Spirituality, Mediation, Prayer?

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Wow. Not only is that a very enlightening post (pun not intended) but it's the first time I have heard shoshin, mushin or fudoshin outside of the dojo. We practice mokuso at the beginning and end of training, but I don't get far in a couple of minutes.

I remember going to a presentation by TM once, but they wanted a lot of money (to me at least, as an 18 year old at the time) so I didn't do it. Probably just as well if it gives you a headache!

For me, the best 'meditation' is just doing stuff that requires extreme focus such as motorbikes, SR shaving, or sparring in martial arts. There is no past and no future, you are focused on the present moment to the exclusion of all else. Its like being a kid again, lost in some game. I find it much easier to do it with activities than sitting in seiza focusing on breathing.
 
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While I have dabbled in Judo and taken a more than keen interest in the theory of Kendo (largely to find that the conclusions drawn about perfecting swordplay is very much along the same lines as western HEMA) I've not engaged much with eastern martial arts.

I do brief about the zen mindsets and shikai (the four prohibitions: fear, surprise, doubt & confusion) as the foundation of epee with my new students when I move them into one-to-one coaching.

Oh, and mushin plus zanshin makes for really sound refereeing.

Funny you mention seiza @hotmetal because at a recent fencing competition, a chap asked me if I did any (eastern) martial arts because he saw me in "seiza" (me, not necessarily through intention but I do recognise the term) which I use before the competition starts to centre my body, trigger all the little muscles without actually moving and get my mind into what's about to come ... afterwards, the same for a good few miniutes before stretching out traditionally for proper wind-down.

I suppose that's zen in itself, that zen practices can be ... well, practiced without actually knowing that you are doing so, or finding that you are actually applying such practices unintentionally.

There's a few car detailers amongst us who'll know that utterly focussed and completely engrossed sensation when machine polishing, seeing that greater and greater clarity in the paint build ... almost like you can't help but do so. You're right in there, time has no meaning, space, scale and dimension is lost. Beautiful.
 
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Hard to describe without context, but zen is part of all things, including how we present ourselves, how we interact, peacefully or with force, how we rest, where we get our internal strength from and how we give out that energy. Zen flows through all things from martial arts to calligraphy to making tea ...

The result of practiced transcendental meditation left me in a state of mushin, the depth of which I have been unable to reach otherwise. The mind without mind, as it's called; a clarity of thought and vision, absolutely unhindered by conscious thought, or doubt, or almost ... awareness. It was akin to the sort of flying sensation runners can get when their mind and body click and they just run; breathing almost irrelevant, it's just happening exactly as it should be. I get to that state during Epee Fencing and know that's the clicker to push on to fudoshin ... in essence, what will be will be.

You've seen The Matrix, right? Neo is shoshin, willing to learn and wanting to progress. He does. He becomes mushin, where he can see the matrix and clicks into it. That's mushin. He achieves fudoshin at the end, when it almost doesn't matter what he does because it will ... well, it will be.

Some might call it an element of instinct, and there is a certain giving in to primal instinct, unlearning convention. Instinct is learned, by repetitiion. A good swordsman or archer can only pull off such instinctual actions having practiced and practiced and practiced ... that is not fudoshin, but I don't think fudoshin can be achieved without.

Bruce Lee talked about "flow like water" ... water has a life and a purpose, but it will flow where it flows. Fudoshin. Anyway, mushin is about a crystal clear mind. Absolutely devoid of anything that detracts from its purity. Transcendental meditation got me to a purity that I have not experienced in any other way ... but boy, the headaches afterwards were not fun.

Sheesh! That's not a bad impression of someone who knows what they're talking about ... impression of ... I really don't. I've dabbled, but I do practice elements of zen with my fencing, and it does reap benefits ... not just for the fencing, but for my life generally.

Still searching for satori ... the kick in the eye.
So how do you get into that muhsin state of mind and how long does it take? Appreciate it might not be a straight forward answer

Funny you mention Bruce Lee I just got this book delivered today about the philosophies of Bruce Lee

IMG_20220615_115032.jpg
 

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I've practised Reiki for quite some years now and find it very soothing on the mind. I also happen to be quite a spiritual person...despite my user name.

I don't believe in much else but I am happy where I am
 
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I find Alan Watts, and now Jordan B Peterson, very interesting people to listen to. Alan Watts is of course from another era but I like listening to the various lectures he gave that have made it onto YouTube, especially "what do you desire?" I do like his old fashioned RP voice actually, a style you only hear as funny samples in music nowadays, but it's refreshing to listen to people who have really spent time figuring out some of those difficult existential questions and are able to explain them with such clarity. Peterson is a similar character in some ways and also well worth a listen although I have only just started listening to his podcast on Spotify. You can see why some people find him difficult, because he speaks with such conviction and scientific rigour about some universal and also very personal topics in a way that makes it hard to argue. Some who strongly believe differently but can't construct an argument as compelling as he can, which, regardless of what you believe, few people other than professors or philosophers can, have inevitably kicked off and even made death threats because they cannot bear others with different beliefs or opinions. Those who are able to calmly accept that not everyone thinks the same, nor is it necessary or desirable that they do, will be enriched by his point of view even if they reject it.

He's certainly not for everyone and quite heavy going but well worth a listen in these relativistic days.
 
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