Larry Camejo wrote:
To talk about being in a state of nothingness is easy. How do you teach a beginner to achieve this state and how do you test or check to ensure that it is in fact there (or not there)? When it is achieved how do you ensure that it is not lost again?
Saying only nothingness could be misleading to some. Again the use of paradox is helpful, as Lao Tzu used when explaining Tao.
I read somewhere... I forgot whether it was "The Book of Five Rings" or "The Unfettered Mind" or one of the other Budo books I have read... The term used was "thing of no thing", another paradox.
My recommendation is not to dwell in it so much, it will be quite frustrating. The concept is not something to be understood quickly, but it is to mature, to evolve, with age and wisdom.
While you are still young and able, do a lot of the physical part. Starting from fudoushisei. Learn how to sit, stand, and walk properly, with one mind and body, united. Not just in the dojo, but in daily life. It's pretty pointless if it all goes away when you exit the door, the true practice is when you are not in the dojo.
You may be able to understand the physical part of this, but the mental part is not so easy. Even if we could execute fudoushisei physically, but could we execute the mental part of it, fudoushin.
Fudoushisei, the immovable posture, is still measurable in a way. People could test you by pushing you or lifting you. If they have difficulty of doing that, then you are on your way in understanding this particular principle.
Fudoushin, the unfettered mind, is not as easy. Only you know when it is true. We may still be able to be immovable physically, but our mind could still be in turmoil. The argument that people have on this is if your mind is not one, it will be reflected in the body. Well, this is not always true, I see some practitioners have immovable postures, but I know that their mind is not one.
How could this be so? In a way, it is reflected on their body. It is immovable, but it is rigid and tense. It is strong, but it is static. The mind was not in the right place, it was filled with negative emotions. But because the practitioner understand how to do it physically, the body is then immvoable.
Flexible mind - flexible body, rigid mind - rigid body. Positive and negative emotions, both are powerful, but one will give life and the other one will take. Like the principle of the sword that kills and the sword that gives life, satsujinken - katsujinken. This is all highly philosophical, but it is one of the steps.
To understand the thing of no-thing, the mind of no mind, you could start from the physical exercises such as the above, apply the principles in daily life and in different applications such as eating, drinking, showering, bathing, and even sleeping.
The practice should be coupled with positive mental attitude, non-prejudicial and non-discriminative. I'm not talking about racially here, but in everything. It is best not to quickly judge people, rushing into a decision, or having unhealthy conflicts.
Conflict is a part of harmony, but if you are stuck in conflict it could have detrimental effects. Conflict is good as a part of the process towards harmony.
Again, as my previous post, for me, it is good to start from the principle of acceptance. Just to clear up the semantic, acceptance is not to be confused with submission.
We all have to start somewhere...