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Old 01-05-2007, 03:45 AM   #26
Thalib
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
-x-cut-x-

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?

Domo.
LC
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...

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 01-05-2007, 05:14 AM   #27
L. Camejo
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
The process as which is true in any phases of life:
  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Spiritual

Man can't just jump into the next step without facing the previous one. The existence of man is not only one but all of these, therefore all of them must be trained.
This is a little bit of a drift from the main point but may be important for an advanced level of understanding this concept. I agree on the 3-phase principle of training the self, however it appears that you see this as a linear progression, i.e. one needs to understand physical first, then mental, then spiritual. I agree that there is some benefit to this, but human beings do not exist as body, mind and spirit at different times but simultaneously, hence even though one may engage in physical practice, if done properly it will be of benefit to the other levels of being in some form. The reverse is also true. In this sense the progression can be simultaneous on all levels and not necessarily one at a time.
Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
If we are talking about muscle memory, reflexes, instinct, for me this still falls into the physical part, it's a psycho-motoric function. When we touch a pot that is hot, we quickly draw backour hands because we know it's hot. The body affects the mind, as I usually call this first part.
Actually it is debatable whether in the above case body affects mind all the time. We can program ourselves out of the reaction to pull away the hand, regardless of the potential damage and pain to be experienced. We see this a lot with people who walk on hot coals etc. The reflex can be trained by the mind to manifest differently as the mind requires. In this case, mind leads body. This concept is also shared with a lot of Budo as well as Chinese training methods. Where the body meets its limitations the mind can take it further with training, so bodily reflexes can be trained and changed by a strong mind.

The act of entering off-line into the space of an attack in Aikido is counter-intuitive (intuitive is to stand there and raise ones hands to protect critical areas). As such, the application of Mu Shin in a physical Aikido context already involves a mental and physical reprogramming of reflexes, i.e. enter and blend instead of brace for the force of the attack.
Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
You don't intentionally move, you accept the energy that is given to you and move proportionately to that energy, nothing less and nothing more.
I think this is important to the application of Mu Shin from an Aikido perspective.
Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
The practice that I'm referring to here is not ukemi as one would perceive as break-fall or rolling or the sort, but more as a practice to receive energy/force and act accordingly.
Agreed. This applies to both Tori and Uke in both kata practice and to randori and free practice, just in different ways.
Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
This is where the mental part comes in handy, if we do not think of ukemi not as how to fall, but how to feel, we will undertand the principle of acceptance easier. This paradigm, way of thinking, is not easy as I too still struggling with this.
This is another example of mind leading the body. The change in mindset directly affects the change in how one deals with the encounter physically. It means the difference in minuscule levels of resistance that the mind can create within the body's musculature as a result of how one approaches the encounter. Often if we approach something with fear of injury or pain or interpretation of this discomfort (mental) translates physically into very slight changes in muscle tension. As soon as the mind relaxes the muscles also relax. As a Shiatsu practitioner it always amazes me how much involuntary tension can be stored as a result of mindset.
Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
By saying mushin is not exactly complete, the term that is better used is mushin no shin, the mind of no mind, making it a paradox.

As a closing, I would say don't think too much about mushin no shin or try too hard to understand/practice it, because by doing that, you are already straying away.
I take the word Mu Shin directly from the usage of Tomiki Shihan who had a pretty good systematic understanding of the concept in order to setup training methods to develop it. Imho the need to make the concept a paradox is in itself a way of fettering the mind, which is the antithesis of what we are discussing. Saying "mind of no mind" although a paradox of sorts is akin to saying "think of not thinking" the first word the mind encounters is the word "mind" or think" creating the subconscious thought pattern that Mu Shin is a mindset or form of thought. The problem is that Mu Shin moves beyond thought or mind when one really gets into it, so identifying it as "mind of no mind", i.e. as some sort of mindset psychologically moves you away from attaining no-mindedness from the start imho.

Just my 5 cents. I reserve the right to be wrong.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-05-2007, 05:25 AM   #28
L. Camejo
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
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.
Actually I am not dwelling on it at all. What I am doing is trying to get an idea of how such a critical part of the Aikido strategic and philosophical paradigm is actually developed in other training methods. I hear a lot of the philosophical, cosmic harmony rhetoric but don't see nearly as much training methods and evaluation systems that induce or encourage the development or discovery of Mu Shin in the student at any level.

I am just wondering if, like spontaneous practical technical ability, it is hoped that one day the student will just understand or get some sort of enlightenement or it will happen via osmosis, instead of having some measurable means of guiding and training the student towards this ability. At least in Ki Society they have Ki tests from which one can infer one's development in "Ki" ability, is there anything that gives a similar measurement for Mu Shin or does one simply have to hope for the best?

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:34 AM   #29
eyrie
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

How do you train to achieve a state of mind....?? Aye... there's the rub.... Such endeavours to achieve the mind of no mind is not peculiar to Aikido.... many spend countless hours in contemplative reflection puzzling over meaningless poems in search of the Truth.

That... or just train...

Blindfolds are good... what the eye cannot see, the "mind" may perceive...

Ignatius
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:16 AM   #30
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
To think about not thinking, it is already thinking

One should not think about not thinking at all

Agreed!

Only one fine point here, most of the time, the above it true, when doing things like, math, taxes, etc. thinking is a useful/necessary tool. But we here in the West are waaay too much in our heads.

HNY 2007
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:43 AM   #31
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:
Only one fine point here, most of the time, the above it true, when doing things like, math, taxes, etc. thinking is a useful/necessary tool.
I want to retract the above quote, the more I ponder it, the more a centered, rooted mind/spirit can do taxes!
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:54 AM   #32
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

..

Last edited by Mike Galante : 01-05-2007 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:49 PM   #33
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib wrote:
Mushin no shin... the mind of no mind... I wrote something about this about a year back...

You could check it out in my journal below:

The mind of no mind - mushin no shin - 無心の心

Really beautiful, nice writing, clear.
I recommend this as required reading!

Mike
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:51 PM   #34
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:

Blindfolds are good... what the eye cannot see, the "mind" may perceive...
"Luke, stretch out with your feelings"- Obi-Wan
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:21 PM   #35
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Larry, I think you bring up a vey good point about mushin and aikido and a light bulb sort of went off in my head. I believe you are correct. I think my good friend Min illuded to this, but I missed it in his post until know.

If aikido does nothing else, it develops mushin better than any single practice I have done. Not sure how this differs from states derived in yoga or say Tai Chi, but I think figuratively at least we concentrate on this one point greatly in aikido. Especially in bokken work. In order to be successful, you must acheive mushin.

I will have to give this a great deal of thought for sure, as I do believe that we achieve no mind in BJJ as well. We call it muscle memory I think. I don't really think about what I am doing, simply respond to what is in the moment. However, the key difference I think between the methodology of BJJ and Aikido is that mushin is more directly critical or rewarded as an isolated dynamic in aikido maybe than in any other art I have practiced.

I think mushin can probably best be practiced in solitary meditation, but It seems like we always talk about the challenged associated with maintaining that state in daily life. I think, just maybe aikido is a wonderful practice that allows us to bridge that chasm and allows us to translate the practice into the physical and secular world a little more, especially when confronted with conflict and things that want to disrupt that state.
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:24 PM   #36
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Iriawan said in a post that the only truth is no truth since truth is defined by perceptions of people.

Actually Krishnamurti says almost the exact same thing!

When we define a truth, we define a duality. To have a truth means something else must be the opposite of that truth right?

"Do no Harm, Stop Harm"

Or if you see the buddha Kill him.

Interesting paradox all this creates!
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:56 PM   #37
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I will have to give this a great deal of thought for sure, as I do believe that we achieve no mind in BJJ as well. We call it muscle memory I think. I don't really think about what I am doing, simply respond to what is in the moment. However, the key difference I think between the methodology of BJJ and Aikido is that mushin is more directly critical or rewarded as an isolated dynamic in aikido maybe than in any other art I have practiced.
Kevin, you hit upon a critical point here imho. When I roll with Judoka and Jujutsu guys, especially the good ones, one is enticed to get into this zone where one just relaxes and feels everything happening around them to feel the places where a submission or choke can be applied or at least places where leverage can be obtained to get into a superior position. I've been caught on more than one occasion closing my eyes when grappling on the ground to better feel my opponent and not get distracted by visual stimuli. One becomes very aware of one's orientation to the ground, relative position with the body of one's partner, lines of power and weakness, points of balance etc. During these times for some reason rolling never has the kind of exhausting effect it normally has since one has to focus on mind and body working in harmony to get anything to work right.

In Aikido I think the concept of Mu Shin and sensitivity become even more critical due to the ma ai being used, i.e. one of physical touch separation. This brings the question of how different sensory inputs affect one's operations within the Mu Shin state. Due to the longer range for Aikido one has to use eyesight (metsuke) and whatever other "range" senses one can apply to detect subtle changes in the opponent's mindset, movement and intent to attack. Since we are talking milliseconds between intent and action one needs to be quite sensitive to the other's actions. This is where we start hearing things like "project ki" towards the attacker which in my mind is a means of feeling out the attacker by bringing all the senses into play, sort of like echo-location but without the use of sound (if that makes any sense).

In grappling it's a lot easier to get into the state of proportionate movement alluded to earlier since one is often within very close contact and well within touch range of the aggressor. Touch adds a whole other level of sensory stimuli than eyesight does and I think this may have something to do with why grabs are used so much in Aikido training also. It helps to build that sense of connectivity through touch that we find in the closer range grappling arts. In Aikido however this sensitivity does not stop at the touch range but must also be projected over the distance between the attacker and the practitioner.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I think mushin can probably best be practiced in solitary meditation, but It seems like we always talk about the challenged associated with maintaining that state in daily life. I think, just maybe aikido is a wonderful practice that allows us to bridge that chasm and allows us to translate the practice into the physical and secular world a little more, especially when confronted with conflict and things that want to disrupt that state.
I agree. Meditation is a great way of achieving a static state of Mu Shin (where the body is not required to move instinctively). Aikido practice then challenges one to manifest the static state into a dynamic one. Reminds me of the whole static Zen and moving Zen paradigm.

Some interesting stuff to chew on I agree.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:10 AM   #38
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

IMHO, one of the distinctions I like to offer is that there are things in life that are a "make" and there are things that are a "let".

You can't "make" someone love you, but you can "let" them. Love is a "let".

Spontaneity is a "let".

Mushin, no-thing-ness, is a "let".

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:07 AM   #39
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, one of the distinctions I like to offer is that there are things in life that are a "make" and there are things that are a "let".

You can't "make" someone love you, but you can "let" them. Love is a "let".

Spontaneity is a "let".

Mushin, no-thing-ness, is a "let".
This is true, and just like love and spontaneity there are things one can do with the mind and body that will enhance the possibility of "letting" Mu Shin happen.

Chance favours the prepared mind (and body in this case).
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:06 PM   #40
Mike Galante
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Larry,
I think mushin can probably best be practiced in solitary meditation, but It seems like we always talk about the challenged associated with maintaining that state in daily life. I think, just maybe aikido is a wonderful practice that allows us to bridge that chasm and allows us to translate the practice into the physical and secular world a little more, especially when confronted with conflict and things that want to disrupt that state.
Quote:
Camejo Larry wrote:
I agree. Meditation is a great way of achieving a static state of Mu Shin (where the body is not required to move instinctively). Aikido practice then challenges one to manifest the static state into a dynamic one. Reminds me of the whole static Zen and moving Zen paradigm.
Amen brothers, my point exactly. Can't be said better than that.
For me, the meditation shortens the time you get there.
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:28 PM   #41
Thalib
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

I actually don't really have anything more to add, as all of you have explained it so well.

Just as an end note:

At the end of my journal, I made a note that, "I am guilty of making my own conventions"

The things that I have said here is how I materialized a concept which really could not be materialized, at least in the relative sense. To me it's just a starting point.

As Kevin, Larry, and Mike discussed, meditation, dynamic or static in nature, will lead us to quickly understand this concept of "no-thing-ness".

As Seiser-san said, mushin falls into "let", so we do need to just... accept it.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:19 PM   #42
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Nice punctuation to a great thread. Good luck in your and our other friends continued spiritual development.

Jupiters_son

Mike Galante

Last edited by Mike Galante : 01-07-2007 at 08:31 PM.
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