhaps helps me explore the unknown, writing helps me gain wisdom and insights from the lens and pen I hold. It grants me wisdom the way my mind works and thinks. However, reading and listening is what truly opens the door to ideas, possibilities, different perspectives, different ways of seeing things.

Something that just came to my mind, the water that flows can create a path forwards. Even if it meanders to get there.

Why do I say this? In the context of denied and denial; whether looking at it from the perspective of a judge or the parties in question involved or, looking at it through the lens of spirituality. Staleness is what stunts our growth. Stale water eventually becomes a life source for micro organisms, algae and fungi. A person who does not want to grow and lives in denial- can be likened to that stale water. The mind of the person becomes a source and force for denial. Denial in the context of the idea of judge, and denial in the context of id and the shadow self.

How to win over hate?

So, last night I was rewatching one of my favourite childhood shows. “Samurai Jack”

Long ago…. in a lol everytime I recall samurai Jack, either the intro or the phrase ‘jump good’ pops up in my head. Do you remember the episode when Aku is surprised seeing Jack flying and says, “You can flyyyyyy….” Jack replies, “No, jump good”

Jack really should have gone back in time to his home in that episode. But they cut it off there. I don’t remember what happens after.

Anyway, I was supposed to talk about this other episode. The episode is titled, ‘Jack vs Mad Jack”.

In this episode Jack faces the hate, frustration, anger and rage within him. It takes his mirror image physically through Aku’s magic and battles him. One could say that it is also his ego. When he battles his ego and the evil Jack… everything around is getting burnt and the forest is catching fire. Watching it, I couldn’t help but think of that proverb, the hate within you destroys everything around you. The hate within you consumes you. Jack is also struggling to beat his evil self. He gets hurt fighting the hate and rage until he finally realises that the only way to beat hate, frustration and anger is to let go!

So, this is what Jack does… He lets it go! He calms himself, straightens his hair, ties it in a knot, looks deep within and destroys the hate inside him by letting go. In doing so, the evil Jack vanishes and the magic loses it power.

In today’s polarised world, where a brother picks up arms against his own brother, where 2 people with different opinions can’t hold a thoughtful debate, where riots and protests have become the answer, inequality is on the rise…. the answer is winning over hate.

Be like Samurai Jack, destroy the hate and anger within you and let it go… because if you don’t, it will destroy everything around you. In the process, it will consume you.

Here’s the clip of the episode Jack vs Jack, a powerful lesson from a children’s animation. https://youtu.be/SUhmVfAvdSs

Picture credit: Samurai Jack Wiki