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mathewjgano
06-18-2009, 11:12 AM
I'm sure this has been explained a million times, but being that this is a forum, a meeting place, more than an archive, I thought I'd ask: No-mind: what is it?

I don't train enough to feel like an expert, but my impression (for the purpose of critical review) is that no-mind denotes a state of mind in which "word"-thinking and emotion approaches 0; the effect being so attention and intention can approach their maximum. Abstract thinking like concepts of morality become almost a complete tangent to the awareness which is geared purely toward acting and sensing.
Some would say this is a purely instinctive level, but I'm guessing it is not because instinct implies a sub-conscious operator, while no-mind as I've assumed it to be implies a conscious operator, but one purely focused on the task at hand. Times when I was in the zone often revolved around math though, so maybe abstract thinking isn't necessarily as removed as I thought...is it (no-mind) the same as being in the middle of now (naka-ima)? Or, what's different between the two?
Ok, babbling aside: what is no-mind; what is naka ima? And what are their implications?
Dozo yoroshiku onegaitaishimasu,
Matthew

Mark Uttech
06-18-2009, 11:55 AM
Onegaishimasu. In my experience, to have or experience 'no mind' is to focus on nothing in particular, to put your mind nowhere, thus taking in the big picture. Scientifically, it is like peripheral vision, only with your thought.

In gassho,

Mark

mathewjgano
06-18-2009, 12:46 PM
Onegaishimasu. In my experience, to have or experience 'no mind' is to focus on nothing in particular, to put your mind nowhere, thus taking in the big picture. Scientifically, it is like peripheral vision, only with your thought.

In gassho,

Mark

Thank you, Mark. That idea of peripheral vision strikes a chord in me. When "no-mind-ing" I'm definately accutely aware of my periphery...that is to say, the central thrust of my attention seems to go there.

ChrisHein
06-18-2009, 06:33 PM
Sounds like you have a pretty good concept of "no-mind". I think no-mind is a term used to describe several different states of awareness.

I don't realize I am in a "no-mind" state until I'm no longer in it. Often times in jiyuwaza or randori I will throw someone in an interesting or unique way, and suddenly the egocentric mind kicks in and says, "wow, I'm pretty good". That is usually the beginning of the end for me, as it becomes difficult to get back into the zone.

Josh Reyer
06-18-2009, 06:48 PM
It's the state of mind you have when walking somewhere. You don't think left, right, left, right, you just walk. You can consciously think about where you are going, you can speed up and slow down, and you can avoid puddles and dog droppings, but that doesn't effect your actual walking ability.

"No mind" is utterly ordinary; there's nothing special about it. The trick is, bringing that utterly ordinary, everyday kind of mind into the stress of combat/keiko.

Shadowfax
06-18-2009, 08:45 PM
The trick is, bringing that utterly ordinary, everyday kind of mind into the stress of combat/keiko.

or to use a real world example.

I work in a restaurant. At peak hours it gets pretty hairy in the kitchen, and when I'm on my part of the line alone I have to go to this state in order to handle all of the orders, time them correctly to the rest of he lines work as well as handle requests from the serving staff coming in and out all without loosing my focus on the things I am working on. I can't stop and look at or think about what comes next. If I do it throws off my whole rhythm.And of spomeone comes into my focus they are likely to take a bit of verbal Ukemi ,backed by a large dose of Ki.

I have to be able to take in a situation and react to it immediately without thought, and have it be correct and sometimes I have to avoid colliding with someone who comes into my space when they don't belong there. In this state I am aware of ,and reacting to, everything going on around me and yet thinking about nothing. Its really quite cool. My perception of time slows way down.

Someday I'll achieve that in the dojo. I have a feeling that when I finally get there I am going to really have fun with Randori.

swalsh
06-19-2009, 12:07 AM
I agree with the comments on "no mind" as a state of environmental awareness, however I also believe it applies to your tactical plans. Although Aikido gives us some basic tactics (taisabaki, irimi/tenkan ans kuzushi), we don't fix on one techinque. We don't fix our mind on "I'm going to do an ikkajonage now". A mental state of "No mind" allows you to respond and react with what ever technique is appropriate and even change technique if uke resists or is not fully unbalanced.

PeterR
06-19-2009, 01:39 AM
In sports its called being in "The Zone"

Charles Hill
06-19-2009, 04:43 AM
Hi Matthew,

I have never heard of "naka ima" as a concept. Can you describe how you learned of this?

Charles

mathewjgano
06-19-2009, 09:07 AM
In sports its called being in "The Zone"

lol! But "no-mind-ing" sounds so much cooler!
...or dumber.:D

mathewjgano
06-19-2009, 09:10 AM
Hi Matthew,

I have never heard of "naka ima" as a concept. Can you describe how you learned of this?

Charles

It's literally "the middle of now." Being fully present in the moment. I'm pretty sure Sensei Barrish has used the phrase before, but I could be wrong.

akiy
06-19-2009, 10:03 AM
As I've posted before, Mihály Csíkszentmihály describes this mental state as a state of "flow":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology))
Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following nine factors as accompanying an experience of flow:
1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.
2. Concentrating and focusing, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
9. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.
-- Jun

Don_Modesto
06-19-2009, 01:58 PM
FWIW, I think Jackson and Csíkszentmihály's Flow in Sport is much more useful than Suzuki Daisetsu or Takuan and Yagyu.

http://www.amazon.com/Flow-Sports-optimal.../dp/0880118768

thisisnotreal
06-19-2009, 02:06 PM
FWIW, I think Jackson and Csíkszentmihály's Flow in Sport is much more useful than Suzuki Daisetsu or Takuan and Yagyu.

http://www.amazon.com/Flow-Sports-optimal.../dp/0880118768

It is worth a lot.
Josh

Charles Hill
06-19-2009, 05:05 PM
It's literally "the middle of now." Being fully present in the moment. I'm pretty sure Sensei Barrish has used the phrase before, but I could be wrong.

I' m thinking you're thinking of "tada ima".

Erick Mead
06-19-2009, 05:39 PM
As I've posted before, Mihály Csíkszentmihály describes this mental state as a state of "flow":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology))

-- Jun Or, .. if, like me, you have ADD, it is the way we just are normally, when nobody is bothering us ... hyperaware, either narrowly or globally, and without much conscious direction of our attention. We have a different problem -- not in finding mushin, no-mind, but finding fudoshin -- immoveable mind. Lack of mushin means you are "outside" the action and thinking about it instead of being wholly within in it without having to think.

ADD people's attention is very fluid. When people bother us, we are forced to lose our natural tendency toward mushin -- and so we need to develop fudoshin so we hold onto our natural manner of awareness. "Normals" conversely, have no problem being perturbed from the task at hand, (and for this reason are often unfairly deemed "boring." ;) ) But because of their rather "viscous" attention, they miss stuff globally that should prompt action, because it is "outside" of their understood task awareness. They need help cutting off that lingering attention. They are related. Normal people have a harder time getting in the door of mushin -- ADD people have a harder time staying inside it.

When people intentionally bother us ADD-types, by demanding attention, they interfere with our normal "within the moment" awareness We HATE that. We have to either consciously ignore them to give attention to what we are doing, which is unnatural -- or ignore something else to give them the attention they are so inconsiderately demanding, which is also unnatural. Did I mention we HATE that? :D

It is, as I say, bothersome ... When I started training, people trying to hit me bothered me, and interfered with my awareness.

The key in martial arts was coming to the point where, having people trying to hit me ... no longer bothers me.
:)

Putting this in mythical terms (hey it's Aikido) -- whether you are easily disturbed from mushin or have difficulty achieving it-- whether of either type -- you also need fudoshin. Fudo Myo-O carries two instruments -- a sword and a rope: the sword cuts off stolid attachments and the rope binds flighty desires. He serves both types ... .

Williamross77
06-19-2009, 06:05 PM
Its Like When You Drop A Glass And You Just Catch It Without Hessitation.

mathewjgano
06-19-2009, 08:44 PM
I' m thinking you're thinking of "tada ima".

Thanks, Charles! I probably just took some of the few kanji i know and did a little "creative" application....the "middle of now" sure sounds cool!

mathewjgano
06-19-2009, 09:35 PM
Thanks, Charles! I probably just took some of the few kanji i know and did a little "creative" application....the "middle of now" sure sounds cool!

Hi Charles, I just did a little research and naka-ima is a Shinto concept according to Encyclopedia Brittanica:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/401992/naka-ima
Unfortuntely the site requires an account so I can't read much more on it. I'll have to ask Sensei Barrish about it tomorrow at keiko.

mathewjgano
06-19-2009, 09:46 PM
As I've posted before, Mihály Csíkszentmihály describes this mental state as a state of "flow":

3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.

-- Jun

Thank you for repeating the reference, Jun! Number three reminds me of the famous idea, "I am the universe." I wonder if it is directly through this "flow" that O Sensei came to this idea.
Thanks again,
Matt

Charles Hill
06-20-2009, 07:43 AM
I'll have to ask Sensei Barrish about it tomorrow at keiko.

Do so, I am very interested. I will check some resources I have as well.

PeterR
06-22-2009, 06:07 AM
Its Like When You Drop A Glass And You Just Catch It Without Hessitation.

Or when you don't drop it in the first place.

Shadowfax
06-22-2009, 07:49 AM
When people intentionally bother us ADD-types, by demanding attention, they interfere with our normal "within the moment" awareness We HATE that

I'm not ADD and I hate that. I get it a lot at work when I get in the zone. I can only imagine it has to be harder for someone who has ADD. Thanks so much for that post. I liked how you explained the differences we might experience and it may help me to help someone on the mat someday.

mathewjgano
06-23-2009, 12:18 PM
Do so, I am very interested. I will check some resources I have as well.

Hi Charles,
Well I didn't make it to keiko (thought my wife might be going into labor), but I did email Sensei Barrish and he was kind enough to share his understanding of naka-ima. Rather than paraphrase, I'll just copy and paste it here:

Naka-ima translates literally as "the middle of now". We can say that Nakaima is the doctrine of "presentness".

"Presentness" implies being fully alive in the current moment—this is a place of amazing power and potential. A place from which all events unfold.

Yamamoto Yukiyasu Guji teaches us about the classical philosophy of Heraclites—who postulated that the present does not really exist. Guji teaches us that the Shinto point of view is opposite--- the present is the only authentic reality. Nakaima means each moment and it's activities are treasures… Guji teaches us that we should not look upon life as a series of peremptory moments, necessary yet irksome stepping stones to the future..but the future as it comes to be.

When we can gather the diverse elements of ourselves from the past and imagined future into the current moment, we enter the ongoing wavefront of creation--- we realize each moment is completely new and will never return, we achieve balance, we have access to all our abilities to act as proxies for Sarutahiko Okami and create order from chaotic situations….. this is the middle of now and the physical, mental and spiritual "stance" of balance is the experience and power of being truly alive as a human being.
Take care,
Matthew

Charles Hill
06-25-2009, 03:57 AM
I (thought my wife might be going into labor),

I certainly hope your wife and baby have a safe delivery. Maybe by now, congratulations are in order?

Thanks for the info from Rev. Barrish. The book, Shinto: The Fountainhead of Japan doesn't say much beyond what you quoted, but talks about the Emperor, who "incarnates the Eternal Now (naka ima), since heaven (Kami) and earth (man) concur in attempting to strengthen his life and body."

Anyway, best to you and yours,

Charles

Peter Goldsbury
06-25-2009, 07:50 AM
Charles, Matthew,

You need to treat Heraclitus with great care. (I spent a semester at Harvard going through his writings. It was one of those classes that only a university like Harvard can offer: a graduate course in Greek, with only three students, meeting twice a week.)

So, with great respect, I suggest that the Rev. Yamamoto Yukiyasu Guji was perhaps mistaken about Heraclitus.

It is the same with the Kojiki or the Nihonshoki, or the Man'yoshu. You look at the 'established' texts and if you do not trust these, you go back to the manuscripts and check the manuscript tradition. In addition, with the Kojiki, you look at what Motoori Norinaga wrote about it, since he more or less established the text that is used nowadays. Then you look at later interpretations, such as those of Onisaburo Deguchi and Morihei Ueshiba.

At least , this is what I would do.

So I myself do not believe that Heraclitus ever held that the present does not exist. What he believed is that things change--and also stay the same--at the same time, like the river.

Best wishes,

PAG

PS. As for nakaima, I suggest that you look at Japanese Google, under '中今神道'.

mathewjgano
06-25-2009, 02:18 PM
Charles, thank you for the kind words! My wife, Cindy, is still in the process of labor after about 24 hours of being checked in. It should be any hour now! I'm amazed at how focused she is!
More later.
Take care all!
Matt

Charles Hill
06-26-2009, 03:45 AM
You need to treat Heraclitus with great care.

Dr. Goldsbury,

I was really hoping you'd post, thank you. I have been reading a book on how we represent time to ourselves and the implications this has in psychological therapy. The book mentioned how the Greeks had a solid grasp of the idea, and this reminded me of this thread. I then looked up Heraclitus on wikipedia and found that I do not have the necessary foundation to understand this. So even more exciting worlds to open up.

Charles

Peter Goldsbury
06-26-2009, 05:23 AM
Charles,

Rather than Wikipedia, I suggest the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The URL is http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heraclitus/

Heraclitus needs to considered in relation to Parmenides of Elea, who appears to have denied the possibility of change.

As for experience or perception of time, try this article, again from the Stanford Encyclopedia: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time-experience/

Best wishes,

PAG

Dr. Goldsbury,

I was really hoping you'd post, thank you. I have been reading a book on how we represent time to ourselves and the implications this has in psychological therapy. The book mentioned how the Greeks had a solid grasp of the idea, and this reminded me of this thread. I then looked up Heraclitus on wikipedia and found that I do not have the necessary foundation to understand this. So even more exciting worlds to open up.

Charles

Erick Mead
06-26-2009, 07:51 AM
I was really hoping you'd post, thank you. I have been reading a book on how we represent time to ourselves and the implications this has in psychological therapy. The book mentioned how the Greeks had a solid grasp of the idea, and this reminded me of this thread. I then looked up Heraclitus on wikipedia and found that I do not have the necessary foundation to understand this. So even more exciting worlds to open up.Heraclitus' main intellectual descendants are in the schools of phenomenology: Whitehead, Husserl, Levinas, Pope John Paul II, and a particularly accessible, if little read, Irish aeronautical pioneer and polymath, J.W. Dunne, who dealt at length with the personal experience of time and the nature of self-identity.

Heraclitus said: "When you have listened, not to me, but to the Logos, it is wise within the same Logos to say: 'One is All'."

Logos is usually given the translation 'Word', but that is incomplete. A 'word' only has meaning as a part of a patterned system, and Logos speaks to the pattern that confers meaning, reason, comprehensibility to a make a system recognizable as a system, wherein the part speaks to the whole and the whole to the parts. It has very strong affinities for the concept of kotodama, as I see it.

Phenomenology means, trivially, "study of phenomena," or more deeply, experiencing reality as a "systematic pattern (logos) of events."

In this sense-- "no mind" (our present topic), is the mind that is within that pattern and not apart from it -- as Heraclitus says, 'within the same Logos, One is All.'

Charles Hill
06-27-2009, 02:47 AM
Rather than Wikipedia, I suggest the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Thank you Professor. I have bookmarked the site and expect to use it a lot.

Charles

Peter Goldsbury
06-27-2009, 09:20 AM
Hello Charles,

I prefer the Stanford University site because I know the people who contribute and update it. The major problem I have with Wikipedia is the anonymity it appears to demand.

If you study the articles in the Stanford University site well, it should give you the tools to respond to Erick's post about the supposed influence of Heraclitus on phenomenology. :)

Best wishes,

PAG

Thank you Professor. I have bookmarked the site and expect to use it a lot.

Charles

Joe Jutsu
06-27-2009, 11:43 PM
"You want it all, but you can't have it!/
What is it? (What is it?)
-Faith No More

(Sorry, couldn't resist)

mathewjgano
06-28-2009, 12:33 AM
Charles, Matthew,

You need to treat Heraclitus with great care. (I spent a semester at Harvard going through his writings. It was one of those classes that only a university like Harvard can offer: a graduate course in Greek, with only three students, meeting twice a week.)

So, with great respect, I suggest that the Rev. Yamamoto Yukiyasu Guji was perhaps mistaken about Heraclitus.

It is the same with the Kojiki or the Nihonshoki, or the Man'yoshu. You look at the 'established' texts and if you do not trust these, you go back to the manuscripts and check the manuscript tradition. In addition, with the Kojiki, you look at what Motoori Norinaga wrote about it, since he more or less established the text that is used nowadays. Then you look at later interpretations, such as those of Onisaburo Deguchi and Morihei Ueshiba.

At least , this is what I would do.

So I myself do not believe that Heraclitus ever held that the present does not exist. What he believed is that things change--and also stay the same--at the same time, like the river.

Best wishes,

PAG

PS. As for nakaima, I suggest that you look at Japanese Google, under '中今神道'.

Thank you, Peter! I certainly couldn't say one way or another. I recalled something vague from my introduction to classics course which seemed to agree with Guji-san, but I always wondered how someone could deny the existance of the present. Then again, some of those old-time Greeks were pretty crazy!
I'll have to figure out how to use kanji on my pc before I can look up nakaima on Japanese Google. Can you recommend any sources that in your opinion would sum the idea up well enough? Or, are there any exceptions you'd take with Sensei Barrish's description?
Thanks again for the clarification w/ re: Heraclitus.
Take care,
Matt
p.s. to all: After a day of labor I'm proud to say I have a son; his name is Benjamin; it was by far the most profound experience of my life...words cannot describe.

oisin bourke
06-28-2009, 08:44 AM
p.s. to all: After a day of labor I'm proud to say I have a son; his name is Benjamin;

Congratulations to you and your family. You'll have a wonderful time the next few years!


it was by far the most profound experience of my life...words cannot describe.

Mushin.:)

Erick Mead
06-28-2009, 09:30 AM
... the supposed influence of Heraclitus on phenomenology. ... What he believed is that things change--and also stay the same--at the same time, like the river. ... Or like Husserl's intention and protention in an enduring sound -- the same yet different -- like a echo, one might even say, perhaps in the mountains. Or in seeing Whitehead's prehension and concrescence on various scales of reflexively involuted occasions -- one might wonder about the native affinity of inchoate ions congealing and binding an essential fluidity into a transient solidity of crystal as they drip from the point of a spear back into the sea.

That's what is nice about myth, (a point, I have no doubt, Morihei Ueshiba well-understood) -- myth is inherently transgressive and subversive -- it dissolves the neater categories of the mind, and yet it also supports and protects, creating new foundational categories to play with, all without necessarily offending the essential substance of the old ones. Or as the Fathers and Doctors have often said, grace fulfills and perfects nature, it does not supplant it.

For my money, there is no more suggestive and visually interesting application of Whitehead's process of prehensions and concresence of occasions and Husserl's intentional and protentional phenomena than Stephen Wolfram's tome on a computational approach to science. One need not agree with his proposed program of investigation, or his underlying assumptions, to appreciate his illustration of the things of wonder that evolve from a very simple matter of repeated arithmetic.

Pattern and flow, eddy and vortex, call and response. No-mind is of this nature.

Charles Hill
06-28-2009, 04:39 PM
After a day of labor I'm proud to say I have a son; his name is Benjamin; it was by far the most profound experience of my life...words cannot describe.

Absolutely wonderful news!

Charles

heathererandolph
06-29-2009, 07:47 AM
I think it is focus and concentration, not being distracted.

judojo
07-03-2009, 08:43 PM
Hi Peter A Goldsbury, I read about " No Mind" so I extract on Theory of " Mushin Mu Gamae" theory of Professor Kenji Tomiki. This is the Zero Applications of Mind and Without Stances. The accurate Taisabaki on exact applications on the Waza with the Kogeki and Atemi. This can only be properly applied by a Yudanshi, because this theory is known to Shodokan Aikido Yudanshi only. But the O' Sensei Murehei Ueshiba teaches to Professor Kenji Tomiki to Kamae and Hanmi. The exact Theory application is on actual situations without proper Mate and Dojo. The Nage must be of preparations on all Kogeki and Atemi. The time preparations of Nage which is the practice on Dojo and theories. I have some note from Shodokan Aikido Association----On 25th November 1972 the 2nd Japan Budo Festival was held in the Japan Budokan. This was an event surely worth a special mention. From the world of aikido, Kisshomaru Ueshiba (2nd head of Aikikai), Gozo Shioda (head of Yoshinkan) and Kenji Tomiki (head of the Japan Aikido Association) were present. It was the first time in history that they had met in the same building. However, the event didn't take its intended course. In Tomiki Shihan's teaching while they were practising randori, all of a sudden they heard the announcement "What is going on now, Aikikai do not acknowledge" repeated several times.

Also, one of the festival committee members, while having invited them there, at the same time denied that the content was aikido. The atmosphere was such that the younger university students who were watching almost surged forward from their seats.

However, Tomiki Sensei didn't mind at all and continued to teach. Anyway, they didn't calm down and as soon as they finished they asked him about this.

Shihan's reply was simply, "The people who understand, understand prefectly. So you don't need to worry." They recall that he thought that was either his presence of mind or his concentration on what he was doing. Twenty years have passed since then and that was the first and last time these three people from the world of aikido had met in the same building. It is said that the spirit of aikido is harmony so he was very disappointed by this. May this note of theory explain some doubt. From; JUDOJO

PeterR
07-06-2009, 12:06 AM
The Shodokan dogma is that all you need to know is taught in the first lesson - or more specifically the theory is known by all who practice. At Shodokan Honbu there is a huge caligraphy seen by all saying Mushin Mugamae.

It may take some time to appreciate and understand the theory but there are no secrets.

The mushin part is the same as no mind - mugamae is the physical manifestation. The best way of interpretting the statement is that one should not guess what the attackers intent is but leave yourself free. Assuming a particular stance, which may be useful in some learning situations, will work against you.

Hi Peter A Goldsbury, I read about " No Mind" so I extract on Theory of " Mushin Mu Gamae" theory of Professor Kenji Tomiki. This is the Zero Applications of Mind and Without Stances. The accurate Taisabaki on exact applications on the Waza with the Kogeki and Atemi. This can only be properly applied by a Yudanshi, because this theory is known to Shodokan Aikido Yudanshi only.

dps
07-06-2009, 12:19 AM
Found on page 2 of this aritlce.( http://www.tricycle.com/web-exclusive/spirit-sport?page=0%2C0)

In Second Wind Bill Russell mentions many of the qualities athletes may experience in the zone: profound joy, acute intuition (which at times feels like precognition), a feeling of effortlessness in the midst of intense exertion, a sense of the action taking place in slow motion, feelings of awe and perfection, increased mastery, and self-transcendence.
Others have highlighted different aspects of zone-type experiences. Besides heightened performance, the quality mentioned most often is probably concentration. British golfer Tony Jacklin says, "When I'm in this state, this cocoon of concentration, I'm living fully in the present, not moving out of it."

Mentioned almost as frequently as concentration by those discussing the zone are calmness and confidence. In his autobiography, My Life and the Beautiful Game, soccer genius Pele recalls a day when he experienced "a strange calmness" unlike anything he had experienced ever before: "It was a type of euphoria; I felt I could run all day without tiring, that I could dribble through any of their team or all of them, that I could almost pass through them physically." Athletes also describe perceptual enhancement as an aspect of the zone. For Michael Jordan, "The rim seems like a big ol' huge bucket." According to the Golden State Warriors' John Starks, "It's like you see something just before it really happens." John Olerud of baseball's New York Mets says, "When things are going well, there seems to be more time to react to a pitch. And it doesn't matter what that pitch is."

Thank you
David

Keith Larman
07-06-2009, 01:34 PM
Charles,

Rather than Wikipedia, I suggest the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The URL is http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heraclitus/

Heraclitus needs to considered in relation to Parmenides of Elea, who appears to have denied the possibility of change.

As for experience or perception of time, try this article, again from the Stanford Encyclopedia: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time-experience/

Best wishes,

PAG

Just as an aside, thank you very much for the links. It has been so many years (decades) since grad school in Philosophy that it never occurred to me to look for a good on-line resource. I did try Wikipedia on various philosophical issues a few times but usually found them lacking. The Stanford site is a great improvement!

Suru
07-06-2009, 09:46 PM
"No-mind" is not "thinking about nothing" because nothing is something. It is the void of cognition. When thoughts enter time and again, let them run their course. Fighting them away is counter-productive.

Drew

Abasan
07-07-2009, 01:37 AM
Have you ever done something without thinking about it and it came out just perfect?

Say parking a car smoothly without really calculating angles and speed and turns etc.
Or said something really funny without thinking of something funny to say at all, and everyone just naturally laughed?

I've had moments... a kid threw a stone right at my eye when I was small, and I blocked it without really thinking of doing it.
I notched an arrow and shot the bulls eye 30feet away without aiming more than a second.
I shot a 1cm thick iron board with a 9mm 25ft away again without aiming more than a second.
And the best part, I just did henka waza without really thinking about it and uke doesn't even know what happened.

No mind is doing it. Without thought.
No mind is achieving the state without thought.
Its eradicating my ego. Of wanting something. Its just doing it because... nothing.

I wish I can achieve this state at will but that is already wanting.
I'm just happy I can keep training. :) Aikido is a wonderful art.

Choku Tsuki
07-07-2009, 09:50 AM
I thought of this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DgQPM6VK3Y) from The Last Samurai. I highly recommend not repeating "no mind" to yourself (as Mr. Cruises character does at :41) if you find yourself in a similar situation in late 19th century Japan.

Suru
07-07-2009, 10:47 AM
Have you ever done something without thinking about it and it came out just perfect?
I notched an arrow and shot the bulls eye 30feet away without aiming more than a second.


I wonder how mind-clearing kyudo is. Just because I rarely hear about it, it doesn't seem that popular in the States. Maybe I'll be able to try it out one day since I enjoy archery and a clear mind.

Drew

mathewjgano
07-07-2009, 01:03 PM
I wonder how mind-clearing kyudo is. Just because I rarely hear about it, it doesn't seem that popular in the States. Maybe I'll be able to try it out one day since I enjoy archery and a clear mind.

Drew

I was able to give it a taste one day and if the yumi weren't so expensive, I would definately have taken it up. I still go through the motions of what I am able to recall and it does have a nice centering feel for me.
Nice painting by the way! Does that process help clear the mind? For me poetry and the other hobbies I have are with mixed results, but I think a lot of that has to do with my approach.

Suru
07-07-2009, 01:24 PM
Nice painting by the way! Does that process help clear the mind? For me poetry and the other hobbies I have are with mixed results, but I think a lot of that has to do with my approach.

Thanks so much, Matthew. In my Fuji-san piece, the part of mixing blues and blending them into a sky cleared my mind, and I felt really free. However, when it came to mixing raw and burnt siennas and dark yellows for the rocks in front of the mountain, I had some, but less freedom. Painting lines on the snow cap was a highly focused effort that I really had to concentrate on. Therefore, different aspects of a painting can take me from close to clarity, to intense focus.

With my most recent painting, the katate-dori "Accomplishment of Courage," brushing the solid green on the lower half was relaxing and mind-clearing, whereas almost every other part of the painting was nerve-racking and demanded my complete concentration.

Like you said, there are "mixed results." With poetry, if I'm just writing a stream-of-consciousness piece, it can be cathartic and promote clarity of mind. On the other hand, if I'm really striving to produce a high-quality poem, it's hard work.

I think that finding a place outdoors, assuming it's not way to hot in the shade in summertime, sitting in lotus or seiza or whatever is comfortable and just engaging in raw meditation is possibly the best.

Drew

Shadowfax
07-07-2009, 09:32 PM
"No-mind" is not "thinking about nothing" because nothing is something. It is the void of cognition. When thoughts enter time and again, let them run their course. Fighting them away is counter-productive.

Was thinking on this tonight. Mushin was interrupted rather rudely and this came to mind when I wanted to get back there. Thanks Drew, you may have helped me with something I had been trying to work out.

Suru
07-08-2009, 11:59 AM
I'm glad that helped, Cherie. The idea of avoiding forced thought suppression I learned from a book, and I'm pretty sure it was George Leonard's materpiece, "The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei." Even if it wasn't from this particular book, Leonard Sensei's work has been an essential, positive influence on me. I'll probably read it again today.

Although mostly indirectly Aikido related, his book "Mastery" is also genius.

Drew

Shadowfax
07-08-2009, 02:55 PM
My friend lent me that book and I really enjoyed it. I'll be needing to pick up a copy of my own so I can read it again. I was only in my first week of Aikido and I know I missed a lot of stuff in there.

Suru
07-08-2009, 09:52 PM
More about painting, Da Vinci's detail in "The Last Supper," is earthy, dull, egg tempera paint before even oil paint was discovered. Assuming he was human ;-), he must have concentrated to the point of numerous stress headaches. But, he must have really believed in this work as he progressed, for without such motivation, it wouldn't exist. Detail painting probably cleared his mind of everything else but the task at hand, and there is something to be said for that. Gestalt psychology has proven that a person can only think about one thing at one time. So, if he had horrible burdens such as, say, a wife leaving him, or anything that had been bringing him down, was out of his mind when he focused on something else. I really know next to nothing about Van Gogh, as I can only recognize "Starry Night" and the "...Cafe..." one. What would precipitate his self-mutilation, I can only speculate. I know he lived with bipolar mood disorder, and severe depression could have led to it. Maybe he also had Borderline Personality Disorder; I just don't know. However, I think it may show that painting per se certainly doesn't automatically offer a Zen mind. I believe the chronic practice of Shodo is probably more productive there when it comes to brush, medium, and surface.

Drew

Shadowfax
07-09-2009, 06:02 AM
Personally I find it very difficult to draw or paint unless I am already in or near that state. If I am agitated or upset the work simply will not flow.

Suru
07-10-2009, 05:35 PM
I don't know how this directly relates to Aikido, but I was just playing my alto saxophone. Playing the few songs that I have completely memorized cleared my mind. This is what I suppose happens with Shodo, once the artist has a pretty solid idea about the forms of Hiragana. It was such a pleasure to play just then. I wasn't reading music, but my fingers knew exactly where to be. All I did was enjoy the music blasting out of the horn, music I was creating without having to think, *okay middle B# then middle E then high C*, and so on. Perhaps it was similar to meditating while chanting memorized kotodama, the vibrating vocal chords being similar to the vibrating woodwind reed. This is just what's going through my mind, but I'm not certain what to make of it.

Drew

mathewjgano
07-11-2009, 12:22 PM
I don't know how this directly relates to Aikido, but I was just playing my alto saxophone. Playing the few songs that I have completely memorized cleared my mind. This is what I suppose happens with Shodo, once the artist has a pretty solid idea about the forms of Hiragana. It was such a pleasure to play just then. I wasn't reading music, but my fingers knew exactly where to be. All I did was enjoy the music blasting out of the horn, music I was creating without having to think, *okay middle B# then middle E then high C*, and so on. Perhaps it was similar to meditating while chanting memorized kotodama, the vibrating vocal chords being similar to the vibrating woodwind reed. This is just what's going through my mind, but I'm not certain what to make of it.

Drew

I've had a similar feeling while playing guitar. I can't play anything very complex, but when I'm in the groove my "mind" simply reflects the music as it happens. There is no word-thinking, simply the awareness and focus on tone and rythm...simple tone and rythm. I need to practice more formally so I can increase my ability at intricacy, to put into the muscle memory so it can flow more naturally. Which reminds me of something that happens even less often where I'm able to make leaps in ability: I am a three-finger player when I'm not using a pick, but in rare moments I've been able to "spontaneously" play with all five. I put spontaneous in quotes because I'm trying to do it, but in a fittingly Aikido-like way somehow, I'm not trying to do it also. I'm simply feeling my fingertips and reaching with my intent ("ki" if you will) to make a cohesive connection. It's still relatively simple, but I've really shocked myself at how "whole-hand" my playing has been at moments...usually followed by a breakdown in focus and I'm back to the chaos that is my usual 5-finger playing.
The "mind" (or no-mind, if you will) is an amazing organizational organism!
Take care!
p.s. nice painting! I really like the concept of the katatetori (I'm assuming, anyway)

Suru
07-11-2009, 05:58 PM
Cool, Matthew, you know just what I was feeling, only with a different instrument. I honestly have no clue how people learn the guitar. I'm not saying I'm even good at the sax, but those strings just a quarter-inch apart, along with the left hand pressing down, must take an incredible amount of practice along with a certain level of natural dexterity. I posted a photo of some materials I used for my paintings, along with a general step-by-step of how I completed it. I just uploaded it, so it may take some time to be approved. Yes, it is katate-dori, my own hand grabbing my own wrist! I appreciate your compliment. I've never tried to sell a painting, but I might somewhere down the line. Really it's the out-of-the-ordinary communication I look for as the intrinsic reward, and verbal praise like yours is extrinsic reward. Both types keep the brush on the canvas!

Drew

asobininryochan
07-12-2009, 07:40 PM
Could Mushin – translated as No Mind in this post – also be interpreted as No Ego?

Suru
07-12-2009, 10:36 PM
Could Mushin -- translated as No Mind in this post -- also be interpreted as No Ego?

Ego, with the meaning of recognition of Self, different from the original Freudian meaning, should disappear at times along with all other thought during meditation. I believe that seasoned "meditators" might be able to keep ego and other thought out for quite some time. Some people, afraid of vulnerability, will never meditate once in their entire lives. Going by the John Stevens translation of an O'Sensei thought and perhaps doka, "[If you haven't linked yourself with true emptiness, you will never understand the Art of Peace [Aikido]."

Drew

Josh Reyer
07-12-2009, 11:39 PM
Could Mushin -- translated as No Mind in this post -- also be interpreted as No Ego?More accurate would be "No Attachment".

Chuck Clark
07-13-2009, 10:57 AM
Can't stop mind, can't empty mind... we can loose attachment...

I suspect we can't recognize when it happens, but those who know can see it in others.

Suru
07-13-2009, 02:24 PM
Not reading this work of King's horror fiction, but becoming engrossed in Kubrick's "The Shining," Clark Sensei's post made me recall some of the movie. Jack Nicholson's young son connects on a somewhat supernatural level with a black man in town. The man explains to the kid that they can both tell when another "shines."

Drew

caelifera
07-15-2009, 06:02 AM
"No mind"

What you are describing almost sounds like muscle memory and habit.

Shadowfax
07-15-2009, 07:10 AM
I suspect we can't recognize when it happens, but those who know can see it in others.

I can usually recognize it after it has ended. I never knew what it was until someone told me they saw it in me.

Erick Mead
07-15-2009, 10:48 PM
"No mind"

What you are describing almost sounds like muscle memory and habit.Nope. The experience is most clearly in play in situations of exceeding novelty intruding on familiar action and commanding one to unexpected and unpredictable action. A good example is running flat out through pathless woods and undergrowth. In other words it is the edge of chaos -- in the mathematical sense

Suru
07-16-2009, 11:09 AM
Here's a meditation metaphor from my book, "The Sands of Erebus," copyright 2006.

" *A painful, neutral, or pleasant thought alike must run its course,* he pondered, *like an incurable virus whose cycle is often vicious, sometimes innocuous, and all-too-seldom beneficial.* Jack found he could achieve a true "no-mind" only on rare occasions, and--after twenty minutes of perpetual thinking--it seemed to him that once again "no-mind" would elude him."

Drew

Joe McParland
07-16-2009, 11:09 AM
Nope. The experience is most clearly in play in situations of exceeding novelty intruding on familiar action and commanding one to unexpected and unpredictable action. A good example is running flat out through pathless woods and undergrowth. In other words it is the edge of chaos -- in the mathematical sense

The core components available to you during such situations that allow you to respond with "unexpected and unpredictable action," however, may be labeled or understood as "muscle memory and habit."

This is not to say that a sequence once initiated must be completed, however---the ordinary interpretation of "habit." For example, forcing ikkyo in order to complete the technique once initiated? Habit---or "attachment." Responding initially in a way that one might call ikkyo ("muscle memory"), but adjusting or switching to who knows what---something spontaneous and appropriate ("takemusu")---when sensing something is off? That's the improved state, unattached to what we put into motion, fluidly adaptable.

Suru
07-16-2009, 12:22 PM
Joe, I enjoy your latest post and I feel "fluidly" as a great adverb choice. About muscle memory and habit, I was a pretty good golfer in high school. I played varsity in 11th and 12th. Around that time, my handicap was a six at my home course. The course was kinda on the easier side, so my true handicap was probably an eight from the back tees of a difficult course. Anyway, when I had my game together, I look back there and realize that I experienced much no-mind. My swing was muscle-memorized, but in a golfer's entire life, the contact of club face on ball totals something like a few seconds. Walking to my ball after hitting a great or good enough shot was often a time filled with peace-of-mind, sometimes mildly blissful or even euphoric. Then during college and after, I've rarely played, and my swing faded out of muscle memory. By now, if I sneak a par and a couple bogeys in a round, it was a good round. When I play golf now I have no fun, no no-mind, and a swing full of kinks. When it gets a bit cooler in this oven called Miami, I may practice hours a day to get my swing back, or find a new one that works well.

Drew

caelifera
07-16-2009, 12:31 PM
The core components available to you during such situations that allow you to respond with "unexpected and unpredictable action," however, may be labeled or understood as "muscle memory and habit."

This is not to say that a sequence once initiated must be completed, however---the ordinary interpretation of "habit." For example, forcing ikkyo in order to complete the technique once initiated? Habit---or "attachment." Responding initially in a way that one might call ikkyo ("muscle memory"), but adjusting or switching to who knows what---something spontaneous and appropriate ("takemusu")---when sensing something is off? That's the improved state, unattached to what we put into motion, fluidly adaptable.

Gotcha.

Keith Larman
07-16-2009, 02:44 PM
Reading through this thread reminds me of a Peanuts strip I've long had up on my bulletin board. Basically Charlie, Linus and Lucy are on a hill looking up at the sky. Linus basically goes on and on about seeing British Honduras, a profile of Thomas Eaking, as well as various biblical references. When asked what he sees, Charlie says:

"Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horse, but I changed my mind." -- Charles Shultz, 1960 (I think -- blurry, tiny type).

I feel like Charlie after having read this thread. :) And I spent 17 years working in Industrial Psych specifically in the area of the measurement of mental performance...

Suru
07-16-2009, 04:26 PM
I feel like Charlie after having read this thread. :) And I spent 17 years working in Industrial Psych specifically in the area of the measurement of mental performance...

Do you know about the I/O case of Duke Power vs. Griggs? (adverse impact/adverse selection)

Keith Larman
07-16-2009, 05:49 PM
Do you know about the I/O case of Duke Power vs. Griggs? (adverse impact/adverse selection)

Yup, a very important case especially if your area was psychometrics. As a matter of fact Duke Power used some employment tests that I helped write and validate (well after that case came about). Given how gun-shy they were about using employment tests after that case I always found it gratifying that they used tests I helped develop and validate.

Keith Larman
07-16-2009, 05:53 PM
And if you're familiar with the case I should also mention they were using one of our aptitude tests in addition to some proficiency tests for employment as well as identifying candidates for promotion/higher level training.

Suru
07-16-2009, 06:18 PM
Cool, when I was in Psychological Testing class in college, one of the short answer / essay questions on an exam was pertaining to that topic, and I got full credit for my response. I knew it well at the time because it interested me. I just wanted to throw that in, even though it's off topic. I would try now to get back on topic but I must be experiencing "no mind."

Drew

Erick Mead
07-16-2009, 08:43 PM
The core components available to you during such situations that allow you to respond with "unexpected and unpredictable action," however, may be labeled or understood as "muscle memory and habit." Ok... it's a ducky. :p More seriously, muscle memory is used in brushing my teeth, or not impaling my face with my fork when I eat, or making sure the beer ends up at my lips and not on my shirt -- and especially the beer part. And while no mind/flow state/ducky- brain may be present in any of those activities (ESPECIALLY the beer part) -- it is not intrinsic to the mere fact that muscle memory is employed in the task or challenge. I have attributed it to pattern-processing at a very high level of instantaneity and spontaneity outside of the relatively glacial conscious processing: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16415

In another thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16415) it was related to the OODA loop decision methodology, and in the original concept envisioned by Col. Boyd in his diagram:
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/images/picture_boyd_ooda_loop.gif

In that diagram there is, in addition to the conscious and linear OODA loop, a set of non-linear paired loops (labelled "implicit guidance and control") that are centered on the "Orient" stage and which drive both "action" and "observation" simultaneously and in parallel -- while skipping over "decision" entirely. This, I suggest, is the mode of the no-mind, if you prefer THAT way of describing the mentality of this kind of action.

Or maybe it is a horsey after all... :p

And please please please don't anybody start talking about Ricci here -- (Dang. There I went and did it....)

Joe McParland
07-17-2009, 04:50 PM
In another thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16415) it was related to the OODA loop decision methodology, and in the original concept envisioned by Col. Boyd in his diagram:
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/images/picture_boyd_ooda_loop.gif

In that diagram there is, in addition to the conscious and linear OODA loop, a set of non-linear paired loops (labelled "implicit guidance and control") that are centered on the "Orient" stage and which drive both "action" and "observation" simultaneously and in parallel -- while skipping over "decision" entirely. This, I suggest, is the mode of the no-mind, if you prefer THAT way of describing the mentality of this kind of action.


The OODA is an interesting model---in which I claim absolutely no expertise. That said, looking at the diagram, what seems to be missing are the "attention & intention"---terms I recently threw out after some consideration with Ron Ragusa and then hit again by G. Ledyard in his own blog a few days ago. In the diagram, the overriding intention would seem to be a control for the Orient & Decide joined, while attention---perhaps simply "where your focus is"---is a control over Observations.

For attention, if I'm focused on your left hand, I may miss what your right is doing. If I'm checking a text message an email at the table, I may not appreciate the taste of dinner in my mouth. Even though all of the information is available to me, attention focuses the inputs.

For intention, my want to be understood, to win an argument, to defeat an opponent, to not be a victim, to arrive at the office before the meeting, and so forth---decisions are made in light of intention.

Habit, I'd speculate, happens largely in the Orient box. If I misunderstand something, take offense at something, etc., it likely happens there.

What is just as interesting to me is that attention and intention are variables in the system. Consider: I intend to get to the office in time. My attention shifts to something I overhear. Through conditioning, I interpret it as a racial slur. Adrenaline starts to pump in response. I do not notice I miss my stop. My intention shifts to showing the fellow the error of his ways, and I will not be deterred.

The intensity of the situation alone can stress that OODA system, compressing or eliminating steps to create that outcome. I don't know if that is necessarily mushin---maybe it is; I think some would say it's the mind without focus, or perhaps a mind that shifts focus and between focused and unfocused as appropriate---unhindered. What I know is that enhanced habitual response is not the benefit I'm seeking through Aikido, Zen, and other practices. Rather, I work to be free of the conditioning gates in the Orient box---not having my responses necessarily dependent upon / triggered by that conditioning, which necessarily means turning awareness toward Orient---learning to watch and manipulate my own (and maybe your own) attention and intention, learning to better process all of the body's inputs and to better get my body moving when the impulses hit rather than getting stuck in thought or having attention / intention bumped.

That's all a bit muddled---I'm sorry. Trying to wrap a bit of the intangible around the diagram to see if the model fits :)

Make any sense?

Erick Mead
07-17-2009, 11:34 PM
The OODA is an interesting model---in which I claim absolutely no expertise. And I apologize, I double pasted the same link when I meant to point you to this one on OODA methodology as well : http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=193624&postcount=1

That said, looking at the diagram, what seems to be missing are the "attention & intention"---terms I recently threw out after some consideration with Ron Ragusa and then hit again by G. Ledyard in his own blog a few days ago. In the diagram, the overriding intention would seem to be a control for the Orient & Decide joined, while attention---perhaps simply "where your focus is"---is a control over Observations. I like the article and I agree with the overall thrust -- but the terms are troubling. There is too much of the conscious awareness in them. I have no problem with the "attention and intention" of, say, " "Cross the street now." I have a real problem in the "attention & intention" of "raise the foot, roll the hip, swing the leg, plant the foot, raise the foot, roll the hip... etc. "

None of that will occur if my body is not oriented to walk, but if it is, and my kid is there alone and there is traffic, then I simply start crossing the street -- there is no decision involved, only observation of the obstacles between me and her, and the act of getting there past them. Similarly, I am not concerned with moving his sword out of my way -- but in placing my blade at his throat. His sword is just the step off the curb to get going - and his response(s) just so much traffic to be gotten past.

In the "implicit guidance and control" loops of Boyd's diagram "Orient" is the center and decision is absent. There is no decision -- there is either action or not. To my way of thinking the whole point of aikido is to prime the structures of the body to become like a tuning fork that vibrates sympathetically when in contact with another structure. It is that Orienting at a level below conscious awareness that provides the simultaneous means to both perceive and to act. When I do kokyu tanden ho I do not "decide" to do anything (apart from having engaged in doing the exercise in the first place) I just feel my way steadily into his structure like working my hand around in a satchel hunting for my keys, the when I have them the door is opened and I just walk through it.

Habit, I'd speculate, happens largely in the Orient box. If I misunderstand something, take offense at something, etc., it likely happens there.

What is just as interesting to me is that attention and intention are variables in the system. Consider: I intend to get to the office in time. My attention shifts to something I overhear. Through conditioning, I interpret it as a racial slur. Adrenaline starts to pump in response. I do not notice I miss my stop. My intention shifts to showing the fellow the error of his ways, and I will not be deterred.

The intensity of the situation alone can stress that OODA system, compressing or eliminating steps to create that outcome. I don't know if that is necessarily mushin---maybe it is; It is not, although this kind of "compression" training in the OODA methodology is used to improve the speed of the linear loop. Most everyone ignores these other pathways, though they are in Boyd's original work

I think some would say it's the mind without focus, or perhaps a mind that shifts focus and between focused and unfocused as appropriate---unhindered. What I know is that enhanced habitual response is not the benefit I'm seeking through Aikido, Zen, and other practices.

Rather, I work to be free of the conditioning gates in the Orient box---not having my responses necessarily dependent upon / triggered by that conditioning, which necessarily means turning awareness toward Orient---learning to watch and manipulate my own (and maybe your own) attention and intention, learning to better process all of the body's inputs and to better get my body moving when the impulses hit rather than getting stuck in thought or having attention / intention bumped. ... Make any sense? "Orient" in this sense is not drilling habits or "conditioning" pre-programmed response -- it is improving an almost autonomic sensitivity for adaptive responsiveness - like you breathe without needing to think about it --and breathe faster automatically when working harder, training the body to manage structurally at that level-- like recovering your balance after a slight misstep -- but in reverse, and projecting that -- increasing the disposition of the body to receive and respond naturally, like the tree receives and responds to wind -- or tuning the radio to the correct frequency, only the radio antenna is the whole body structure.

C. David Henderson
07-17-2009, 11:35 PM
Wonderful post. A quick observation: when you say attention and intention are variables in the system, your example points to an exacerbation in the environment that you did not expect/anticipate: a perceived slur that diverts you (hypothetically) from your overarching intent (to get to your destination on time).

The filter of your "orientation" acts upon the impetus of the unanticipated experience to derail your previous intention, and the next thing you know, you've missed your stop.

Since the idea of "orient" presupposes filtering, the issue might be framed in terms of pruning the list of cues rather than eliminating them.

However, I wonder where the element of spontaneity articulates within this model.

Regards,

cdh

Erick Mead
07-18-2009, 08:59 AM
Wonderful post. A quick observation: when you say attention and intention are variables in the system, your example points to an exacerbation in the environment that you did not expect/anticipate: a perceived slur that diverts you (hypothetically) from your overarching intent (to get to your destination on time). Traditionally, the image of water is used, and I think it is an excellent one-- if one places it in a context of kinds of mental 'furniture' that are operating.

If I were, say, at a wedding and spill my (very large) drink (a sin, I know) on the table where the bridal party is seated, I quite suddenly desire (intend) to get it off quickly so it does not spill onto her exquisitely expensive dress. I can simply tilt the table away at an angle just enough for the water to flow off away from her but not enough to shift the tableware, leaving the tableware (mostly) undisturbed and the bride undrenched.

The issue of "intention" is one where we act immediately to incline the table the "right" way so the the water goes in one direction (a negative bridal gradient ;) ) rather than another-- there are aspects of fudoshin in this intent. But the water finds its own way off the table, and regardless how many obstacles there are to its flow -- that aspect is "no mind" -- unless of course you interfere and try to start tilting the table wildly to guide the water 'around' the forks. Messy-- although water still flows.. . so does everything else .. because we are directing the mind where the mind need not be directed. :crazy:

"Attention" is given only to the keeping the criticality of the table angle between good water flow and no sliding tableware. There are aspects in this table leaning metaphor of both fudoshin (immoveable mind) and zanshin (lingering mind).

Joe McParland
07-18-2009, 10:54 AM
None of that will occur if my body is not oriented to walk, but if it is, and my kid is there alone and there is traffic, then I simply start crossing the street -- there is no decision involved, only observation of the obstacles between me and her, and the act of getting there past them. Similarly, I am not concerned with moving his sword out of my way -- but in placing my blade at his throat. His sword is just the step off the curb to get going - and his response(s) just so much traffic to be gotten past.

I don't mean to be too narrowly selective in picking a single detail from a larger, well considered post, but I'd like to check your thoughts on a point and perhaps help to clarify for myself how mushin and the OODA model fit or don't fit with my experience:

Scenario:

A moment before you find yourself running into the street to rescue your daughter, her ball bounced into the road. Without a thought or decision, off she went to retrieve it.


Questions:


Are your situation and her situation the same or different?
Who in this scenario is operating with mushin?

Joe McParland
07-18-2009, 11:17 AM
Wonderful post. A quick observation: when you say attention and intention are variables in the system, your example points to an exacerbation in the environment that you did not expect/anticipate: a perceived slur that diverts you (hypothetically) from your overarching intent (to get to your destination on time).

The filter of your "orientation" acts upon the impetus of the unanticipated experience to derail your previous intention, and the next thing you know, you've missed your stop.

Since the idea of "orient" presupposes filtering, the issue might be framed in terms of pruning the list of cues rather than eliminating them.

However, I wonder where the element of spontaneity articulates within this model.

Regards,

cdh

Spontaneity, on a gross scale in this hypothetical case, may simply be that my intention changed---I don't know. It is a good question, though.

This happened just last night:

My family and I went to a free movie night at the lake downtown. Afterward, we meandered to the car. Some of us were hungry and some were not. My intention was to get the hungry ones fed and to head home. Once my wife and kids were in the car, I noticed a girl with her back up against the closed driver's door of an SUV, and in front of her was a fellow who appeared to me to be aggressively hovering over her. He seemed angry and started flailing his arms around and speaking loudly, though I could not hear what he was saying. She move out from between him and the car and he followed. There was clearly some back and forth banter---about what, who knows? She moved to the passenger side of the car and he stayed behind. Then he followed. I saw her then in the driver's seat, and I don't know what became of him.

During that time, my wife asked me if everything was alright. I told her I was just watching this situation.

They seemed to have some relationship and while I watched there was no physical contact. Seeing nothing that I could determine to be threatening, we left.

If I was in the army and my mission was to get the family home, I would probably not have done more than noting the sight and determining that it was not likely to impact the mission. In this case, my intention switched for a while, and then switched back. I can say that there was no real thought processes to intervene or not to intervene. There was nothing compelling me to intervene, nor was there anything obstructing me from intervening. I simply continued to be me given my circumstances. Can't ask for more than that ;)

If I left wondering or regretting, I'd have known something went awry. Instead, no trace---other than my retelling the story here :p

So, there's some ooda, some attention, some intention, some spontaneity, and some mushin. The mundane cases are just as miraculous as the spectacular ones ;)

Shadowfax
07-18-2009, 02:24 PM
Questions:

1. Are your situation and her situation the same or different?
2. Who in this scenario is operating with mushin?

If I understand correctly it would be you.

Your daughter would be focused on the ball. Mushin mind focuses on nothing and yet is aware of everything.

Speaking of awareness I noticed recently that while I am driving when I get into a certain state I am visually aware of all three mirrors on my car at the same time. Both side doors and the rear view. yet if I focus on any one of them I loose that awareness. Kinda neat.

Suru
07-18-2009, 04:10 PM
I thought of this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DgQPM6VK3Y) from The Last Samurai. I highly recommend not repeating "no mind" to yourself (as Mr. Cruises character does at :41) if you find yourself in a similar situation in late 19th century Japan.

Excellent point. I don't believe I picked up on that subtlety when I saw the film.

Drew

Erick Mead
07-18-2009, 04:48 PM
I don't mean to be too narrowly selective in picking a single detail from a larger, well considered post, but I'd like to check your thoughts on a point and perhaps help to clarify for myself how mushin and the OODA model fit or don't fit with my experience:

Scenario:

A moment before you find yourself running into the street to rescue your daughter, her ball bounced into the road. Without a thought or decision, off she went to retrieve it.


Questions:


Are your situation and her situation the same or different?
Who in this scenario is operating with mushin?
1. Different. 2. I am. She is simply acting.

The observation loop has to be equally engaged for 'no-mind' to be properly said to exist. I am fully oriented -- that is the observation loops is in full spin and the action loop in full spin as well. She is not oriented she is fixated: "Ball. My ball. Get ball." She is unaware of the traffic -- I am aware of, but not consciously concerned by the traffic, for my own part - though the orientation of concern for her in relation to traffic is what triggers my action.

The difference is in the orientation -- which centers and grounds both observation and action. I am oriented around the mode of "traffic" "danger to child" "traffic as impediment to reaching child," without any conscious plan about how the navigation will actually work out. Observations feed action feeds observation etc. around these orientation points. Like tracking to a distant peak, the intervening terrain is negotiated without change in essential orientation, nor any necessary plan or decisions -- as long as you keep oriented -- you find the way. Though you can see the peak you are not necessarily looking at it-- even if you cannot see it, it remains your in your orientation, if not in your perception or conscious thought.

She is not oriented -- she is fixated. She will easily follow the ball over a cliff The same difference is seen in similar terms for students on the mat IMO.

Joe McParland
07-18-2009, 10:37 PM
I'm typing from the phone, so just a brief comment before revisiting tomorrow:

Are we certain the daughter is not oriented, or is it better to say that she does not have has many things in her Orient box---to include "traffic is dangerous"?

If the child and the adult are both aware of all they know to be aware of given their personal experiences, and act with all skill they have available given their respective experiences, does this affect your answer?

Shadowfax
07-19-2009, 07:01 AM
As a child I knew traffic was dangerous. I think I was about 9 years old when this happened. My best friend arrived to invite me to spend the weekend at her house. She had a pony. I was very excited to go and I was hurrying home with my bike to get ready to go.

I crossed the road and next think I knew I was hit by a car that came out of nowhere. Now that car certainly could not have come out of nowhere of course. There was long enough stretch of straight road in that spot so if I had been properly aware I certainly would not have crossed in front of it. I was focused on my destination and not paying attention to even something I knew I should be careful about. I never saw the car coming and never knew it was there until it literally hit me. My bike was knocked across the road. Fortunately I only had a scraped up knee out of the whole thing. And even when they put me in the ambulance to take me to be checked out I was still focused on going to my friends house...Kept telling them to shut off the siren and let me out. Didn't get to go to my friends house that weekend though. Darn I really wanted to ride that pony.

Erick Mead
07-19-2009, 08:32 AM
I'm typing from the phone, so just a brief comment before revisiting tomorrow:

Are we certain the daughter is not oriented, or is it better to say that she does not have has many things in her Orient box---to include "traffic is dangerous"?

If the child and the adult are both aware of all they know to be aware of given their personal experiences, and act with all skill they have available given their respective experiences, does this affect your answer?It is not a question of experience but of development -- and a child has not developed to that point. If you asked she would tell you cars are dangerous. She 'knows' it, consciously, but she cannot act on it naturally and unconsciously. (Oyomei would say that therefore that she does NOT know, until that action is a natural consequence or innate element of the objective perception -- "knowledge and action are one" -- IOW, Boyd's western analytical diagram actually describes an aspect of that Neo-Confucian bit of psychology.)

The mind must develop these facilities, although every one has varying capacity for it, and some more easily develop it than others. Orientation is not a state, it is a process, evolving from the intersection of observation and action together. If it becomes a state it is fixation, obsession. Either observation or action (or both, -- the most pathetic form) have stopped.

Joe McParland
07-19-2009, 03:49 PM
It is not a question of experience but of development -- and a child has not developed to that point. If you asked she would tell you cars are dangerous. She 'knows' it, consciously, but she cannot act on it naturally and unconsciously. (Oyomei would say that therefore that she does NOT know, until that action is a natural consequence or innate element of the objective perception -- "knowledge and action are one" -- IOW, Boyd's western analytical diagram actually describes an aspect of that Neo-Confucian bit of psychology.)

The mind must develop these facilities, although every one has varying capacity for it, and some more easily develop it than others. Orientation is not a state, it is a process, evolving from the intersection of observation and action together. If it becomes a state it is fixation, obsession. Either observation or action (or both, -- the most pathetic form) have stopped.

Let's caution ourselves not to introduce unnecessary disagreement through inflexible semantics. The snapshot of a "process" / dynamic model in an instant may be called its "state." The "development" of an entity up to this point may be called its history or "experience." That experience---which may reasonably include, to some extent, "capability"---is limited does not imply that the person is either hindered or swayed by senses or thought; the person may well be "seeing clearly," to borrow from zen.

I grant that the child may be locked onto the ball to the exclusion of all other sensory input and held knowledge, but I also allow the possibility that she is simply unhindered by the concept "traffic is dangerous; the car may not stop; it may kill me"---whether it is because she does not have the concept (maybe grew up where there are no cars, maybe because she is not [yet] capable of making that concept real, ...) or because she is simply not blocked by the concept. From a zennish perspective, the former state is attached, while the later (unblocked version) is unattached and is in some ways preferable---even if it leads to an outcome of being physically squished by a car.

The developed ability to make concepts "real" irrespective of personal experience is considered by many to be neither good nor bad; however, to have natural existence either driven or bounded by---or generally rooted in---conceptual thought (and sensations, and emotions, etc.) is considered by those same folks to be problematic.

The pros and cons of such a philosophy are debatable.

Anyway, as I understand the terms, the not being swayed or driven by anything---including concepts---touches on fudoshin, seeing things openly (like a child) is shoshin, and then there is mushin---which I'm not sure we've pinned down yet.

The characteristic of spontaneity has been picked up by others in this thread---my apologies then for picking on Erick's entries to the apparent exclusion of the others---I see they are all very interesting. Spontaneity seems to be an essential aspect of takemusu. The ability to act "outside" of one's base tendencies in the face of the stimuli-du-jour rather than being swept away in cause and effect is by some accounts what makes people people---free will, in some interpretations.

More on that later, I'm sure---I'm heading out for a bit :)

Erick Mead
07-19-2009, 11:03 PM
Let's caution ourselves not to introduce unnecessary disagreement through inflexible semantics. ... my apologies then for picking on Erick's entries to the apparent exclusion of the others- No problem, at all. Anyone who has no patience in defining terms has no serious argument to pursue. I appreciate the insistence.

The snapshot of a "process" / dynamic model in an instant may be called its "state." The "development" of an entity up to this point may be called its history or "experience." That experience---which may reasonably include, to some extent, "capability"---is limited does not imply that the person is either hindered or swayed by senses or thought; the person may well be "seeing clearly," to borrow from zen.Back at you on terminology, though. "Process" as a word of concern in the way I use it is not a "snapshot." While I mean it in the more ordinary sense, I also have Whitehead in mind in the sense that the instantaneous occasion of a process comprises other occasions preceding, simultaneous to, and contemplated in its immediate "snapshot." One can also see it terms of Aristotelian causes which brackets the problem in a related fashion. In Eastern terms, I mean it as Baien would, for whom the division of branch and twig is a real division and a real distinction without disturbing the underlying unity of them both as undivided constituents of the one tree.

I grant that the child may be locked onto the ball to the exclusion of all other sensory input and held knowledge, but I also allow the possibility that she is simply unhindered by the concept "traffic is dangerous; the car may not stop; it may kill me"---whether it is because she does not have the concept (maybe grew up where there are no cars, maybe because she is not [yet] capable of making that concept real, ...) or because she is simply not blocked by the concept. From a zennish perspective, the former state is attached, while the ,later (unblocked version) is unattached and is in some ways preferable---even if it leads to an outcome of being physically squished by a car. I am also unhindered by the "traffic is dangerous." But the lack of hindrance is not the same. My lack of hindrance is aware of the danger but not consciously concerned in dealing with it crossing the road. She is simply unaware, and not dealing with it at all.

The surfer and the noob may be under the same breaking wave, with the same lack of conscious thought in acting, and a similar frantic degree of action in both cases-- but they are not the same in orientation, nor observation, nor in action.

Anyway, as I understand the terms, the not being swayed or driven by anything---including concepts---touches on fudoshin, seeing things openly (like a child) is shoshin, and then there is mushin---which I'm not sure we've pinned down yet. It is all in the seeing. Fudoshin sees the power of attachments and passions, but as disposable. Shoshin sees everything as new, even though familiar. Mushin sees everything, but in no particular way - and as not much of anything important.

Spontaneity seems to be an essential aspect of takemusu. The ability to act "outside" of one's base tendencies in the face of the stimuli-du-jour rather than being swept away in cause and effect is by some accounts what makes people people---free will, in some interpretations. Takemusu is surfing -- people. Anything else is getting caught inside. You may get out, you may be really powerful, despite being under ten tons of angry water, but after all is said and done, you're just plain beat.

ashe
10-19-2009, 12:07 PM
just wanted to drop in an add something here, since this is a very important subject in the art i train;

my Sifu often says "if you know you don't think, if you think you don't know".

no mind is simply a state of recognition and realization, a state that reflect back like a mirror (i.e. a "formless" state of mind that flows with the conditions.)

like the analogy of water. where there is an opening you just flow in, and where there is an obstacle you flow around.

my Sifu often says "you invite me in". in other words, i am flowing WITH you. if you have defense on the point i flow and change to find a point i can perform an application on, if you have no defense then i just act on that because the condition is already there.

so no mind is a state of just recognizing the conditions and acting on that.

so i have to disagree with some of the examples given here to describe "no mind". (dropping and catching of the glass, etc.) as those are really just examples of reflexive habit, which many people confuse with "acting naturally" or "no mind".

the thing to remember about "no mind" (which we break down into three qualities; present, formless and neutral), is that if you are truly in that state then you are 100% fully AWARE of whats going on or else how could you be in the state of recognition?

drabson
10-19-2009, 12:25 PM
This cartoon seems on-topic: http://mikkabouzu.co.uk/arch138.html

milousensei
10-20-2009, 03:28 AM
may be you are referring to Japanese word Mushin if it is the case you'd understand better with the translation "empty mind" . the negative in "no mind" needs a will to set it up ; "empty mind" allow to let it flow and be filled

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-20-2009, 12:14 PM
Well, no mind is what may happen if you keep asking "What is it?". At least that would be the Korean buddhist take... :)

Sorry, just noticed and could not resist.