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Old 06-29-2011, 08:37 AM   #11
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 888
United_States
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Re: Shugyo: Mindfully Train

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.
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