Excerpt from In Search of Harmony
A book by Lori A. Parker, GCFP, SEP, Ph.D.
This excerpt is from Chapter 9:
Who's Running the Show?
"Harmony -- integration -- is an ideal that we are either moving toward or away from. In the case of internal harmony -- internal integration then, we could think of it this way. We are either spending time attending to the thought processes found to be taking place within -- that is, involving ourselves in some activity which serves to heighten our awareness of the various aspects of our own mind -- or we are deceiving ourselves into believing that we, as a whole, are making our life choices, when in fact, it is only one aspect of our self that chooses. It is only one aspect of our self that reacts or responds.
This 'one aspect' is more often than not the ego (the master-protector and its entourage) -- the smallest part of our self -- the most limited part of our self -- the part of our self that has only one mode of being, and that is defensive. Even 'grasping,' as Buddha pointed out thousands of years ago, is a defensive strategy -- a protective strategy (even though it may appear offensive). How could it be otherwise when the ego's sole responsibility is to insure that we remain safe, secure -- in short, that we continue to exist?
In order to integrate the self, in order to achieve inner harmony, we must honor the particular mode of being of each aspect of our self. And, we must give each aspect of our self an avenue of expression. But before this can occur, we need to heighten our awareness of these various aspects. Indeed, the first step in restoring wholeness -- the first step in the process of harmonizing anything -- our minds alone -- our bodies alone -- our minds and bodies -- our self with others -- is awareness. In the case of our minds, we must regain conscious awareness of the various aspects of our minds -- even those we have that we have locked away in a dark closet.
This is what often happens when we train in a traditional martial art -- especially Aikido. There are two sayings in the martial arts which seems particularly apropos of training in an authentic and traditional Aikido dojo. The first saying is: 'Everything comes out on the mat.' The second is: 'If you truly want to know yourself, watch yourself in action with another.'"