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Old 08-01-2007, 09:27 PM   #6
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,603
Re: Mechanics of mushin

There was a great quote by Louis Armstrong when asked about Jazz...

Man, if you have to ask what it is, you'll never know.
As already mentioned your best bet to find western interpretations of similar phenomena would be to look up the concept of "flow states". It was an "in" topic for a while fairly recently in popular psych especially.

For me, I often use music as a comparison myself. Take playing classical piano. You start learning how to move your hands. You learn more and more control. You learn the notes. You start to learn the piece. Eventually you play it the way it was written. Hopefully at some point you stop playing notes and start playing music. At that point you're no longer thinking fingers, notes, pauses, pedal control, etc. You're just playing music. At some point you finish the music but in a weird way you're not really conscious of having played the piece as much as the piece kinda "flowed" out of you. You may be sweaty, you may be tired, you may notice your fingers, hands and arms are tired, but you where never conscious of any of that while playing.

Sometimes, very rarely, I get the same feeling during practice. Fleeting moments of clarity of mind, the slowing of time, things just happening and me doing something or another but I really don't know why. If you ask maybe I'll come up with some ad hoq explanation of why I did it. But ultimately... It just happened.

You might also consider the book Blink by Gladwell. Kinda touches on similar themes but from a different angle.

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