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SeiserL
06-20-2011, 10:34 AM
Breathe in, intent
Breathe out, intensity
Mindfully train
Shugyo

I am often asked why I continue to train. I simply smile and say I train to train. I have no wish to use my skills. I have no wish to run my own school or teach my skills. The end result is not the goal. The process itself is the goal. The training is a place to lose myself and to find myself.

Keiko is training. Usually this is our regular training, our everyday training. I usually see this as physical training. While Aikido is often defined as the unification of body and mind, I see most people bring only their bodies to the dojo, to the mats for training. I have even heard people refer to this as Mushin (no mind) or Shoshin (beginner's mind) to rationalize and justify not paying attention.

Shugyo is extreme Keiko. Therefore, for many people who only train physically this means training to the point physical exhaustion. There is an expression that suggests after you have given all you have, show me what you have. At this point of physical exhaustion and mental inattention, we do not find natural movement or enlightenment; we find sloppy technique and injuries.

Training should always be mindful, training with a relaxed body and a calm mind, training with intent and intensity.

Intent: directed with attention, concentration on an end purpose

Intensity: existing in an extreme form or degree: determination; concentration; purpose

Intent and intensity is not in-tension or in-attentive, it is always aware and always mindful.

Shugyo is a martial discipline as self-discipline, self-examination, self-discovery, and continual self-correction towards excellence in everything we do, not just Aikido.

Shugyo is forging like the heating, beating, tempering, and polishing of a fine sword blade. The heat is our own sweat. The beating is the wear and tear we endure. The tempering is the cooling down of our emotions. Polishing is the everyday training and discipline.

Shugyo is how we forge warriors. Warriors are those who live and fight for the greater good, not their own glory. They say that behind every warrior's eyes are tears because they fight for the people they love not against the enemy they hate. Perhaps that is what O'Sensei was attempting to forge in us through Aikido, the loving protection and response to confusion, chaos, and conflict.

Shugyo is the process, it is not the content. It is what we make of it. Like Ki, it is energy directed by our intent. The more focused our intent, the more extreme our intensity and energy.

Shugyo is etiquette, respect, humility training. Every day we bow as we enter and leave the dojo, as we enter and leave the mat, and we begin and end our practice with each other.

Shugyo is physical training. Every day we physically train our bodies to push past its old learned limitations. We entrust our bodies to each us other's care and they entrust us with their. It is easy to hurt and get hurt. We sweat and at times we bleed. We push past pain and exhaustion. We find a new level of conditioning and skill. We focus our intent and intensity on our structural alignment, our posture and positioning, our connection, and our breathing.

Shugyo is mental and emotional training. Every day we focus our minds on the training, on whatever we are doing at the moment. We stay mindful of the task and the lesson. We see through and transform the thoughts that create our negative emotions and replace them with thoughts that keep us positive.

Shugyo is situational awareness and social training. Every day we train with each other. We are mindful we are not alone and the inter-connectedness and inter-dependency of all things become apparent and obvious. We let go of our existential angst of believing we are all alone, and accept, and appreciate our traveling companions who have always been there.

Shugyo is spiritual training. Every day in a transpersonal transformational sense, we beyond the shallow personal self and see that there is something greater than ourselves and that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, however we may define that.

Shugyo is training in pursuit of truth. Every day we see through our personal subjective truths to find a more collective truth that is for the mutual best interest of every one.

Shugyo is making a decision, have a direction, and practicing daily discipline.

Shugyo is standing under a cold waterfall, walking down the street, bowing onto the mat, and kissing our spouses and children goodnight.

Like cleaning the dust from a mirror so it can reflect accurately, Shugyo is a never ending ongoing process. Shugyo is living and training mindfully everyday with intent and intensity.

If Shugyo means extreme training, then let us train and live with extremely calm minds focused on our intention, with extremely relaxed bodies expressing and asserting our intensity to learn and better ourselves, and let us extremely enjoy the process and each other.

Breathe in, intent
Breathe out, intensity
Mindfully train
Shugyo

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Tenshinkai Aikido under Sensei Dang Thong Phong at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in Southern California. He is the co-author, with Phong Sensei, of Aikido Basics (2003), Advanced Aikido (2006), and Aikido Weapons Techniques (2006) for Tuttle Publishing. His martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders and victims of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains at Roswell Budokan.

crbateman
06-20-2011, 11:12 AM
Well put, Lynn-san... Thanks for sharing.

Mary Eastland
06-20-2011, 05:16 PM
I found this inspirational and poetic...thank you.

SeiserL
06-21-2011, 10:25 AM
Thanks for sharing.
Always appreciate a kind word after reading.

Sharing is what I do.

Thanks for sharing the journey.

SeiserL
06-21-2011, 10:26 AM
I found this inspirational and poetic.
Thank you for your kind words after reading.

I do hope I offer some thing of use to some one at some time.

Appreciate.

guest1234567
06-21-2011, 12:57 PM
Thanks Lynn for your thoughtful column, when I train I'm on the mat with my mind and body, it is not possible otherwise,when I work I'm there with my mind and body but when I'm walking I can think of other things meanwhile, maybe then it doesn't be shugyo, I don't know, I didn't know that word before.

SeiserL
06-21-2011, 05:32 PM
Thanks Lynn for your thoughtful column, when I train I'm on the mat with my mind and body, it is not possible otherwise,when I work I'm there with my mind and body but when I'm walking I can think of other things meanwhile, maybe then it doesn't be shugyo, I don't know, I didn't know that word before.
IMHO, if you are training with the body and mind present then I would consider that mindful training: Shugyo.

Remember that the often consider Aikido training in body and mind unification.

Thanks for reading and responding.

graham christian
06-26-2011, 11:36 PM
Hi Lynn.
A wonderful piece if I may say so. Truly inspirational. I sometimes try to add something but today I just sit in quiet admiration.

Thank you.

Regards.G.

SeiserL
06-28-2011, 10:50 AM
I sometimes try to add something but today I just sit in quiet admiration.
Greetings,

Just sitting quietly without adding anything is mindful training.

Thanks for reading and responding.

jamie yugawa
06-28-2011, 08:25 PM
Thank you sensei for a true statement about "Shugyo". I wonder sometimes why I am there, but keep coming back to train. I think you have interpreted the meaning sincerly and true.

Cliff Judge
06-29-2011, 09:37 AM
May I ask for some clarification? What does "mindful" mean?

I've been thinking about what shugyo is recently and my current understanding of it is that's a non-intellectual process. Or that, basically, it is a form of learning where the mind does not take a "leadership" role...it is not the responsibility of the mind to be aware of the changes that are taking place.

To the extent that the mind is engaged, it is like a person in a kitchen with a wooden floor, endlessly making breakfast. Go to the refrigerator, get the eggs, walk over to the counter, crack the eggs, go to the rack of utensils, grab the whisk, whisk the eggs, over to the stove, cook the eggs....not good enough! Do it all over. Try harder this time. Pay more attention to every little detail of breakfast.

But breakfast is not the goal. The goal is actually to wear a certain pattern into the floorboards of the kitchen. if you don't pay attention to the details of what you are doing you won't wear the correct pattern into the floor. But perfection of the details is not the actual goal of the exercise, rather part of the larger process.

Okay that's a dumb thought experiment. But, when I was last at Narita airport I was browsing through the bookstore and found an english language dictionary of Japanese cultural things, I looked up shugyo and it was defined as "intuitive training."

Should have bought that book just for that passage. It talked about how, if you are a foreign graduate hired onto a Japanese firm, you are apt to be extremely frustrated with how your new boss will have you running around doing things in a certain way. Nobody will care about the end result, they are going to criticize you based on how you performed a certain task. And this can go on for years.

The point is not to see your results, the point is to get you used to patterns of behavior that will allow you to become a harmonious component in a team.

So I think the concept of "mindfulness" carries a certain connotation of receptivity / passivity that doesn't automatically convey to results-oriented Americans and westerners.

For example, I don't think training mindfully means that, if you can't do a technique, you should sit in seiza and try to figure it out in your head before you get up and try it again. You should practice the technique, and pay very close attention to everything, and then, I guess, try not to form an attachment to your failure or success?

I dunno. Mindfulness, how does it work?

Thank you very much for your post.

SeiserL
06-29-2011, 11:43 AM
May I ask for some clarification? What does "mindful" mean?
Good question.

IMHO, it can mean different things to different people.

To me, its about bringing intelligence and awareness into what I am doing. It is focusing the mind in the same direction as my body.

Many people think that non-intellectual is totally about the physical training. I see people do with with great intensity, but don't improve because the are not also intelligently present in what they are doing. Being absent of mind or brain dead is not the same thing as Soshin or Mushin.

Intuition is still intelligence on a subtle level.

What I am suggesting is that while we physically train, we also mentally integrate and stay intelligently present.

Intensity is of the body but intent is of the mind.

Ki (energy) follows the focus on intent.

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading and responding.

Peter Goldsbury
06-30-2011, 09:30 AM
May I ask for some clarification? What does "mindful" mean?

I dunno. Mindfulness, how does it work?

Thank you very much for your post.

Hello Cliff,

I am going to play devil's advocate here and question Lynn's whole approach. His column is an elegantly poetic meditation on the attributes of a certain kind of daily training, but it seems to me to assume that we all know both what this training consists in: what shugyou is and what mindfulness is. So we might want to say, on reading his column, "Yes, yes, this is exactly what I mean by training" / "Yes, yes, this is exactly what I have been doing (or trying to do) everyday in the dojo." Thus readers of his column may be congratulating themselves thankfully, because this is what they have been doing / aiming to do all the time, but Lynn has put it so elegantly.

I will discuss mindfulness later, after I have focused on shugyou. Lynn is using the Japanese term, rather than the accepted English translation of training, or ascetic training. Why? Like its linguistic cousin kuzushi, shugyou has an aura, and because of its Japanese quality it is assumed to convey more than the sum total of the English equivalents, even to those who are unfamiliar with Japanese. Training? Well, we do this every day. But shugyou? Ahh, this is something with the extra nuance conveyed by the Japanese term. But what?

To see what I mean here, consider the other possibilities for the title of Lynn's column:
Keiko: Mindfully Train
Renshuu: Mindfully Train
What is the extra ingredient that Shugyou has that the other terms do not?

Well, let us go back to the Japanese.

One problem is that shugyou is both written in two ways—and Morihei Ueshiba seems to have used both ways of writing indiscriminately (I am basing this opinion on the Japanese originals of Budo Renshuu and Budo). Here are the two ways: 修業, 修行.

In modern Japanese, 修業 can be read as shuugyou (with an extra u) and basically means learning something, like an academic subject or an art, including a martial art like aikido. There is no extra ingredient beyond the basic learning process.

The other way of writing the term 修行, conveys a different meaning. In modern Japanese there are two meanings:

(1) In Buddhism, shugyou means carrying out the teachings of the Buddha, in order to achieve enlightenment. A good example would be the training regimen pursued by the ‘marathon' monks on Mount Hiei in Japan. Kukai, also, has many examples in his writings of this kind of shugyou and usually it has to include three ‘secrets', one of which could well be interpreted as mindfulness, but not, I think, with the meaning that Lynn intends.

(2) The second meaning of shugyou involves both sides of the bun-bu (文武) equation and I will quote and translate the Japanese text of the Koujien.

精神をきたえ、学問・技芸などを修めみがくこと。また、そのために、諸国をへめぐること。「武者修行者」。
Seishin wo kitae, gakumon・gigei nado wo samemigaku koto. Mata, sono tameni, shukoku wo hemeguru koto (musha shugyou).
Forging the spirit, polishing one's life goals by training in academic disciplines or in the technical arts (like aikido). In addition, someone who wanders around the country in order to pursue such training. (Wandering samurai).

I think that a shugyousha subordinates everything else in life to the requirements of what it is that demands the shugyou. Sokaku Takeda and Morihei Ueshiba were prime examples of musha shugyousha in martial arts. However, there are also cases of similar extreme examples in academic pursuits, such as the nativist scholar Motoori Norinaga.

From these definitions and examples, I do not believe that shugyou simply means one's ordinary daily training with the addition of mindfulness. I think this is far too simple and, in any case, is already conveyed by the term keiko or (more strongly, involving repetitions that might well hurt) by renshuu.

As for mindfulness, for me a good place to start is the OED.

------------------------------------------------------------
"mindful, a.

1. a.1.a Taking thought or care of; heedful of; keeping remembrance of. Also const. with obj. clause and how or that.

a 1340 Hampole Psalter lxii. 7 If J was myndefull of the of my bede. 1382 Wyclif Heb. ii. 6 What thing is man, that thou art myndeful of him? 1579 B. Googe tr. Mendoza's Prov. 49 That where hee [sc. Cæsar] was verie mindefull of all other thinges, hee neuer would remember any iniurie doone vnto him. 1661 Marvell Corr. Let. xxvi. Wks. (Grosart) II. 63 We beseech you be mindfull that the 29th of May be kept for a thanksgiving. 1736 Berkeley Discourse Wks. 1871 III. 421 In all their actions to be ever mindful of the last day. 1849 Macaulay Hist. Eng. iv. I. 428 He had always been mindful of his health even in his pleasures. 1873 Black Pr. Thule x, Mindful of the fastidious ways of his friend.

b.1.b Having remembrance of. nonce-use.

1859 Tennyson Geraint & Enid 191 Guinevere, not mindful of his face‥desired his name.

c.1.c const. with inf.

1581 J. Bell Haddon's Answ. Osor. 420 To be Baptized in Churchyardes‥was an auncient custome‥that so such as were to be Baptized might be made ye more myndefull to confesse a rising agayne from ye dead. 1664 Evelyn Kal. Hort., Mar. (1679) 13 Be mindful to uncover them [the plants] in all benign, and tolerable seasons. 1692 Sprat Contriv. Blackhead i. 19, I was not so mindful to preserve the Letters that came to me. 1889 Gretton Memory's Harkb. 324 The monks were always mindful to establish themselves where there was water close at hand.

d.1.d without const.

1567 Turberv. Ovid's Epist. 141 b, So she with mindefull wrath Upon my corse for thee awroken is. 1605 Camden Rem. 32 Antient families have given those names to their heires, with a mindefull and thankefull regard of them. 1728 Pope Dunc. i. 93 Much to the mindful Queen the feast recalls. 1747 Collins Ode to Liberty 16 Let not my shell's misguided power E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears. 1854 S. Dobell Balder i, Point with mindful shadow day and night, Where we lie dust below.

†2.2 Minded, inclined to do something. Also with ellipsis of vb. of motion. Obs.

1632 Lithgow Trav. ii. 59 A great number of passengers‥that were all mindefull to Zante. Ibid. 61 The Turkes retired till morning, and then were mindfull to give vs‥a second alarum. 1672 in L'pool Munic. Rec. (1883) I. 285 Any that shall bee mindfull to build upon or improve any such wast. 1681 J. Chetham Angler's Vade-m. xxxii. §1 (1689) 173 Tired and mindful to rest.
------------------------------------------------------------

mindfulness

The state or quality of being mindful; ‘attention; regard' (J.); †memory; †intention, purpose.

1530 Palsgr. 245/2 Myndfulnesse, pencee. 1561 T. Hoby tr. Castiglione's Courtyer ii. (1577) G iv, To lose‥the mindfulnesse of them. 1577--87 Holinshed Chron. I. 169/2 There was no mindfulnesse amongest them of running awaie. 1612 T. Taylor Comm. Titus iii 1 (1619) 541 To keepe in mens memories the mindfulnesse of their duties. 1817 Moore Lalla R. (ed. 2) 72 That deep-blue, melancholy dress Bokhara's maidens wear in mindfulness, Of friends or kindred, dead or far away. 1820 Jay Prayers 355 Let us not forget our souls, in our mindfulness of the body.
------------------------------------------------------------

As far as I understand Lynn's idea, mindfulness seems to be a constant state of awareness or attention that accompanies an action. The question is what this state actually adds to the quality of the action itself. To see what I mean, consider the opposite: mindless. If I am doing something mindlessly, what I am I not doing that I should be doing, in order to fit Lynn's desired description of my activity? If I am running, what would be the difference between running mindfully and running mindlessly and what difference would it make to the quality of my running? I myself have run marathons where my mind has been more or less disengaged from the rhythmic positioning of the feet and the maintenance of the breathing rhythm. To my mind, this was ‘mindless', close to the desired state achievable by zen sitting.

Of course, you have to train ‘properly', which means paying attention to what you are doing. However, I am unconvinced that the addition of attention or memory is sufficient to transform ordinary keiko or renshuu into shugyou.

Best wishes,

PAG

Chuck Clark
06-30-2011, 12:03 PM
Thanks for the lesson Peter. I think it's important when we use Japanese terms to do it properly. There's lots of information carried in Japanese terms that gets lost without educated, fluent people that also know the technical meanings to speak up. Those of us that aren't fluent often have misused terms so long that we make up our own meanings (or our teachers, instructors, and seniors have passed on the westernized common meanings) and much valuable meaning has gotten lost. There are even Japanese terms that native speakers/budo practitioners of different budo lineage use differently. Very confusing to many of us to say the least.

Thanks again and please continue (those of you that know) to help educate us.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark

graham christian
06-30-2011, 06:11 PM
Peter, you question how mindfulness aids training in quality?

You think Shugyo is to do with transforming Keiko?

I disagree completely.

Keiko is of itself and Shugyo is of itself. Both are indeed excellent.

Lynne put things nice and fluid and clear and indeed the clarity made it look 'simple' or 'simplistic' but this is a sign of the communicator understanding what he is saying and thus a plus not a minus.

It's o.k. to point out all kinds of definitions on the way to conceptually understanding but it's the conceptual understanding which is the important part and that's what this gives.

Shugyo and Mindful.

As you point out the different nuances of Shugyo let's get to the basic concept which applies to all definitions of the word shall we?

1. It's a discipline. That means focusing on and practicing , following, principles continually. Hence a 'disciple' as an example.

Now whether your talking academics or physical activity or playing playstation the focus on rules of operation and continual practice, undeterred, is the discipline.

So Lynne is talking from the basic concept of Shugyo and applying it to physical, mental etc.

Now we come to mindfulness. The basic concept.

1. Being aware of, giving attention to, effects caused by such actions with care and consideration.

This differenciates it from Zanshin which doesn't necessarily have care and consideration in it.

Thus mindless would be not worrying about the effect caused on the others, another, environment or indeed self.

When doing a marathon for example you would have enough attention out in case of potholes in the road, timing, optimum speed, obstacles, how the body's feeling etc. etc.

All this while exercising the disciplines involved in marathon running.

Not doing so would lead to you running into a lamp post or overdoing it and collapsing etc. Mindless.

So in conclusion Shugyo and Mindfulness both compliment and indeed are necessary to each other in any good training and in all walks of life.

Cordially. G.

Peter Goldsbury
06-30-2011, 11:13 PM
You question how mindfulness aids training in quality?
No.

You think Shugyo is to do with transforming Keiko?
No.


As you point out the different nuances of Shugyo let's get to the basic concept which applies to all definitions of the word shall we?
No thank you. I live in Japan and am interested in what the word means in Japanese, to my Japanese students, for example.


Now we come to mindfulness. The basic concept.
I prefer the basic concept recorded by the Oxford dictionary, which I quoted.


Thus mindless would be not worrying about the effect caused on the others, another, environment or indeed self.
This is not what I mean by mindlessness here.


When doing a marathon for example you would have enough attention out in case of potholes in the road, timing, optimum speed, obstacles, how the body's feeling etc. etc.
This is not what I mean by mindfulness here.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Goldsbury
07-01-2011, 04:12 AM
Thanks for the lesson Peter. I think it's important when we use Japanese terms to do it properly. There's lots of information carried in Japanese terms that gets lost without educated, fluent people that also know the technical meanings to speak up. Those of us that aren't fluent often have misused terms so long that we make up our own meanings (or our teachers, instructors, and seniors have passed on the westernized common meanings) and much valuable meaning has gotten lost. There are even Japanese terms that native speakers/budo practitioners of different budo lineage use differently. Very confusing to many of us to say the least.

Thanks again and please continue (those of you that know) to help educate us.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark

Hello Chuck,

Thank you.

Before I came to live here, I never applied to aikido the language / linguistics studies I was pursuing at university. However, seeing the terms you have grown accustomed to using in the dojo embedded in a living, changing, evolving, language culture gives one a certain sensitivity, if nothing else. This becomes especially intense when you are teaching language studies to Japanese students in their own language. It is here that the various preferences, intuitions of the native speaker become most evident (to me as the non-native, in this case).

One of the most striking instances of this was discovering what omote and ura mean. Sure, we use the words to define two ways of executing ikkajo or ikkyou, for example, but I learned the meaning of the terms, not in the dojo, but in the university, where I was part of a large and complex living language community. The terms were never, ever used, but I learned exactly what they meant.

As for shugyou, Morihei Ueshiba appears to have used shugyou and renshuu interchangeably. I myself have learned this by reading him in Japanese, but those non-Japanese who believe that renshuu and shugyou have quite distinct meanings are perhaps not aware of this.

As usual, Dr Seiser has written a good, provocative, column.

Best wishes,

PAG

SeiserL
07-01-2011, 06:01 AM
As usual, Dr Seiser has written a good, provocative, column.
Thank you Sensei for your kind words and further insightful explanation.

I too have run several marathons (10). There is a real difference between those middle of the pack runners like me and the elite runners up front. As you mention, I tend to run mindlessly with some sort of tunes in my ears and trying to keep a basic pace and form. It a dissociated state of mind, I tent to spectate myself. The elite runner I know and observe talk about stay in their bodies in an associated state as a participant. Their mind is where there body is.

This is a common distinction in sports and performance psychology.

You are most correct that when we use Japanese terms, we need to be more familiar with the actual meanings in context and culture. The same word can have many meanings. I deeply appreciate how you clarification expand what we know and think.

I often think of these columns as an opportunity to open a conversation from where we are (our current understanding) and watching it grow through communication. IMHO, any idea is not a statement but a catalyst.

I try to write mindfully with that intent.

Thank you for joining the conversation.

SeiserL
07-01-2011, 06:09 AM
So in conclusion Shugyo and Mindfulness both compliment and indeed are necessary to each other in any good training and in all walks of life.
IMHO, when I look around, mindfulness and intense training is desired but not necessary for life, only because I see so many people training and living without either. I too spend/spent a good deal of time on relaxed automatic pilot without any real direction or discipline.

Perhaps this helps account in some measure for the state of skills we often discuss here.

Yet, as I try to apply these concepts more in my training and life, they both improve.

Some times I just want to scream, PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE. Of course the look at me and say they will if I will.

As always, thanks for joining the conversation. IMHO, thats how we stimulate, facilitate, and perpetuate a deeper understanding from the simple ideas I originally present.

Compliments and appreciation.

SeiserL
07-01-2011, 06:12 AM
I think it's important when we use Japanese terms to do it properly. There's lots of information carried in Japanese terms that gets lost without educated, fluent people that also know the technical meanings to speak up. Those of us that aren't fluent often have misused terms so long that we make up our own meanings (or our teachers, instructors, and seniors have passed on the westernized common meanings) and much valuable meaning has gotten lost. There are even Japanese terms that native speakers/budo practitioners of different budo lineage use differently. Very confusing to many of us to say the least.
Yes agreed Sensei.

While I see a lot of discussions become debates and adversarial arguments, I enjoy the conversation that bring a deeper clarity.

I have enjoyed you on the mat and through on contact and connection here.

Thank you for all you add.

SeiserL
07-01-2011, 06:19 AM
I wonder sometimes why I am there, but keep coming back to train.
I used to often wonder why I keep showing up.

I often say I train because I don't golf.

Yet, I look at the accumulative effects on me, and I like the results and the direction it takes my life.

Sometimes we find the answer when we either ask the right question or we just drop the questioning and focus that energy/mindfulness to training/living.

Perhaps that is what I mean by training/living with intensity and intent.

Thanks for joining the conversation.

Chuck Clark
07-01-2011, 09:13 AM
IMHO, when I look around, mindfulness and intense training is desired but not necessary for life, only because I see so many people training and living without either. I too spend/spent a good deal of time on relaxed automatic pilot without any real direction or discipline. ..... Some times I just want to scream, PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE. Of course the look at me and say they will if I will.

Hi Lynn, (not meaning to seem like a "smartass, but here goes anyway...) I figured out that I can't afford to "PAY ATTENTION", so I try "Give Attention." Of course, some days are better than others... it's very difficult to not descend to a state of being on auto pilot/not really flying... :straightf

A large part of my ongoing practice is to be/do the most simple, clean, clear action as possible while being attentive to the results and willing to adjust and continue the process... resulting in "Don't quit, and don't die" without "worrying" about the inevitable. Being in a mindful state while being as relaxed and willing to stay on the "razor's edge" at all times filled with kokoro no sutemi while showing whatever state of "my outsides matching my insides" without fear is is very difficult... until it isn't. Being is a constant state of flow. Being aware and conscious of this while being completely successful at this is impossible, but being attentive to the qualities of the ongoing "randori" of life's "suchness" is THE THING. Taking part with the intent to "uplift all beings and do as little harm as possible" is the whole ball of wax as we continue .... what a joy to take part!

Well, as usual in this form of communication, too much kuchi waza. Which is why many of us love budo practice so much. It's about DOING... and the DO is the WAY... or, DO-BE, DO-BE, DO....BE!!!!..... :straightf

Best regards,

Chuck

Allen Beebe
07-01-2011, 12:22 PM
Hi Lynn, (not meaning to seem like a "smartass, but here goes anyway...) I figured out that I can't afford to "PAY ATTENTION", so I try "Give Attention." Of course, some days are better than others... it's very difficult to not descend to a state of being on auto pilot/not really flying... :straightf

A large part of my ongoing practice is to be/do the most simple, clean, clear action as possible while being attentive to the results and willing to adjust and continue the process... resulting in "Don't quit, and don't die" without "worrying" about the inevitable. Being in a mindful state while being as relaxed and willing to stay on the "razor's edge" at all times filled with kokoro no sutemi while showing whatever state of "my outsides matching my insides" without fear is is very difficult... until it isn't. Being is a constant state of flow. Being aware and conscious of this while being completely successful at this is impossible, but being attentive to the qualities of the ongoing "randori" of life's "suchness" is THE THING. Taking part with the intent to "uplift all beings and do as little harm as possible" is the whole ball of wax as we continue .... what a joy to take part!

Well, as usual in this form of communication, too much kuchi waza. Which is why many of us love budo practice so much. It's about DOING... and the DO is the WAY... or, DO-BE, DO-BE, DO....BE!!!!..... :straightf

Best regards,

Chuck

LOL, it is great to hear your Chuck!

You (he) type(s) (talk(s)) like I think! If the idea I wanted to share was an onion, I take of the first layer and start handing it over, but before I can get there I'm saying (internally or externally) "And uh, . . ." and start to hand the next layer, and the next . . ., or I try open my mouth and then try desperately to mentally line up all the pieces of the onion so that I can "lead them to the core" before they look at me funny and walk away. But usually I end up either thinking, "Ah F^ck it!" and throw the whole onion at them or, "Never mind!" and just walk away. Because if I try, strangers just figure out I'm a simpleton and my friends just start to laugh at me like "Ha, ha! Look at Allen! He's trying to communicate again. Isn't that cute!"

Anyway, I'm just trying to say that I appreciated the denseness (in the sense of fullness in a small space) of your communication and that you bothered to do it.

Wars begin and end (formally) with words. Whether we like it or not they are a part of the whole I suppose. They are part of "doing" as well . . . particularly since we often use them to give structure to our thoughts . . .which is a kind of "doing."

Catchy tune BTW!

Kind regards,
Allen

SeiserL
07-02-2011, 03:38 PM
Hi Lynn, (not meaning to seem like a "smartass, but here goes anyway...) I figured out that I can't afford to "PAY ATTENTION", so I try "Give Attention." Of course, some days are better than others... it's very difficult to not descend to a state of being on auto pilot/not really flying... :straight.
My Dad used to say I was a smart ass. I told him the intelligence had to be somewhere.

I like the "give" rather than the "pay" attention.

Subtle reframes make a lot of differences.

I find its often in how I think about things that I create my own resistance/problems.

Yet, when I don't think about them they tend to go even worse.

"Give" attention to the balance.

Its a Goldilocks thing.

Thoughts?

SeiserL
07-02-2011, 03:44 PM
Wars begin and end (formally) with words. Whether we like it or not they are a part of the whole I suppose. They are part of "doing" as well . . . particularly since we often use them to give structure to our thoughts . . .which is a kind of "doing."
Welcome to our conversation.

I agree that wars/fights start and end with the words we use.

The biggest external battles are created by some one's own unresolved internal battles stimulated, facilitated, and perpetuated by self-talk, words.

Perhaps that is why after I talk myself into a certain direction (once its validated as positive) I quit the internal dialogue and just do it (other than of course that necessary coaching encouragement).

Life is often about knowing what words to use when we talk and when to just shut-up and breathe.

Nice to have you here.

graham christian
07-02-2011, 08:26 PM
The biggest external battles are created by some one's own unresolved internal battles stimulated, facilitated, and perpetuated by self-talk, words.
[QUOTE]

Now that I do like Lynn. A case of mindless and ill-disciplined?

Regards.G.

SeiserL
07-03-2011, 07:25 AM
A case of mindless and ill-disciplined?
IMHO, the mind is often very present and very disciplined.

Look at the strength of depression, anxiety, phobias, etc.

Its the content that is based on ignorance and attachment, negativity.

Many people are very mindful and disciplined about maintaining exactly what they don't want.

Laws of attraction and agreement would suggest we manifest whatever we focus on.

The unconscious cannot negate. Its a language/suggestion thing.

Beware what you tell yourself not to do.

Thoughts?

graham christian
07-03-2011, 08:31 AM
IMHO, the mind is often very present and very disciplined.

Look at the strength of depression, anxiety, phobias, etc.

Its the content that is based on ignorance and attachment, negativity.

Many people are very mindful and disciplined about maintaining exactly what they don't want.

Laws of attraction and agreement would suggest we manifest whatever we focus on.

The unconscious cannot negate. Its a language/suggestion thing.

Beware what you tell yourself not to do.

Thoughts?

Being present and negative as in phobias etc. I agree and also that the content is based on ignorance, attatchment, negativity.

Disciplined? This is where I differentiate and find it's time to distinguish me spiritually from the mind.

Thus the discipline is indeed me holding on to it, keeping it, using it to justify whatever. Hence all meditations basically are about spiritual concentration and letting go of such negative thoughts, the negative mind.

Thus also we come to a spiritual way of mindfulness. That is following principles of goodness, love, kindness and thus the good effects of actions. When the effects are not good then the review is in order, both spiritual and mental.

Here's the thing, spirit creates mind, spirit can handle mind and correct it or let go of it. That's my view.

So once again it's about how 'deep' or advanced we take the discipline or mindfulness, to what degree.

Indeed there's much we tell ourselves not to do, can't do, must do, etc. We build our own prisons through non-acceptance etc. We believe many things suggested to us thus belief becomes another part of the mind and may also be a nutty belief. Thus the need to spiritually wake up and and let go of that mind for this is what is meant by zen.

Zen is spiritually being in the now, thus we must first admit that a lot of the time we are not even here and thus the mind has full control.

You mention a lot in a short few sentences, I like it. These things I all take time and discipline to understand more and more like 'the law of attraction' and 'agreement'

All fascinating stuff. Personally I see the law of attraction stemming from complete non-resistance and natural or universal agreement stemming from love or unconditional love.

Aikido thus for me is a good way of expressing these things and testing them for real.

Regards.G.

SeiserL
07-03-2011, 10:43 AM
Aikido thus for me is a good way of expressing these things and testing them for real.

IMHO, if we were as strong and disciplines holding on to the positives as we were the negative, perhaps it may be a different world.

If we were as strong and disciplined (and open) to learning something new as we were to holding onto old beliefs, perhaps some of the discussion in the forum would be more productive.

I agree that Aikido has been a good opportunity to learn and put into physical practice these mental concepts and constructs.

Thoughts?

graham christian
07-03-2011, 12:41 PM
Agreed.

But once again it depends as to what is meant by the words used.

Disciplines and concepts for example are words used a lot but what as?

Using love as a set rule with no excuses would be a discipline for example. Using principles which fit love and unerringly following those principles would be a discipline.

Then we come to concepts. Concepts aren't ideas, they're not just thoughts, they're not things someone said. How many differentiate to that degree. In fact that's the art of communication is it not? To get the receiver to have a conceptual understanding of what you are saying.

So for me you can have data, ideas, beliefs, considerations, and all kinds in the mind and thus mental, but until spirit gets involved and differentiates to a conceptual understanding then it's pretty useless stuff. In fact when you finally conceptually understood how to tie your shoe lace for example then you didn't need the mind to refer to. Now all you had to do was improve your skill.

Hence I always say spiritual disciplines and concepts myself.

Well, you did ask for my thoughts. Hope they're at least interesting.(ha ha)

Regards.G.

David Warden
07-03-2011, 01:23 PM
Hi Lynn
thanks for the excellent column. An interesting subject and some fun conversations.
Doing Aikido mindfully, an interesting concept.

My understanding on doing things mindfully comes from a Buddhist weekend retreat, where one of the many things we were asked to do was to do everything mindfully. By this they meant be present in what you are doing and focus on the task in hand. So if you were washing the dishes, that is all you did. You were not thinking it was warm outside, the water was too hot, what am I doing next, I am not allowed to talk etc, you just did the task. On this task and other simple tasks, acting mindfully was difficult to do because I was not use to it, but it was made possible, because I was competent at the tasks anyway so did not have to think how to wash, clean, eat etc.

However when it comes to Aikido, acting mindfully is more of a challenge. I definitely feel that I am present and generally when I am in the dojo, the problems of the outside world are forgotten about.
I am usually focusing on the technique I am supposed to do, but whilst doing that my monkey mind is asking such questions as, why is this not working (or working), the attack is too slow/fast/weak/strong, they are too big/small/just right, did I turn too much/too little, ouch my elbow/wrist/knee hurts etc...
I know the basics of the techniques but every time is different, and the interactions are complex so it is possible to be really mindful.
Was going to try and be mindful yesterday but was playing with weapons so although I was concentrating a lot, I do think I was mindful.
I will have to experiment again tomorrow.
Thanks again
regards
David

SeiserL
07-03-2011, 08:59 PM
Well, you did ask for my thoughts. Hope they're at least interesting.(ha ha)
IMHO, the underlying purpose of writing a column is not to express my end-all be-all perception on the topic, but to be a catalyst for conversation to learn more.

A lot of what we have been talking about is the accuracy of the words we use when we talk about something, and how important it is to choose those words wisely.

Yet, we each have some of our own personal experience that we use in the transderivational search to make sense of other's word through our own relevance. Too often leading to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Other times, leading to deeper introspection and insight.

Thoughts? (Yes, I am always asking.)

SeiserL
07-03-2011, 09:08 PM
Doing Aikido mindfully, an interesting concept. My understanding on doing things mindfully comes from a Buddhist weekend retreat, where one of the many things we were asked to do was to do everything mindfully.
Welcome.

While I know O'Sensei was not Buddhist, I too often use this frame of reference of reference.

IMHO, its similar to the idea that meditation comes sequentially after relaxation, concentration, and contemplation.

When asked about cross training I often say when you do Aikido just do Aikido when you do the other arts just do the other arts. Let them integrate on their own.

I see many people practicing mind-full (with a lot on their minds other than Aikido) and mind-less (being blank as in brain dead), but I don't see many practice mindfully (intelligently consciously present).

So I see a higher level of training when one is physically intent congruent with their mental intent.

Thanks for reading and responding.

Thoughts?

graham christian
07-04-2011, 09:28 AM
IMHO, the underlying purpose of writing a column is not to express my end-all be-all perception on the topic, but to be a catalyst for conversation to learn more.

A lot of what we have been talking about is the accuracy of the words we use when we talk about something, and how important it is to choose those words wisely.

Yet, we each have some of our own personal experience that we use in the transderivational search to make sense of other's word through our own relevance. Too often leading to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Other times, leading to deeper introspection and insight.

Thoughts? (Yes, I am always asking.)

Thank you for explaining for I look at is as a discussion, a sharing, but sometimes wonder if I'm being too 'definite' in my communication.

I agree with everything you say above and yes I do believe you have a natural skill as a catalyst for sharing thoughts. An admirable quality if I may say so.

Regards.G.

SeiserL
07-04-2011, 06:52 PM
I do believe you have a natural skill as a catalyst for sharing thoughts.
IMHO, I was blessed with no natural skills.

Everything I have accomplished has been through discipline.

Proves anyone can do it.

graham christian
07-04-2011, 07:26 PM
IMHO, I was blessed with no natural skills.

Everything I have accomplished has been through discipline.

Proves anyone can do it.

Ha, ha. Nice correction. Now get back to training!

genin
08-02-2011, 03:31 PM
The means to an end must personify the end itself. If we train to be better at something, then during that training we must demonstrate improvement. If we train for excellence, then we must excel during that process. It is not always about the destination, it's how we get there.

SeiserL
08-02-2011, 05:45 PM
The means to an end must personify the end itself. If we train to be better at something, then during that training we must demonstrate improvement. If we train for excellence, then we must excel during that process. It is not always about the destination, it's how we get there.
Totally agreed.

The journey/process of getting there is the destination.