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Old 07-08-2009, 01:55 PM   #51
Shadowfax
 
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

My friend lent me that book and I really enjoyed it. I'll be needing to pick up a copy of my own so I can read it again. I was only in my first week of Aikido and I know I missed a lot of stuff in there.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:52 PM   #52
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

More about painting, Da Vinci's detail in "The Last Supper," is earthy, dull, egg tempera paint before even oil paint was discovered. Assuming he was human ;-), he must have concentrated to the point of numerous stress headaches. But, he must have really believed in this work as he progressed, for without such motivation, it wouldn't exist. Detail painting probably cleared his mind of everything else but the task at hand, and there is something to be said for that. Gestalt psychology has proven that a person can only think about one thing at one time. So, if he had horrible burdens such as, say, a wife leaving him, or anything that had been bringing him down, was out of his mind when he focused on something else. I really know next to nothing about Van Gogh, as I can only recognize "Starry Night" and the "...Cafe..." one. What would precipitate his self-mutilation, I can only speculate. I know he lived with bipolar mood disorder, and severe depression could have led to it. Maybe he also had Borderline Personality Disorder; I just don't know. However, I think it may show that painting per se certainly doesn't automatically offer a Zen mind. I believe the chronic practice of Shodo is probably more productive there when it comes to brush, medium, and surface.

Drew
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:02 AM   #53
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Personally I find it very difficult to draw or paint unless I am already in or near that state. If I am agitated or upset the work simply will not flow.
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:35 PM   #54
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

I don't know how this directly relates to Aikido, but I was just playing my alto saxophone. Playing the few songs that I have completely memorized cleared my mind. This is what I suppose happens with Shodo, once the artist has a pretty solid idea about the forms of Hiragana. It was such a pleasure to play just then. I wasn't reading music, but my fingers knew exactly where to be. All I did was enjoy the music blasting out of the horn, music I was creating without having to think, *okay middle B# then middle E then high C*, and so on. Perhaps it was similar to meditating while chanting memorized kotodama, the vibrating vocal chords being similar to the vibrating woodwind reed. This is just what's going through my mind, but I'm not certain what to make of it.

Drew
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:22 AM   #55
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
I don't know how this directly relates to Aikido, but I was just playing my alto saxophone. Playing the few songs that I have completely memorized cleared my mind. This is what I suppose happens with Shodo, once the artist has a pretty solid idea about the forms of Hiragana. It was such a pleasure to play just then. I wasn't reading music, but my fingers knew exactly where to be. All I did was enjoy the music blasting out of the horn, music I was creating without having to think, *okay middle B# then middle E then high C*, and so on. Perhaps it was similar to meditating while chanting memorized kotodama, the vibrating vocal chords being similar to the vibrating woodwind reed. This is just what's going through my mind, but I'm not certain what to make of it.

Drew
I've had a similar feeling while playing guitar. I can't play anything very complex, but when I'm in the groove my "mind" simply reflects the music as it happens. There is no word-thinking, simply the awareness and focus on tone and rythm...simple tone and rythm. I need to practice more formally so I can increase my ability at intricacy, to put into the muscle memory so it can flow more naturally. Which reminds me of something that happens even less often where I'm able to make leaps in ability: I am a three-finger player when I'm not using a pick, but in rare moments I've been able to "spontaneously" play with all five. I put spontaneous in quotes because I'm trying to do it, but in a fittingly Aikido-like way somehow, I'm not trying to do it also. I'm simply feeling my fingertips and reaching with my intent ("ki" if you will) to make a cohesive connection. It's still relatively simple, but I've really shocked myself at how "whole-hand" my playing has been at moments...usually followed by a breakdown in focus and I'm back to the chaos that is my usual 5-finger playing.
The "mind" (or no-mind, if you will) is an amazing organizational organism!
Take care!
p.s. nice painting! I really like the concept of the katatetori (I'm assuming, anyway)

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:58 PM   #56
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Cool, Matthew, you know just what I was feeling, only with a different instrument. I honestly have no clue how people learn the guitar. I'm not saying I'm even good at the sax, but those strings just a quarter-inch apart, along with the left hand pressing down, must take an incredible amount of practice along with a certain level of natural dexterity. I posted a photo of some materials I used for my paintings, along with a general step-by-step of how I completed it. I just uploaded it, so it may take some time to be approved. Yes, it is katate-dori, my own hand grabbing my own wrist! I appreciate your compliment. I've never tried to sell a painting, but I might somewhere down the line. Really it's the out-of-the-ordinary communication I look for as the intrinsic reward, and verbal praise like yours is extrinsic reward. Both types keep the brush on the canvas!

Drew
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:40 PM   #57
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Could Mushin -- translated as No Mind in this post -- also be interpreted as No Ego?
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:36 PM   #58
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Ferdinand Tjakrawinata wrote: View Post
Could Mushin -- translated as No Mind in this post -- also be interpreted as No Ego?
Ego, with the meaning of recognition of Self, different from the original Freudian meaning, should disappear at times along with all other thought during meditation. I believe that seasoned "meditators" might be able to keep ego and other thought out for quite some time. Some people, afraid of vulnerability, will never meditate once in their entire lives. Going by the John Stevens translation of an O'Sensei thought and perhaps doka, "[If you haven't linked yourself with true emptiness, you will never understand the Art of Peace [Aikido]."

Drew
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:39 PM   #59
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Ferdinand Tjakrawinata wrote: View Post
Could Mushin -- translated as No Mind in this post -- also be interpreted as No Ego?
More accurate would be "No Attachment".

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:57 AM   #60
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Can't stop mind, can't empty mind... we can loose attachment...

I suspect we can't recognize when it happens, but those who know can see it in others.

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:24 PM   #61
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Not reading this work of King's horror fiction, but becoming engrossed in Kubrick's "The Shining," Clark Sensei's post made me recall some of the movie. Jack Nicholson's young son connects on a somewhat supernatural level with a black man in town. The man explains to the kid that they can both tell when another "shines."

Drew
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:02 AM   #62
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

"No mind"

What you are describing almost sounds like muscle memory and habit.

Powerful, loving, sound-minded spirit. 2Tim 1:7
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:10 AM   #63
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
I suspect we can't recognize when it happens, but those who know can see it in others.
I can usually recognize it after it has ended. I never knew what it was until someone told me they saw it in me.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:48 PM   #64
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Christine Knowling wrote: View Post
"No mind"

What you are describing almost sounds like muscle memory and habit.
Nope. The experience is most clearly in play in situations of exceeding novelty intruding on familiar action and commanding one to unexpected and unpredictable action. A good example is running flat out through pathless woods and undergrowth. In other words it is the edge of chaos -- in the mathematical sense

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:09 AM   #65
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Here's a meditation metaphor from my book, "The Sands of Erebus," copyright 2006.

" *A painful, neutral, or pleasant thought alike must run its course,* he pondered, *like an incurable virus whose cycle is often vicious, sometimes innocuous, and all-too-seldom beneficial.* Jack found he could achieve a true "no-mind" only on rare occasions, and--after twenty minutes of perpetual thinking--it seemed to him that once again "no-mind" would elude him."

Drew
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:09 AM   #66
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Nope. The experience is most clearly in play in situations of exceeding novelty intruding on familiar action and commanding one to unexpected and unpredictable action. A good example is running flat out through pathless woods and undergrowth. In other words it is the edge of chaos -- in the mathematical sense
The core components available to you during such situations that allow you to respond with "unexpected and unpredictable action," however, may be labeled or understood as "muscle memory and habit."

This is not to say that a sequence once initiated must be completed, however---the ordinary interpretation of "habit." For example, forcing ikkyo in order to complete the technique once initiated? Habit---or "attachment." Responding initially in a way that one might call ikkyo ("muscle memory"), but adjusting or switching to who knows what---something spontaneous and appropriate ("takemusu")---when sensing something is off? That's the improved state, unattached to what we put into motion, fluidly adaptable.

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #67
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Joe, I enjoy your latest post and I feel "fluidly" as a great adverb choice. About muscle memory and habit, I was a pretty good golfer in high school. I played varsity in 11th and 12th. Around that time, my handicap was a six at my home course. The course was kinda on the easier side, so my true handicap was probably an eight from the back tees of a difficult course. Anyway, when I had my game together, I look back there and realize that I experienced much no-mind. My swing was muscle-memorized, but in a golfer's entire life, the contact of club face on ball totals something like a few seconds. Walking to my ball after hitting a great or good enough shot was often a time filled with peace-of-mind, sometimes mildly blissful or even euphoric. Then during college and after, I've rarely played, and my swing faded out of muscle memory. By now, if I sneak a par and a couple bogeys in a round, it was a good round. When I play golf now I have no fun, no no-mind, and a swing full of kinks. When it gets a bit cooler in this oven called Miami, I may practice hours a day to get my swing back, or find a new one that works well.

Drew
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Old 07-16-2009, 11:31 AM   #68
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
The core components available to you during such situations that allow you to respond with "unexpected and unpredictable action," however, may be labeled or understood as "muscle memory and habit."

This is not to say that a sequence once initiated must be completed, however---the ordinary interpretation of "habit." For example, forcing ikkyo in order to complete the technique once initiated? Habit---or "attachment." Responding initially in a way that one might call ikkyo ("muscle memory"), but adjusting or switching to who knows what---something spontaneous and appropriate ("takemusu")---when sensing something is off? That's the improved state, unattached to what we put into motion, fluidly adaptable.
Gotcha.

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Old 07-16-2009, 01:44 PM   #69
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Reading through this thread reminds me of a Peanuts strip I've long had up on my bulletin board. Basically Charlie, Linus and Lucy are on a hill looking up at the sky. Linus basically goes on and on about seeing British Honduras, a profile of Thomas Eaking, as well as various biblical references. When asked what he sees, Charlie says:

"Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horse, but I changed my mind." -- Charles Shultz, 1960 (I think -- blurry, tiny type).

I feel like Charlie after having read this thread. And I spent 17 years working in Industrial Psych specifically in the area of the measurement of mental performance...

Last edited by Keith Larman : 07-16-2009 at 01:46 PM.

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Old 07-16-2009, 03:26 PM   #70
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I feel like Charlie after having read this thread. And I spent 17 years working in Industrial Psych specifically in the area of the measurement of mental performance...
Do you know about the I/O case of Duke Power vs. Griggs? (adverse impact/adverse selection)
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:49 PM   #71
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Do you know about the I/O case of Duke Power vs. Griggs? (adverse impact/adverse selection)
Yup, a very important case especially if your area was psychometrics. As a matter of fact Duke Power used some employment tests that I helped write and validate (well after that case came about). Given how gun-shy they were about using employment tests after that case I always found it gratifying that they used tests I helped develop and validate.

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Old 07-16-2009, 04:53 PM   #72
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

And if you're familiar with the case I should also mention they were using one of our aptitude tests in addition to some proficiency tests for employment as well as identifying candidates for promotion/higher level training.

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Old 07-16-2009, 05:18 PM   #73
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Cool, when I was in Psychological Testing class in college, one of the short answer / essay questions on an exam was pertaining to that topic, and I got full credit for my response. I knew it well at the time because it interested me. I just wanted to throw that in, even though it's off topic. I would try now to get back on topic but I must be experiencing "no mind."

Drew
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:43 PM   #74
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
The core components available to you during such situations that allow you to respond with "unexpected and unpredictable action," however, may be labeled or understood as "muscle memory and habit."
Ok... it's a ducky. More seriously, muscle memory is used in brushing my teeth, or not impaling my face with my fork when I eat, or making sure the beer ends up at my lips and not on my shirt -- and especially the beer part. And while no mind/flow state/ducky- brain may be present in any of those activities (ESPECIALLY the beer part) -- it is not intrinsic to the mere fact that muscle memory is employed in the task or challenge. I have attributed it to pattern-processing at a very high level of instantaneity and spontaneity outside of the relatively glacial conscious processing: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16415

In another thread it was related to the OODA loop decision methodology, and in the original concept envisioned by Col. Boyd in his diagram:
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/..._ooda_loop.gif

In that diagram there is, in addition to the conscious and linear OODA loop, a set of non-linear paired loops (labelled "implicit guidance and control") that are centered on the "Orient" stage and which drive both "action" and "observation" simultaneously and in parallel -- while skipping over "decision" entirely. This, I suggest, is the mode of the no-mind, if you prefer THAT way of describing the mentality of this kind of action.

Or maybe it is a horsey after all...

And please please please don't anybody start talking about Ricci here -- (Dang. There I went and did it....)

Last edited by Erick Mead : 07-16-2009 at 07:46 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:50 PM   #75
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
In another thread it was related to the OODA loop decision methodology, and in the original concept envisioned by Col. Boyd in his diagram:
http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/..._ooda_loop.gif

In that diagram there is, in addition to the conscious and linear OODA loop, a set of non-linear paired loops (labelled "implicit guidance and control") that are centered on the "Orient" stage and which drive both "action" and "observation" simultaneously and in parallel -- while skipping over "decision" entirely. This, I suggest, is the mode of the no-mind, if you prefer THAT way of describing the mentality of this kind of action.
The OODA is an interesting model---in which I claim absolutely no expertise. That said, looking at the diagram, what seems to be missing are the "attention & intention"---terms I recently threw out after some consideration with Ron Ragusa and then hit again by G. Ledyard in his own blog a few days ago. In the diagram, the overriding intention would seem to be a control for the Orient & Decide joined, while attention---perhaps simply "where your focus is"---is a control over Observations.

For attention, if I'm focused on your left hand, I may miss what your right is doing. If I'm checking a text message an email at the table, I may not appreciate the taste of dinner in my mouth. Even though all of the information is available to me, attention focuses the inputs.

For intention, my want to be understood, to win an argument, to defeat an opponent, to not be a victim, to arrive at the office before the meeting, and so forth---decisions are made in light of intention.

Habit, I'd speculate, happens largely in the Orient box. If I misunderstand something, take offense at something, etc., it likely happens there.

What is just as interesting to me is that attention and intention are variables in the system. Consider: I intend to get to the office in time. My attention shifts to something I overhear. Through conditioning, I interpret it as a racial slur. Adrenaline starts to pump in response. I do not notice I miss my stop. My intention shifts to showing the fellow the error of his ways, and I will not be deterred.

The intensity of the situation alone can stress that OODA system, compressing or eliminating steps to create that outcome. I don't know if that is necessarily mushin---maybe it is; I think some would say it's the mind without focus, or perhaps a mind that shifts focus and between focused and unfocused as appropriate---unhindered. What I know is that enhanced habitual response is not the benefit I'm seeking through Aikido, Zen, and other practices. Rather, I work to be free of the conditioning gates in the Orient box---not having my responses necessarily dependent upon / triggered by that conditioning, which necessarily means turning awareness toward Orient---learning to watch and manipulate my own (and maybe your own) attention and intention, learning to better process all of the body's inputs and to better get my body moving when the impulses hit rather than getting stuck in thought or having attention / intention bumped.

That's all a bit muddled---I'm sorry. Trying to wrap a bit of the intangible around the diagram to see if the model fits

Make any sense?

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