Do-Chu-Sei: Quietude in Turmoil

Calligraphy: "Do-Chu-Sei"

“Do-Chu-Sei”

Remaining calm in the middle of chaos.

Do-Chu-Sei as a concept comes from 3 Japanese characters:

  • Do (動), as in movement,
  • Chu (中), as in inside, center, and;
  • Sei (静), as in silence, calm, stillness, or quietude.

This concept is used in Aikido to describe the state of “being calm while in motion” or,  a state of “quietude in the midst of action”.


From Reactivity to Serenity

Some refer to this phenomenon as “zen in motion”. It is a mental poise expressed through the body’s movement. It is the ability to stay calm, still, and centered. This quality cannot be achieved overnight. It is a result of years and years of dedicated and sincere training. Some of us experience a flash of it every now and then, and lucky are the ones who have mastered maintaining a smooth and calm demeanor in the buffeting winds of uncertainty.

Seishiro Endo Shihan, 8th Dan

Seishiro Endo Shihan, 8th Dan Photo Credit: Portrait Life Photography

In Aikido, we seek to change our behavior from reactivity to serenity and internal fortitude. If you watch the older Aikido practitioners, people who have spent all their lives practicing Aikido, I urge you to look at their faces while they are doing their waza. They are looking but not looking.  They do not seem to be focused on any one thing, yet they know exactly what is going on all the time.  Try looking closely at their expressions, calm yet fully aware, they seem timeless and ageless, giving us glimpses of an enlightened peace.

 


 Taninzugake

It is important to keep the mind empty. One venue where we can gauge how we are doing in developing this concept is during taninzugake (multiple attacker practice). In the physical practice of taninzugake, one must not get caught up in the technique. Spontaneity is the name of the game.

Roberto Martucci Sensei. 6th Dan

Roberto Martucci Sensei. 6th Dan

You cannot say, “When he attacks, I will execute a sharp and elegant hijikime osae. Then after him , I can do a kotegaeshi on that one.” Instead,

You just let the technique come to you.

If you get caught up in the technique, you blunt your perception, delay your capacity to adapt, limit flexibility, and eventually, compromise your timing and your efficiency to deal with the attacks.

This thinking what to do and planning to do when you are already face-to-face with an attack might only take a split second, but it could turn out to be the split second difference between life and death. In the words of O’Sensei:

“Always imagine yourself on the battlefield under the fiercest attack; never forget this crucial element of training.”

Instead of thinking, it is better to open your mind and widen perception. Aikido training nurtures an expansion of awareness. By making the assessment and perception of the situation integral to the practitioner, we seek to make our movement instantaneous.

It is good to be reminded however that in all of this, all actions must be sincerely tempered by love, and not doing techniques out of anger, out of fear, out of insecurity and most especially, not because you are left with no choice. There is always a choice.


 An  Impeccable Foundation in the Basics (Kihon)

We cannot be discussing concepts all the time. Especially for beginners, basic movements, basic forms. Beginners should immerse themselves in the study of these; until the time comes that doing them is second nature.  All techniques in Aikido are based on the basics.  To achieve spontaneity and improve, we need to have a solid foundation to build from. The secrets of Aikido are revealed in the basic forms, if we know what to look for. The more a person trains, the less is left to chance.

Ikkyo. Takeya Tatsumi, 4th Dan. Photo Credit: Aikido Heiseikai Ritto Dojo

Ikkyo. Takeya Tatsumi, 4th Dan. Photo Credit: Aikido Heiseikai Ritto Dojo

We should also train in order to practice what we preach. I can write about all kinds of things here while discussing these concepts, but if in my practice I cannot express them physically, all my talk is worthless lip-service.  Especially in Aikido, I strongly believe that being able to do what you say is the most fundamental proof of understanding. Understanding begins with the basics; and without understanding, you can never improve.

When a person has prepared well for something, he has done everything he can. When it matters, he can rest assured of this fact, and will find it easier to remain calm, let go of doubts and fears, trust his training, and act. In the words of Louis Pasteur:

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.”

 Regular training gives you courage to calmly face the unknown. There is no substitute to practice and  regular training, especially with regard to basic forms.


 Inner Stillness

The only constant is change. The reality is, we have very little control of anything and everything that happens to us. It is wiser, then, to break free from trying to control things and instead, focus on how to skillfully adapt to change. The state of Do-Chu-Sei is not a momentary disposition. This quality is supposed to be part of a person’s character, inside and outside the mats. It is a result of having a spirit that is at peace with nature, at peace with movement, and at peace with change.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. -Desiderata, 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. -Desiderata, 1927

On the mats and in real life, possessing the ability to anchor on a stable center within us is key to achieving this internal calm. We should always be connected with our center, our “Inner Stillness”. This ability to remain centered in the middle of the surrounding disarray is the essence of Do-Chu-Sei, of moving meditiation. It is  the day-to-day expression of inner peace.

 

 

(Please also see: “Zanshin“, “Fudoshin“, and “Mushin“)

Should Aikido be Effective?

Aikido, Kokyu Dosa.

Aikido, Kokyu Dosa.

There have been many questions about the effectiveness of Aikido as a martial art. Human as we are, we find it difficult to reconcile the idea of something so oxymoronic like the stand of Aikido as a martial art that is “non-violent”. I believe that the question of effectiveness can only be answered when we have understood the mechanics and effects of violence and conflict, and in our proficiency to handle them. As with any martial art, when all is said and done, the most basic measure of martial effectiveness depends on the outcome.


TRAINING IN THE DOJO

OSensei3Each Aikidoka has his or her own reasons for doing Aikido. Some would join an Aikido dojo to learn self-defense, while others as a form of exercise to improve their health, and so on. If you ask a thousand Aikidokas about their reasons for training, you will get a thousand different set of answers.

Still, it is important for us to reflect on our reasons for practicing Aikido- what we emphasize in training, what we think of training, and what we would like to get out of training; all these affect our growth in Aikido. Having said this, let us start by asking ourselves the following questions. These are specific to our experiences and goals in practicing the different techniques in the dojo:

Do we seek to learn how to masterfully inflict pain during training?
Do we aspire to make our throws more “powerful”?
Do we train to better dominate our ukes?
Do we think of the best possible angles to dislocate joints?
Have we ever caused injury to someone?

Now as a follow-up, in these instances when we caused pain or injury; or in cases when we banged our ukes’ bodies mercilessly onto the mats:

How did your ukes feel? Were they happy? Were they impressed?
Or were they scared? Vengeful?
Did they like what happened?
How did they respond when you traded places and you took ukemi for them?

I don’t think anyone wants to be slammed to the floor, or have their joints twisted and painfully hyper-extended. Unless you are a masochist, pain is always uncomfortable and undesirable. If our goal in training is to learn techniques that causes harm, or learning how to dominate and injure; I think now may be a good time for us to reflect on what we’ve been doing, and their effects.

Will training to do techniques this way lead us to reconciliation or will they create more conflict? If the latter, is this really a practice of Aikido? Or something else?

In Aikido, it is our aim to transform the initial separation into a celebration of togetherness.

 Let us remember that our goal is to control the aggression of the attacker without injury; and not to escalate the conflict. Our actions reflect our intent. What is your intention in doing Aikido?

“To injure your opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is Aikido.” -Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei

“To injure your opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is Aikido.” -Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei

If we continue to train in order to or while causing harm, we are defeating the purpose of our art. As I said in another article, without understanding the philosophy, we will not be able to fully express Aikido in our movement.


DOING TECHNIQUES

You see, we have to think of the aftereffects- the consequences of our actions. We have to understand that, unless we want to be murderers and kill any and all attackers; there is always the next attack. And the next attack, this retaliation,  can happen anytime- immediately, days, months, or can even take years. This pattern of  attacking and retaliating starts a vicious cycle of “hate that leads to hate that leads to more hate”. Isn’t it more prudent (if we really want to defend ourselves) to not add fuel to the fire as our response to the threat of an attack? In my own training, I am not compromising the effectiveness of my technique in order to uphold the philosophy. Rather,

 I uphold the philosophy in order to increase the effectiveness of my technique.

Doing martially sound techniques is by all means part of our training method. And it is important to emphasize that the effectiveness of Aikido is not limited to its  collection of techniques, and physical steps. Aikido also has its principles and philosophy that should always be expressed together and within the physical movement.

As a matter of fact, it is counterproductive to act from a standpoint of “doing a technique to someone”.  To “do a technique to someone” actually hails from a mindset of separation. In Aikido, we should practice Musubi. Person A is not actually doing a technique to Person B. Instead, Persons A and B are doing the technique together. This is training in moving as one.

In embracing the principles of Aikido, we should be training our techniques with the intention of love. It is important to realize that in the practice and application of the different techniques in conflict situations (actual or as simulated in paired exercises ), all these movements are in fact, physical opportunities for sharing our peace, our goodwill, and our compassion. In our practice of techniques, let us not fight fire with fire, but fire with water.

For some time now, I have made it a habit in my training to sometimes ask my ukes this question after each technique:

“How did that make you feel?”

The tricky thing about Aikido training is that we cannot actually feel the effect of our techniques ourselves. We need feedback in order for us to know what we have to work on. I am very grateful to my ukes, without whom, I would have never improved; because basing from their response and the principles I know, I can adjust my training goals accordingly.


THE LOVING PROTECTION OF ALL THAT EXISTS

avol3

Avalokiteshvara, Chinese: Guanyin, Japanese: Kannon. The Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion and Mercy.

In a fight under the win-lose dynamic, winning and not losing are two different things, and Aikido is very effective in not losing. Actually, Aikido goes beyond this. In doing Aikido, we act to reconstruct the win-lose dynamic itself by reconciling the separation (brought by conflict) through our movements, and transforming it into togetherness (win-win).

From a win-lose to a win-win situation, both parties end up unharmed and at peace. 

Let us remember that there is no other in Aikido; that there is no enemy. What we have are techniques (when done correctly) capable of transforming the harmful intention from an attacker; ultimately bringing both parties together in peaceful understanding. Quoting  O’Sensei:

“The source of Budo is Divine Love- the spirit of loving protection for all that exists.”
「武道の根源は、神の愛—万有愛護の精神—である」

In any martial situation, Aikido’s goal is to transform conflict and purify it, so that there may be peace. This is the practice of Aikido as Misogi, or purification. It is an art that seeks to purify malice and overcome hate through movements coming from a heart of sincere compassion. This compassionate intent can always be felt in the vibrations of our movement. It is never a vain effort. We aim for purification- a change of heart.

This is a very difficult level of mastery to reach, requiring patience, diligence, initiative, and above all, an unwavering curiosity to learn. As Budo, Aikido is truly as ambitious as it is revolutionary. So now to answer the question, should Aikido be effective?

“Yes. Aikido, should be effective. It should be very effective.”


(Please also see: “Aikido: When The Body Moves the Mind“)

 

Balance

balance1

“Balance, the stroke of the wise, the style of the sharp. The way, the groove. Bal-ance: the sole of the feet, the soul of the Universe, takes step after step down the beat to time: da DUM, da DUM. Bal. Ance.” -Mark O’Brien

Such a delicate topic, balance.

A long time ago, I was totally enamoured reading Dungeons and  Dragons books.  There was this series about twin brothers.  One of them was a strong kind of moose-like kind of warrior, and the other was a sickly but powerful magician with hour-glass eyes.  I loved that series, and  felt especially drawn to Raistlin, the magician.  That was his name.

In their world, the gods were always in a power struggle to tip the balance of the world to their advantage, and all the people had a basic orientation: the good, the bad and the neutral.

I was happy reading through this fictional world and enjoyed my literary sojourns into those books.  Balance was just an important part of the story, but in real life, I never really paid much attention to it before Aikido came into my life.  That was x number of years ago.


  • Aikido

In Aikido, we are always conscious of our center of gravity and the seat of our balance so that we can do our techniques effectively.  We practice together and in pair work we find out the point at which we can upset or affect the balance of our partners.  After a while, being aware of our hara and center becomes second nature and  “is just is”.  It’s just there, in yourself, in your mind, in your technique.  How can I explain this any better knowing it’s just there?”

The practice of aikido opened a whole new way of looking at balance, and  I am rereading those books again, as well as revisiting older classical works.  How refreshing it is to come back to old haunts and see them and feel them with fresh eyes, new perspectives!

  • Ancient Wisdom

Ancient philosophers caution us to do things in moderation, to maintain a balance in our lives.  Some of them advise us to balance the pleasures and the sacrifices, the spiritual and the worldly, to consider the one side of an issue alongside with the other.  In old Chinese medical books, there are even cold food  and hot food categories and acupuncture meridian points to activate to restore an unbalanced spleen, or an upset stomach and all that. Diets are advised to be balanced according to our energy and nutritional needs.  To dancers,  athletes, actors and everyday ordinary people:  Balance is a universal prerequisite to living a full and well-lived existence.

stones

“Health is the natural condition. When sickness occurs, it is a sign that Nature has gone off course because of a physical or mental imbalance. The road to health for everyone is through moderation, harmony, and a ‘sound mind in a sound body’.”  -Jostein Gaarder, Sophies World

It is one of the first things we acquire in order to walk, to appreciate  visual art, to blend and adjust flavors in cooking.  For example, if you are a fan of cooking shows, you will see that the host/cook balances the acidic and the salty, sweet flavorings in his dish.   When we eat something, we don’t like it too salty, or too sweet.  Like the baby bear in Goldilocks, we want everything just right, and “just right” is actually the balance we instinctively seek.

What happens when there is imbalance? We get sick. Too much salt and our liver and kidneys get out of whack.  We go to the doctors to set our internal balance right. When we are sick, we try to get well again.

  • The Arts

When we experience extreme joy or extreme sorrow,  when we experience ecstasy and despair, we also seek to right the imbalance.  We cannot stay ecstatic all the time, or depressed all the time.  When we experience a great event, we seek creative outlets to pour  out the excess of the emotions incurred by  that event.  Hence, some great works of literature or of art have been the fruit of the creator’s  life of imbalance.  If I remember right, Van Gogh painted his most memorable pieces  when he was in a deep depression.  Picasso had his periods, too.  His life was tumultuous, and his periods reflected it.  They had to find a way to let it all out.  Unconsciously, we seek to right the balance.   It is the same with composing  photographs.  One has to be keenly aware of the balance of the composition to be able to create a pleasing, or disturbing or moving  image.

  • Drives and the Self

When we act on a desire or a need, shouldn’t  the action also be balanced by our conscience or ethics? When there is an imbalance, confusion  ensues.  Take for example those two girls who stabbed their friend in order to get close to a certain “slenderman”.   Extreme desire without the balance of conscience or ethics results in harming another human being, which  might  also result in extinguishing a life.


I was not aware of the importance of balance in every aspect of life before I studied Aikido.  I took it for granted,  and took balance for movement as separate from balance for art, or from emotion.  There was never a unifying element and connection and they, (dance, movement, art, photography, painting etc.) were just subjects.  Until Aikido.  Now, it feels like a prerequisite in self- awareness to me so that I can relate to the world better.balance2

What is it about this martial art that opens me up to being more sensitive?  More perceptive? More appreciative? Less  reactive, more calm, more patient? Is it particular only to Aikido? Or does this happen to someone practicing in other disciplines as well?  Yoga? Tai Chi? Has the art you have been practicing ultimately thrown open the doors to your inner self-awareness and your relationship with the world around you?  I am curious and happily grateful for this stage of growth.  Infinitely curious, boundlessly grateful,  and thoroughly  happy!

And yes, I have a life aside from Aikido and away from the blog.  I don’t practice on the mats all the time, or think about it all the time.  I have more fluency in maintaining a healthy balance in living a full and happy life.

I still think about Raistlin, the magician with hour-glass eyes, even if he went over to the dark side.  Maintaining his neutrality got in the way of his ambition.  But he sacrificed himself to right the balance in his world.

Delicate, I tell you, this element we call Balance.

 

(Please also see: “Rollercoaster Sensei“)

On Training: Aikido is for Everybody

Tanimoto Sensei Taching in Italy, 2014 Ukes: Alan Pellegrini, Arturo Bassato Photo Credit: Aikido Aishinkan Italy

Tanimoto Sensei teaching in Italy, Ukes: Alan Pellegrini, Arturo Bassato (2014)
Photo Credit: Aikido Aishinkan Italy

 “Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. ~O’Sensei”

Everyone is unique. There are no two people alike. Some people are short, some people are tall, some are skinny, while others are big, some people are muscular, some people are flexible, some people are young, others are old… the list can go on and on.

In Aikido, we cherish each other’s differences and individual uniqueness. If you have ever gone inside an Aikido Dojo, I am almost certain you would see all kinds of people practicing on the mats. People of all ages, people with different builds, men and women, all join in training, and enjoying themselves while learning this art. This is a norm in daily practice, and everyone is welcomed, everyone is taught, and everyone is valued.


 Keiko

In training, we work in pairs to learn. Someone tall and big can be paired with someone short and skinny. Someone old can be paired with a very athletic youth. We train with all kinds of people and this is encouraged in Aikido.  In doing different techniques and exercises with different people, we train how to use our bodies just as they are, in the best way we can.

We train with what we already have and we work to discover more of ourselves.

The young can train like young people, the old can train like old people. Tall people train like tall people. Short people can train like short people. Aikido is using exactly what we have to our advantage. In Aikido, it is even more common to see old people throw young people better and more powerfully! You and I have the potential to be proficient in the art, regardless of our physical qualities. This, of course, depends greatly on the skill of an Aikido teacher to adjust his teaching to the individual needs of his students.


Overcoming Ego

If we are training correctly, we can never be frustrated with one another. This is because Aikido training is in itself, the process of overcoming ourselves. If an Aikidoka truly seeks to train earnestly, he should get rid of bias. As an example, it is counter-productive to presuppose that a tall or big person can do iriminage  better while shihonage comes easy for those who are shorter or smaller. This kind of thinking is unfair, premature, and is a perfect example of sour-graping– an alibi to keep us from trying harder:

Have you been in the shoes of the person you are referring to? Maybe that person spent countless years training those skills, tirelessly adding little tweaks here and there to maximize the efficiency and ease of his movements?

Lotus

Training to improve our attitude is as important as training to improve our skills.

The other’s training is not your problem, it is your Sensei’s. Training should be done without comparing and competing with others. Instead, the Aikidoka should seek to constantly improve himself when training with different people.


The Best Me I Can Be

Training in Aikido according to the words of the founder is to continuously “tighten the slack, toughen the body and polish the spirit“. It is turning perceived “weaknesses” into strengths.

As with everything in life, we should be wary of being complacent in the course of our training. Complacency devitalizes drive, enfeebles passion and is the bane of creativity.  The basic requirement in training is to never give up. To be complacent is to stop improving. There is always a better way.

Aikido is meant for everybody; and the goal of training is for us to become the best version of ourselves, on and off the mats.

 

(Please also see: “Aikido Beginner’s Guide: 11 Misconceptions About Training in Martial Arts“)

 

Well Wishing

happy4

There in the furthest reaches of your heart
Lie Two wishing wells
And in one of them lies
All your would be’s, could be’s
and should be’s.

Would that you find there also in your heart
That other Well
where you also keep
All your have been’s, have done’s and did’s.

Tend them and make sure
that your Could’ve Beens Well
Is smaller than
your All You Did Well
Every end of day, before you sleep.

Live.

(Please also see: “Only Hope Left“)

I am a Christian and I Choose Not to Judge

I am a Christian and I do not believe it is right to judge others. Throughout most of human history, the world has been a battlefield. Religion plays a big part in motivating people to take arms against another, killing each other in the “name of God”. These wars led to countless deaths and human suffering- children orphaned, women widowed, and homes and countries destroyed. After all the anguish religion has caused, I wonder if this is really what God wanted. In my walk with God, I have come to believe otherwise.


The Christ I Know

I was born into a devout Christian family. Since a very young age, I was raised to be God-fearing. I was an obedient child. I would go with my parents to Church every Sunday. I involved myself in the children’s choir of our church; and we would sing hymns in front of the congregation as worship to God. I joined church camps and tried to live a holy life as I was told. I was baptized when I was 15, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Then I became an adolescent. I was a victim of peer pressure. I began to doubt God. At this point in my life, I began to see what the world has to offer and I was seduced. I began to give in to a hedonistic lifestyle: I began drinking and smoking. I did drugs. I did not go to church anymore. I started living a life of sin and began fornicating with the pleasures of the world. Of course my conservative Christian family was aghast. But I did not care. I enjoyed myself. Pleasures of the flesh are indeed very pleasurable.

After about 5 years of living this life of pleasure-seeking, I was hit by tragedy. I was betrayed by people whom I trusted. I did not know what to do, or who I should run to. My pride “forbade” me to pray. So instead of looking up, I started to act out my hate. Looking back, this was the worst decision I have made. I pushed myself to despair. I was living in a downward spiral. Everything was disgusting. I thought to myself: Love is a lie; I can only trust myself, F*** you. I learned that pleasures did not bring me Joy.

regretI was surrounded by people but I was alone.

One day, I thought of ending it all. I was alone in my room. I was crying because of the deep, lancinating pain of my heart. I call it God’s grace when at that moment, I started to pray. All I said was: “God are you there?”. I do not know why, so I will call it grace as well, but I looked for my Bible and opened it. You see, before all this, I was a hardcore church goer, so my Bible is filled with highlighted verses, complete with notes about scripture. When I opened my Bible, I was drawn to one verse in particular:

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

It felt like heaven opened up and poured mercy and love over me. I broke into tears and started praying out of remorse. I thought to myself: “What have I done?” I started to pour my anger and grief out to God in prayer. That day changed my life. I started praying again. I did not go to church, I just prayed. I was a prayerful non-church goer for a year.

I was steadily allowing myself to be fixed. Then after a little over a year, I went back to church. I was a changed man. This time of my life made me understand the Love of God and the Peace of Christ. This experience made me understand that worship is not in singing the hymns or going to church.

God looks at the heart.

Worship is having a contrite heart before the Lord. It is knowing God, His love, His mercy and His forgiveness; and living a life of gratitude for all that He has done. It is an outpouring of love and thanksgiving from my heart and soul to the Lord who is always good.


Exclusive Christianity

Christianity is indeed exclusive. We believe there is a heaven and a hell; there will come a day that people will be judged by God. Some people think this is a doctrine that discriminates and condemns non-Christians. But I think about it this way: Christians believe in God as the one true God, and that the Bible is His inerrant word. This belief is a statement of faith. What the Bible says is God-breathed, it is the very Word of God. And God is the ultimate truth. And Jesus said in the Bible: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.“(John 14:6)

mahatma-gandhi-quotes-5Now for Christians, those who are not in Christ are not yet in the truth. As I said, it is very exclusive. However this doesn’t mean that those who are not in Christ are incapable of doing good. Just read the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We become each other’s neighbor for as long as we show compassion.

For Christians, we have been tasked by Christ to spread His truth and His love all over the world. There will be people who will not receive Christ and there will be those who will. Exclusivity is GOD valuing free will. God, respecting the will of His created, gave man the freedom to choose to follow Him or not.

ForgivenChristianity as a faith is exclusive, and I also believe that our compassion and love for mankind should be all-inclusive and not borne out of self-righteousness and hypocrisy. In Christianity, I remind myself that we are all sinners before the Lord; that there is no one righteous (see Roman’s Road). I believe in the Jesus who healed the gentile sick, and reached out to the nobodies, the lepers, the outcasts, the prostitutes, and thieves. I believe in the Christ who said:

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

As a Christian, I believe in a final judgment. But I am not the Judge, God is. I will not act as if I am. Instead, I choose to follow Christ’s example.


The Nonviolent Christ and A Love that Endures

God's LoveJesus is the image of reconciliation, non-violence, forgiveness and peace. He preached love and peace wherever he went. He taught us the love of God. He came in love to give love and He came in peace to give peace. I have come to view the cross, the symbol of reconciliation, this way: The vertical line symbolizes the reconciliation of man and God, and the horizontal line is God’s intention that we reconcile with each other. This reminds me of Jesus’ commandment: to love God and love each other.

Above, I said that I did not go to church for over a year and just prayed. Looking back, the reason I did not go to church was because of fear, fear of being judged by other Christians. You see, I know what it feels like to be judged by others. It hurts. Didn’t the Bible say: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged?” (Matt 7:1)

I am a sinner, forgiven by grace. I have experienced the mercy of God first hand, and I have seen how He loves me just as I am. And so instead I will show my Christianity through compassion. God is love and Jesus personified Love. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He never shunned anyone who came to Him. As a Christian, I believe that the way to peace is the way to love. As a Christian, nothing can separate me from the Love of God.

God pours out His love to His people, and from the spring that flows out of His heart, we have access to an endless supply of compassion for everyone. This way, Love endures and never runs out.

God is Love. The way of God is the way of Love.

(Please also see: “8 Tips to Making Peace a Habit“)