With just the slightest upward movement of her hips and the simultaneous gentle pulling down of my arm, she could have broken it (my arm) in seconds. That was the armbar we were practising last week in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).
From my perspective, lying on the floor with my arm locked, I could feel the intense pressure and the speed and ease with which it could be broken. From her perspective, there's a feeling of barely doing anything at all. Breaking my arm would have been effortless.
This is BJJ. When understood and done properly, rendering someone unconscious with a choke, breaking an arm or tearing an ankle ligament all require minimal effort and exertion. And we know we're doing it properly when we get maximum results with minimum effort.
If you don't have the technique, and especially if you have zero strength (like me), then no amount of effort or exertion is going to produce results. I can try and choke someone all I want, but if my positioning isn't correct, I'm more likely to pass out myself than render my opponent unconscious.
But it's not just BJJ.
All of life is a flow. An endless stream of energy flowing and manifesting in form in infinite ways in our material world. And as part of that flow we either allow ourselves to be taken with it, or we move against it (out of fear that we need to control life in order for it to work), experiencing life as effortless or effortful accordingly.
In BJJ it's an understanding and application of technique that allows for effortless power, as well as a willingness to do the dance moment to moment. In life, it's less about learning a new technique and more about seeing how it all flows perfectly without our mind-based need to worry about, obsess over or control it.
Moving against the flow might look like continuous stress, a feeling of striving, experiencing burnout, high levels of anxiety, a constant feeling that you need to 'figure out' an answer and a sense that no matter how much you do or how much effort you put in, you're not really getting anywhere.
Surrendering to the flow might look like endless experiences of synchronicity, perfect solutions that drop in from nowhere, previously unimaginable opportunities that come your way or brilliantly creative ideas that just "show up".
The tricky part for most of us, it seems, is trust. Whilst we may be able to agree that the river is always flowing and that it's in our interest to flow with rather than against it, somehow the small-minded part of ourselves insists that we have to cling on, make things happen and struggle our way through life.
But lately, as I turn more and more deeply to the way of surrender, my only experience is one of greater power with less effort and the more I see that, the more I trust, and the more I trust, the more it shows up.
When we allow ourselves to surrender to the flow and give up the need to control, we leave ourselves open to experience our infinitely powerful, limitlessly creative nature. But to experience that, we must open our arms wide to life, trust that the river is always flowing downstream and all that we need to do is jump in, surrender to the flow and enjoy the ride.
Experiencing your true, deeply powerful nature is less about effort and more about ease.
Love and courage,