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Old 09-05-2014, 11:55 AM   #4
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,619
Re: ADHD and methods of training mental state

Anonymous User wrote: View Post
There are some great older posts by Erick Mead on ADHD, mushin, and fudoshin that track pretty closely my experience of ADHD, namely that ADHD minds tend to drive full-bore into one mode (pretty frequently mushin) without being able to access the other (usually fudoshin). It's struck me more than once that mushin was where a lot of ADHD folks spend too much of their time, stuck far too strongly in the moment, and later it occurred to me that the aikido training process is great mental training for people with ADHD because it's designed to happen with an in-the-moment state rather than hindered by it. It's experiential rather than consciously mediated, so, with practice, it shuts down or bypasses a lot of the noise of the conscious mind during training, and works with some of the attention/focus peculiarities of ADHD.

... I think a lot of meditation practices are aimed at developing mushin, though they rarely come out and say so, so it's quite possible I'm missing existing traditional forms of training because I don't recognize them. Or I may need a better understanding of the mindset, and perhaps what parts of the on-the-mat training experience are intended to encourage or support that mindset, to isolate the feeling and experiment a little. Has anyone got any thoughts or personal experience with something like this?
In fairness to the non-ADHD muggles -- they just won't get it... I'll try to recap to put it on a plainer ground:

...when nobody is bothering us ... hyperaware -- i.e. -- without much discrimination, 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 -- immovable 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. ... we need to develop fudoshin so we hold onto our natural manner of awareness.
In other words, ADHD minds have no problem totalling reorienting their flow of attention in the moment of whatever happens -- often from what to others seem exceedingly minor deviations in the environment. Not a bad combat quality .... buuuuuuut.....

It has no elasticity of return to the original subject of attention -- nor any inherent priority preference for the next item of attention to guide it. We have severe problems in governing those shifts of attention according to situationally significant priorities -- which is a BAD combat quality -- and in a lot of other areas.

What perhaps OUGHT to shift our attention often doesn't simply because something else captured it first. And so on, ... and so on ..... We would and frequently do go though life with ad hoc sequences of random snapshots of attentional events and objects. Like a madhouse scrapbook.

We do have a natural pattern of shifting from broader to increasingly tighter and more specific attention -- and then cycling in that same way, again and again. What looks like "hyperfocus" -- another aspect of ADHD -- is in reality an internal experience of an increasing pace and increasingly finer scale of attentional shifts , within an ever narrowing attentional frame. That is, until we break out of that narrow scan and shift mode into a wider scan and shift mode -- but the scan and shift never, ever stops.

What I have have found to work is this -- stop fighting shifts of attention ENTIRELY-- and simply work on framing the targets -- put every identifiable object/event/experience in your critical attentional space in its own frame -- and work on patterning your shifts from target frame to target frame, and frame target frames within target frames -- very fractal.

So the solution is -- Don't fight the cycle -- direct it and drive it. Then push to increase the pace of your cycle time across all targets in your attentional space. I had to learn this to fly instruments -- and credit to my childhood psychologist for showing me this and getting me though flight school. Generalizing it in each and every area of life has been the remaining challenge. And training in the dojo helps.

What happens is that my attention can be welded to the most seemingly repetitive physical training tasks -- precisely because with a high-cycle time of closely framed attention -- there is no such thing as any repetition of ANYTHING -- What seems externally to be boring repetition is each and every time utterly different and in some way or another even surprising because each return to a given frame is always new. It may be illusion of steady attention. But it is an illusion that works with the best of both as much as is possible for us.

Fudoshin for me consists of actually oscillating attentional shifts fast enough that the snapshots resolve to seemingly smooth action when you no longer see the framing -- like a motion picture. It's kind of like learning to ride a bike with no hands. The control is happening, not by using the overt controls -- but by using the cycle of momentum that naturally exists in the system. A lot like aikido.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-05-2014 at 11:58 AM.


Erick Mead
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