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-   -   "No Mind" - What is it? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16365)

mathewjgano 06-18-2009 11:12 AM

"No Mind" - What is it?
 
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Mark Uttech wrote: (Post 232981)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
In sports its called being in "The Zone"

Charles Hill 06-19-2009 04:43 AM

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote: (Post 233043)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Charles Hill wrote: (Post 233055)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
As I've posted before, Mihály Csíkszentmihály describes this mental state as a state of "flow":

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

The Wikipedia article above wrote:
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
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-op.../dp/0880118768

thisisnotreal 06-19-2009 02:06 PM

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Don J. Modesto wrote: (Post 233080)
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-op.../dp/0880118768

It is worth a lot.
Josh

Charles Hill 06-19-2009 05:05 PM

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 233067)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote: (Post 233069)
As I've posted before, Mihály Csíkszentmihály describes this mental state as a state of "flow":

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

-- 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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Its Like When You Drop A Glass And You Just Catch It Without Hessitation.

mathewjgano 06-19-2009 08:44 PM

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Charles Hill wrote: (Post 233090)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 233101)
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/...01992/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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Jun Akiyama wrote: (Post 233069)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 233103)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

Bill Ross wrote: (Post 233093)
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

Re: "No Mind" - What is it?
 
Quote:

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

naka-ima continued
 
Quote:

Charles Hill wrote: (Post 233117)
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:

Quote:

Barrish Sensei wrote:
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

Re: naka-ima continued
 
Quote:

Matthew Gano wrote: (Post 233386)
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


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