For more than ten years I practised Aikido, a Japanese martial art. I was never very competent at it, but it did teach me one thing, and that’s about observing another’s energy.
The Japanese word Ai-ki-do translates broadly as the way of harmonious spirit, with the Ai also meaning Love. I adored the concept, someone goes to attack you, and you simply turn their own energy back on them, no anger, no hurt, just taking the outstretched fist a little further than the attacker is comfortable with, they fall over, you run!
No hate, no anger, just love and compassion.
And the application of the lesson? When you meet with another, in meetings, in relationships, in any way whatever, there is always an energy that the another radiates. Sometimes it is wonderful and warm. Coming home from work, and your children rush to greet you. Going into the corner shop, and the shopkeeper gives you a broad smile of welcome. Meeting an old friend unexpectedly.
And then there is the negative energy that some another can radiate. The glare from another car driver caught in the Monday morning queue into work, the impatience radiated by the shop assistant as you fumble for your change, or the anger from someone in a passionate argument.
And what have I learnt?
That you can learn to see, to recognise, that energy, good or bad.
And when you can do that, then you have a choice. To choose to accept that energy, and radiate it back, good or bad.
Or, especially if the energy is bad, to sidestep it, to remain calm, to choose to allow it to pass you by, to not get caught by it.
Instead to reflect Love, Ai, to know that actually there is no opponent, only the dance.