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Old 01-02-2007, 05:05 AM   #1
L. Camejo
 
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How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
When we are in a state of oneness, or nothingness, then the sense of time changes, and it is a matter of onenness or blending or duality. Time is unimportant.
The above is a snippet of a response in this thread speaking about using varying attack speed levels to work on different aspects of waza training.

My question is if the "state of nothingness" allows one to transcend time and by extension, timing in Aikido then how does one develop this ability in the sense of physical technique?

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

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:15 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
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?
IMHO, you do not teach "beginners" no-thing-ness other than as a direction oriented concept.

That said, train slowly and relaxed, attempt to keep the mind as still/empty as possible, breathe, and enjoy yourself.

No-thing-ness refers more to the attachment to something, so slow randori teaches going from one "thing" to another without staying attached.

Read sport psychology "flow" or "peak performance" states.

You achieve it by what you don't do rather than what you do. If it lingers, stays attached to itself, you have already lost it.

Did that muddy the mind more?

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 01-02-2007, 12:58 PM   #3
mriehle
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

If I am nothing, I do not exist and therefore require no training, nor have I any purpose.

If I am not attached to things - even those that I care about - I can choose right action even when I might find it distasteful. Moreover, I am likely to do so without "conscious" thought.

When we think of conscious thought we usually mean thinking in symbols or language. There are levels of thought that happen without such symbols. Training those is much harder and at least as important as training "conscious" thought.

I'd say more important when it comes to physical action because such thought happens faster and is more directly connected to our physical being.

I dislike the the disconnection that seems inherent in training to empty ourselves. It seems to be as much a form of escapism as a form of training. To think without attachment, to decide without conscious thought does not require emptiness, it requires training to think in that way.

It is not, really, training to be "nothing" but to do no thing. Even that can be misleading. To do "no thing" is not inaction, but action in the most useful and productive way because we are open to it.

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Old 01-02-2007, 01:05 PM   #4
Cady Goldfield
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Are you talking about mushin (no mind)? Nothing mystical about that; it's just the process of being so engrossed in what you're doing at the moment to verbally/intellectually be aware of or analyze what you're doing, or that you're doing anything at all.

To achieve this rarified state, I recommend having lots of sex, or hitting your big toe with a hammer. Both will get you where you want to go.

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Old 01-02-2007, 01:28 PM   #5
Ron Tisdale
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
I recommend
A) having lots of sex, or

b) hitting your big toe with a hammer.
Uh, I choose A.

Now if I can just get more frequent flyer miles...

B,
R (Cady...step away from the hammer!!!)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:02 PM   #6
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Are you talking about mushin (no mind)?
Well, that's certainly what I think of in this case, although I've come to believe that "mushin" or "no mind" is a misnomer and extremetly misleading to a lot of people.

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Nothing mystical about that;
Okay, I agree with this statement. It's part of what I don't like about some of the attempts to make it mystical.

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
it's just the process of being so engrossed in what you're doing at the moment to verbally/intellectually be aware of or analyze what you're doing, or that you're doing anything at all.
I personally love the term "flow" for this state. It's not that you don't analyze, you may well do, but the analysis is so automatic and so effortless that the connections you make seem to happen of their own volition.

As a software developer I find I cannot write code effectively unless I achieve a flow state.

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
To achieve this rarified state, I recommend having lots of sex, or hitting your big toe with a hammer. Both will get you where you want to go.
I'll take door number three, mostly (though I like door number one, it's just not practical with so many kids in the house ). Just learn to be in flow in whatever you are doing.

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Old 01-02-2007, 02:29 PM   #7
Mike Galante
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
My question is if the "state of nothingness" allows one to transcend time and by extension, timing in Aikido then how does one develop this ability in the sense of physical technique?
Words are totally inadequate for this topic, but what the hell I've made a fool of myself enough in this forum why stop now.

Here are the words, from my head. Nothingness is a state/place within this is pre-manifestation, pre-energy, pre-everything. It is the place from which creation springs. If you are there, then "technique" is born organically in your Aikido.
The paradox is that if you are at the vortex of this universe, then all about you is alive and in total harmony as your being is at this peaceful center.

As I have had glimpses, both on the soccer pitch, and on the mat. You are surrendered, no desires. You have no opponent, you see his mind coming before he does, so therefore he cannot hit or capture you. When you move and evade effortlessly you do not say, oh what at great move that was, or oh I have achieved oneness. You will break the connection with the universal and you will cease to be at one. There is no need to worry about timing or anything else. It is exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.

Here are a few ways to achieve:

1) meditation/spiritual practice kototama and other mind stilling exercises done faithfully with whole mind daily.

2) practice on the mat with the same intensity as # 1).

Nothing new under the sun.

My $0.02

Got to go to class,

Mike
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:32 PM   #8
L. Camejo
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

My experience has been moreso along the lines indicated by Cady and Michael.

Let's say that the "state of nothingness" is what we refer to as Mushin (No Mind). It is often accompanied with Mu Gamae (No Posture) when speaking in Budo terms. In the physical, technical sense these basically mean that in dealing with conflict our minds are not fettered or distracted by a multitude of thoughts or our bodies are not set in stances or postures that make it difficult for free movement in all possible directions.

Regarding the original post, I am relating the concept of nothingness/oneness directly to the act of dealing with conflict and the use of timing in accordance with physical Aikido principles. The comment that I quoted indicated that when one achieves this state of oneness or nothingness the concept of time is unimportant. This by its nature renders the concept of timing also unimportant.

This makes some sense if we see ourselves as directly connected to the source of the conflict for the sake of redirecting its energy along a non-destructive path. In this light the source of conflict and the source of resolution are in fact different elements of the same reality, thus a connectivity or oneness is achieved between Uke and Tori in an Aikido context.

The question then is how do you develop this in your own training, or as an instructor how do you foster this in your students from the earliest stages? For most practitioners (including Yudansha) the changes in the speed of an attack will have a direct effect on how timing is used to deal with that attack. The speed directly affects when you decide to get off line and often how you decide to do so. The modifications in timing to deal with different speeds of attack may be negligible but if they are miscalculated the result is a failed technique since initial avoidance of the attack will not be achieved or Tori moves too early, inviting a change in direction of the initial attack or a follow up attack to Tori's new position.

Getting back to Cady's example I have found that this ability to instantly deal with whatever attack is coming towards Tori is most times found when Tori is under severe pressure with attacks in rapid succession. In this case there is no time for the mind to settle and become attached to anything otherwise the attack lands, the body also adapts accordingly, not being given the opportunity to set itself into any static posture due to the high likelihood of being struck.

From my experience, training that is done too slowly allows the mind to wander a bit while the body is engaged in the activity of excuting waza. This wandering can easily entice the mind to become fettered on something other than the situation at hand, resulting in a loss of connectivity with the Uke and the potential of being surprised or taken off balance. The act of surprise itself is directly related to the disruption in mindset and posture.

In our training the "nothingness" state is developed by using drills and randori practice to get the beginner out of the "reactive" mindest into a more proactive mindset. One does not "sit back" mentally and physically to wait for Uke's attack and then respond but one is encouraged to connect with one's partner is such a way that every miniscule movement of the mind/body is detected, allowing Tori to instantaneously detect suki in the attack and enter. Over time this developoment becomes less and less conscious and becomes more ingrained as a natural movement in response to the attack. If the speed suddenly changes one instantly detects the forces that pre-empt the change and adapt accordingly.

Anyway that is what I was thinking when I heard the original quote and asked the original question. For beginners it is important to achieve a good feel for timing before one considers transcending timing via mushin. But that is imho.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:02 PM   #9
Cady Goldfield
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
-snip- Just learn to be in flow in whatever you are doing.
Flow is fine. I also like the phrase "in the groove." You hit your groove and go with it, completely absorbed in the moment.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:30 PM   #10
mriehle
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Flow is fine. I also like the phrase "in the groove." You hit your groove and go with it, completely absorbed in the moment.
What both terms have in common is that they do not imply that your mind has somehow checked out of the equation. In fact, both imply that your mind is working at peak effeciency.

Seems right to me.

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Old 01-02-2007, 05:52 PM   #11
eyrie
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Are you talking about mushin (no mind)? Nothing mystical about that; it's just the process of being so engrossed in what you're doing at the moment to verbally/intellectually be aware of or analyze what you're doing, or that you're doing anything at all.

To achieve this rarified state, I recommend having lots of sex, or hitting your big toe with a hammer. Both will get you where you want to go.

Hmmm, I like the way you think...

Self-or-assisted flagellation and mind-altering substances can create a similar state of mind too, and can sometimes be BETTER than sex.

But that's DO-ing something to create No-thing....

Why not just simply.... BE... ? Like a child, engrossed in the moment... not No-thing-ness and not Full-ness... just BEING....

We are not Human Doings...

Ignatius
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:22 PM   #12
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

So I guess one can simply "be" and they will have the skill necessary to instantly adapt to any sort of aggression at speed and automatically transcend time/space to manifest the ideal technique for the situation.

Man I should just quit training right now then.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:27 PM   #13
crbateman
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
To achieve this rarified state, I recommend having lots of sex...
Don't y'all start without me...
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:44 PM   #14
eyrie
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
So I guess one can simply "be" and they will have the skill necessary to instantly adapt to any sort of aggression at speed and automatically transcend time/space to manifest the ideal technique for the situation.

Man I should just quit training right now then.
You can study medicine. But can you BE a doctor? You may have the paper qualification or knowledge required to practice medicine. BUT... can you BE a doctor?

If ONLY it was THAT easy...

Maybe Cady's advice would be easier to follow...

Ignatius
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:26 PM   #15
L. Camejo
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
You can study medicine. But can you BE a doctor? You may have the paper qualification or knowledge required to practice medicine. BUT... can you BE a doctor?

If ONLY it was THAT easy...

Maybe Cady's advice would be easier to follow...
Or maybe the entire statement about "just being" is not applicable to the question at hand and the reality is a bit more complex than "just being."

On another note, does being engrossed in the moment mean exclusion of the wider reality beyond the individual and the subject of his attention? If this is the case then "being totally engrossed in the moment" is not the same as Mushin which implies an awareness that includes the immediate reality but is expanded to detect threats from outside the immediate vicinity also. This can be seen best when applied in a multiple attacker situation.

Lastly, I think the "go with the flow" concept is not a bad one, but this implies already being in the stream of the aggressor's intent and actions. However one first has to get into the flow or stream of movement, on a physical level this means tai sabaki and positioning oneself out of the path of the attack but within range to apply technique at any point. If one just stands there one will get hit so part of Mushin or oneness with the aggressor must also deal with the initial evasion of the engagement whilst maintaining a level of connection with the attacker.

I'm yet to get any other training methods on how this level of awareness and application is developed.

Gambatte.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:44 PM   #16
geoffsaulnier
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

The interesting thing about this mental state is that your personal goals, your training, your overall attitude and what you are striving for have a huge bearing on the outcome of a mushin event. In other words, forasmuch as you may react to a situation without thinking (we have all done this, more likely not in a martial arts sense - remember the last time you answered someone without thinking then had to go and apologise? ), the outcome will be determined by a lot of factors to do with you...

Taking an attack situation where you react instinctively, you might find (when the dust settles) that your reaction went too far (or not far enough!). This is not a coincidence - what comes out of you depends on what went in to you before you let yourself go.

This is why trying to achieve mushin should be preceded by a lot of meditation, introspection, cleansing - deconstruct yourself, examine the bits, identify what/who you think you want to be and be aware that this should be a living state (ie: you will always be changing, but you should try to guide those changes to "the better" with awareness), then put yourself back together with all that in mind, adding the bits you want and discarding those you don't want.

After that, when you slip into mushin, the reactions will result in an outcome that will probably be reasonably satisfactory (to you).

Apart from that, just train. A lot. And then some more.

Eventually, you will come to a state where you know that, when you let yourself go, you'll be where you want to be or thereabouts. There are no rules, and where you want to be may or may not be something I would be happy with, but it's not up to me: it's up to you. It _is_ you (a very pure expression of you). All I know is that the more I train, the more I seem to drift in the same direction as other people I know who have been training for a long, long time - we tend towards peace and harmony with a layer of steel in it. We blend and bend until it comes time to cut through - it is very difficult to blend or bend with confidence without having the ability & mental strength to cut through. That strength is the base that gives you the confidence to dial down your reactions. You have the ability to utterly destroy, but refrain from using that. A weaker base results in (often painful) escalation. It always irks me when someone who has also been training for a long time comes along and their expression clashes with what I percieve to be the majority. Then again, that's my problem, not theirs.

Sorry - I think I am in a rambling mood... Must be the holidays.

G>

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Geoff Saulnier
Blending works for coffee...
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:44 PM   #17
Cady Goldfield
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Larry,
I'd say (from personal experience) that in combat, there are two separate - but connected - factors involved: a state of hyper-readiness and aggression (a controlled form of "fight-or-flight" instinct), and complete in-the-moment focus.

The former provides adrenaline, which causes the perception that time and movement have slowed down, and that objects in your immediate area seem larger and more looming.

The latter is the state of "flow" or "groove" we discussed, which puts you in utter focus and concentration on the task at hand. In tandem, these factors permit the coordinated actions of combat (or simulated combat).

It's definitely not a state of being zoned out or just being focused on one particular thing. I believe it comes from having trained in the "whole package." A violinist may become lost in the moment of his music-making, to the exclusion of all that is around him (There are many accounts of musicians saying that they were not aware of the audience being there, or even of the walls of the concert hall), but a martial artist can't afford to be. He/she must have a spatial awareness more akin to that of a trapeze artist or other performer whose surroundings (and other individuals) play a key role in his activity and his survival.

Interesting subject...
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Old 01-02-2007, 10:04 PM   #18
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

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

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
--------
http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:28 AM   #19
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

wow, lots to read and ponder. It will take me a few hours to work my way through this.

A couple of thoughts though. I am reading some of Krishnamurti's writings on meditation right now, so I am some what influenced by him at this time.

I think that the basic principle of no mind is to strip away all of the paradigms, prejudices, assumptions, attitudes, fears...etc that we use to percieve the world around us. That is, reach the truth.

Once we reach the truth, we can see things for as they really are.

I think O'sensei probably felt that if you could do this, then you could honestly respond appropriately and honestly relate to the world around you. This extended to physical confrontation as well.

Krishnamurti felt that the sole purpose of meditation was to help us reach the state of truth.

I see this directly relating to no mind.

It may be semantics again, but I do not think that it is possible to see something happen before it actually happens, i.e. see into the future. I think what can happen though is that the better we understand the truth, the more responsive we can be.

That may translate into right action taken before it manifest into physical action.

I think we have all had experiences in which after the fact we say "man i should have seen that coming!"

meditation is a tool that will allow us to see the truth, but it in itself does not give us the skills needed to respond to every situation.

Hence, the example about being a doctor above.

I was very sick a few months back, I intrinsically new I was sick, I'd like to think because I am very in tune with my KI. Docs thought I was crazy because nothing showed up on test, but I felt sick. After a month of test and admission in to the best tropical disease clinic in Germany....it turned out I had mono They simply did not run the right test!

While I knew I was sick, others did not percieve it, and I did not possess the skills necessary to correctly diagnose and treat my illness.

Aikido I think is much in line with this. It can be a form of physical meditation, we can enhance our ability to read people honestly and truthfully, but we must also read and understand ourselves. It also gives us skills theorectically to deal with the physical manifestation of conflict as well.

Nothing mystical or magical. I don't think though that you can see into the future, or dodge bullets before they are fired, but all of us can certainly go a long way in setting karma in a different direction by becoming more aware of our influence and place in the world.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:00 AM   #20
Mike Galante
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Great post, Kevin.
The question here is what is truth? Is it a concept from the mind or is it a state of being? The axis of knowledge and intelligence vs. wisdom and being. Knowing (O) is looking back and remembering, naming. The moment is lost.
Its like walking through a beautiful garden with your loved one and naming the genus, species of the flowers as you walk. Very intelligent, but the moment is diminished, the childlike wonder of the beauty, color, fragrance, the effect of the flower on the soul, to open and expand and by being so, sharing this with your loved one (A).
The act of naming, eg oh that is a tree, oh that is a technique. Robs one of the total experience.
That is the way I see Aikido, like has been mentioned, learning chords on an instrument, then when it becomes part of you, it doesn't have to be thought about. We begin to feel more on the mat, the feeling nature is more expansive, and can take us further.
Kevin, you may not think that the future can be seen, but many mystics say that when you are "there" the past, present and future can be experienced.
Personally I think that Ueshiba Aikido was transcendent. People talk about slowed time during an accident, more time to react, people are facing death possibly at that moment, seeing and reacting to possible choices. Life events may passed before the mind. Why can't we train to transcend as well? Logical mind only takes us so far.

Thanks, kev, I used to ponder this stuff all the time, I think it is a necessary step. Now I just try to achieve by surrendering to these higher powers, God, call it what you will. I already believe it is possible.

"Trust in the force Luke"

HNY

Mike
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:02 PM   #21
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Lightbulb Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:
Great post, Kevin.
The question here is what is truth?

-x-cut-x-

"Trust in the force Luke"

HNY

Mike
We live in a relative world, knowing only relative truth

The only absolute truth in this relative world is that there is none

Even infinity is not absolut. We say infinite because we cannot see the boundaries, so we say it is boundless. Does the boundary exist or not? We do not know because we never see it. If we see it, then we say the boundary exist. If we don't see it, the most human thing to say is, "It does not exist. I don't see it, therefore it is not there".

Even the universe right now is relative. It is bound by one of the rule that is of time and space. But, time and space existed only after the big bang, the beginning of the universe. What existed before that?

People would say nothingness, but this is not exactly true. Scientists would answer that they simply don't know. Something might exist before the big bang, but we can't perceive it because everything we live by, everything we know, is bound by time and space. So what happens if time and space does not exist? Or maybe it exist in another form than we cannot detect with all of our senses? Do we still say it does not exist?

Mushin no shin, the mind of no mind... in our relative world, people would think nihilism, others would say our way of thought and movement have become instinctual. As for instincts or muscle memory or reflexes or relaxation, etc., these are true up to a point, but it extends far greater than that.

As for how, a little bit of it I wrote it here:
http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/journal/item/35

Last edited by Thalib : 01-04-2007 at 08:05 PM. Reason: Added link

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:16 PM   #22
Thalib
 
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Lightbulb Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Michele Galante wrote:
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Personally I think that Ueshiba Aikido was transcendent. People talk about slowed time during an accident, more time to react, people are facing death possibly at that moment, seeing and reacting to possible choices. Life events may passed before the mind. Why can't we train to transcend as well? Logical mind only takes us so far.

Thanks, kev, I used to ponder this stuff all the time, I think it is a necessary step. Now I just try to achieve by surrendering to these higher powers, God, call it what you will. I already believe it is possible.

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I have nothing else to say, but just to agree with you on this one.

In the end... what are you trying to achieve with your Aikido?

There are many levels of answers to this...

Last edited by Thalib : 01-04-2007 at 08:18 PM. Reason: Added [quote]

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:02 PM   #23
L. Camejo
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Larry,
I'd say (from personal experience) that in combat, there are two separate - but connected - factors involved: a state of hyper-readiness and aggression (a controlled form of "fight-or-flight" instinct), and complete in-the-moment focus.

The former provides adrenaline, which causes the perception that time and movement have slowed down, and that objects in your immediate area seem larger and more looming.

The latter is the state of "flow" or "groove" we discussed, which puts you in utter focus and concentration on the task at hand. In tandem, these factors permit the coordinated actions of combat (or simulated combat).
I think Cady made some good points above.

From my experience I think the "aikido" expression of Mushin may be along the lines of your first example, except that the aggression response tends to be balanced a bit where the correct response (i.e. degree of aggression/receptivity) is used to restore balance to the situation, allowing one to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict where possible and if not possible, do what is necessary to put an end to the aggression.
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Aikido I think is much in line with this. It can be a form of physical meditation, we can enhance our ability to read people honestly and truthfully, but we must also read and understand ourselves. It also gives us skills theorectically to deal with the physical manifestation of conflict as well.

Nothing mystical or magical.
Kevin has a good point here imho. I think the Mu Shin state allows one to correctly read the situation such that any physical movement required to deal with the situation is best achieved from a state of Mu Gamae. Like Cady alluded to, it is a state of hyper-readiness in mind and body. Many get caught up in pondering about Mu Shin without realizing that it cannot be physically manifested without Mu Gamae.

I personally don't think that there is necessarily anything mystical to this in its manifest (physical) expression, though one can pretty easily extrapolate the basic physical concept towards a more macrocosmic manifestation.

The word "instinctive" comes to mind since imho the signals read or detected in the Mu Shin state do not arrive at the cerebrum to be processed and mulled over but tend to stay within instinctive, natural or conditioned nervous system respones to certain stimuli since the response required is often instantaneous, not allowing for the luxury of deep analysis by the cerebrum. I think however that the acts that are possible within the Mu Shin Mu Gamae state are set firmly within the realm of physical and mental human capacity and is not attributable in any direct way to the work of any "force" per se, except as perceived or manifested by the mind of the individual.

Now there are aspects in different methods of meditation where one surrenders oneself to the actions/promptings/signals/guidance of a different/higher cosmic "force" and tunes into the "cosmic flow" so to speak but this to me is really something entirely different and separate from the concept of Mushin as expressed in Japanese Budo. Often, especially when information is limited, we attribute to external forces that which can be explained by well coordinated internal forces imho. Honestly if one needed to believe in God to achieve Mushin then one of my own Sensei would never have been able to achive it with the regularity and quality that he does. I think it is important to define things based on what they are and not what they can possibly be as a result of extrapolation and interpolation.

Getting back ot the main topic question, i.e. training, I think it is even more important to be very critical as to how the concept of "nothingness/oneness" is defined for the student and for their training, else for the Instructors among us, we do our students a great disservice by creating possible confusion where we should be creating clarity having "gone before". Attainment of Mu Shin does not require one to believe in mysticism, however it may stimulate that part of ourselves which does delve deeply into mystical concepts, hence the confusion of one with the other.

Kevin's mention of the "truth" is also important since the achievement of Mu Shin is directly related to realizing the truth within our own selves and what is capable when we have mind and body working in Aiki and what can be manifested as a result. Mu Shin to me is one of those things that are possible when we get mind and body working properly together towards a particular result. It can be a "state of being" but the mind/body must first be taught how to achieve the state, sort of like flicking a switch imho.

Just some thoughts.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:11 PM   #24
L. Camejo
 
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Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

Quote:
One could not exactly explain 'the mind of no mind', but through a series of exercises, starting from the physical and then mental discipline, one could eventually understand.
The above is taken from Thalib's thoughts on Mu Shin found here - http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/journal/item/35.

Thalib: Can you give more details as to what these exercises are and what they specifically aim to achieve?

Thanks.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:35 AM   #25
Thalib
 
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Lightbulb Re: How do you train/achieve nothingness?

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

Thalib: Can you give more details as to what these exercises are and what they specifically aim to achieve?

Thanks.
LC
They say there are many roads to Rome. These exercises vary. Some incorporate other practices such as Yoga in their training. But, what these practices will show you is that man could not reach enlightenment just by sitting down and meditating alone.

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.

I will be general with this, as there are different forms of exercises depending on the practices that you have taken. But the best one for me is outside in, from the physical to the mental to the spiritual.

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.

We could train our body to react a certain way during certain situations. Generally this part is called reflex or instinct. You do not need to consciously think about it, but your body still move. This is not the mental part yet in this particular hierarchy.

Fudoushisei, unbendable arm, unliftable body, and the sorts are still part of the physical, these are the practices that you could do. You will understand it probably from the perception of physio-geometry or physics or biology, not necesarily spiritual or mental.

You will realize that the human body is actually quite resilient even without giving it extra incentive (i.e.: forced/tensed muscle). This is when you get the immovable posture. This is not mystical, it is physical and biological.

The point of the above exercise is that you should realize that the body is strong in its relaxed (not limp) state. The point of this exercise is not to show that you cannot be moved. You will still be able to be moved when there is enough force exerted on you, but how you move when it's time to move makes it a difference. 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.

Nature, no matter how violently it looks to human, moves proportionately to the energy that exist. Water flows down proportionately with its surrounding and gravity. High and low balances each other out. Differences in temperature and pressure could create storms, hurricanes, and twisters. Nature always balances itself out, and this balancing act could be scary at times.

In Aikido, we could first learn this through accepting body or ukemi. Ukemi, as semantic, is taken as breakfall, but if we take it eruditely, it is taken as the accepting body. 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.

What does it mean when one would say "act accordingly"? Be accomodating to the nage and fall even when nothing is actually is happening? Or maybe we resist so much and let nage try to take you down? Or maybe just stand there and be a sack of potato and let the nage do whatever the nage wants?

The above is not recommended as you won't learn much. The only thing you would probably learn is that how to make beautiful flips or how much one has to struggle to put you down or how much pain you would feel until you finally tap. This is not a good start to learn the principle of acceptance which is reflected by the practice of ukemi.

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 all good, but what does this have to do with mushin no shin, the mind of no mind?

It is only a small part of the practices that you could do to reach a glimpse of understanding of mushin no shin. We all have to start somewhere. We can't just jump into the mental without first passing the physical. Even meditation/zazen is physically demanding. The difference in Aikido technical practice is the meditation is more physically dynamic.

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. The understanding of this will be very personal and perhaps in the beginning will differ from person to person. As I said, we all have to start somewhere. For me, in Aikido, it starts with ukemi, the accepting body.

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.

Quote:
Takuan Soho quoted a poet in his letters to Yagyu, compiled in a book called 'The Unfettered Mind', that sounds a bit like this: wrote:

...
To think about not thinking, it is already thinking
...
One should not think about not thinking at all

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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