It’s unfortunate, but most of us spend a high percentage of our time suffering from stress. Anxious and frazzled, we become distracted, worried and as a consequence, unproductive. We slog away at a problem or task resenting it, wishing we were elsewhere or simply reminding ourselves how tired or uninterested we might be.
There’s an old fable about a monk and his disciple who were travelling the region begging for food. The young disciple complained about how heavy his bag was. “I can’t go on”, he said. “The bag is too heavy for me to walk any more ” At that point the two were walking through a village. Hearing his discipline’s complaints, the master monk turned and saw a young woman. He ran up to the woman and kissed her. The men in the village were outraged. They grabbed pitchforks and other implements and began to chase the two monks. “Get away from our women”, they screamed. The two had no time to talk and ran for their lives… Finally a safe distance away, exhausted and collapsing on the floor, the master monk smiled at his disciple, “how heavy is your bag?”
When running for his life the young disciple could tap into an exhaustive supply of energy. Concentrating solely on staying alive…focusing on nothing else… the weight of his bag (symbolizing his worries and distractions) simply melted away.
Hap-ki-do means coordination of mind and body… or total concentration… I believe it is very similar to the concept of flow used in sports psychology. When we are in the ‘flow’ we become like the two running for their lives…totally present.
Hapkido and meditation practice teaches us to be present – to concentrate – to stop distracting ourselves from our own lives. In this moment we can handle anything life may throw at us…and the stress naturally melts away.