Mushin Applied To daily Life – Part 3: Practical applications

6 Jan

*** NOTE: For parts one and two of the series on the Mushin state of mind, please see the bottom of this page and click on the category: “Martial ideology extended to daily life” & then click on the icon “Previous Entries“ at the bottom of the page***

Mushin can readily be incorporated into one’s daily routine.

To illustrate this point, let us look at a few practical examples wherein Mushin is applied to daily activity. Examples will be taken from three areas of human endeavor. The first area will be the martial arts from which Mushin was born. The second area will be the business arena and the final area will be the sporting arena.

Perhaps from the earliest stages of human development, a pervasive need to test or challenge oneself against the abilities of another found its way into the human spirit. Within the martial arts, tournaments were arranged so that one martial artist could pit their skills against another. Naturally, such tournaments included avenues of direct challenges such as fighting, or “Kumite” in Karate terms. Additionally, the tournaments included non-direct means of objectively assessing one’s skills. Tournaments included Kata completion whereby various competitors would perform a Kata of their choice which would be judged or graded on technical and aesthetic merit. Much like Olympic-type competition, the competitor with the highest score would be judged superior and win the Kata competition. In order to have a superior performance, a competitor must perform the Kata with a Mushin mindset. One’s Kata would be performed in the presence of three to five judges, who attentively watched the performance. In addition, one would perform a Kata in the presence of a myriad of other spectators such as one‘s family, friends and fellow Dojo members. These acquaintances would be present in the viewing stands and would actively watch one’s performance. Other competitors, depending on their assessment of one’s Kata as a threat to their standing in the ratings would either attentively or passively watch one’s performance. Finally, all the other persons present for the tournament would be inactively watching one’s performance.

As one performed the Kata, one could not simply focus on such performance and ignore the totality of sensory inputs in the tournament environment. To do so would be potentially disastrous. One example comes to mind that would illustrate this point. I was once judging a Kata performance. The performer was so enraptured by the performance that he did not notice a mother and small child walking in close proximity to the area wherein he was performing. As small children are known to do, the child ran away from the mother and entered the performance area. The performer, in his state of Kata-focused rapture did not notice the child and in the course of the performance collided with the child. Clearly, that incident was not good. Had the performer fully understood Mushin, such a disaster would not have occurred. Through the Mushin state of mind one must perceive one’s performance within the context of all other sensory inputs, absorbed into one’s mind so that a specific input is not exaggerated to the exclusion of the others so as to become a distraction. In the above example, the performer should have been cognizant of the little child and adjusted the Kata performance. The performer could have interrupted the performance until the child was safely returned to its mother, and then resumed the performance, or requested to restart the Kata. As a judge, I would have been more impressed with the performer had he done so.

Within the business context, many have dreaded the inevitable, mundane, business meeting. During the meeting, there is usually one leader or moderator. It is natural to focus on the topic of the meeting and the person presenting the topic. To do so; however, violates the spirit of Mushin and may lead to disaster. The speaker or moderator need not necessarily be one’s superior in the chain of command structure. Invariably, the meeting attendees are asked for comments, opinions and input. To provide such reply, without possessing the Mushin mindset during the meeting could prove to be disastrous. If one is focused merely on the speaker and what is being said, one may not notice that one’s immediate manager is frowning or cringing during the speaker’s presentation. One may not notice that the owner of the business is yawning or doodling during the presentation. If one was merely focused on the speaker and gives the opinion that they agree wholeheartedly with the topic presented, one does so at the peril of perhaps offending one’s own manager and looking foolish to the business owner.

Mushin can also be applied to the entire range of sports. One can revisit the above example of the Karate tournament and apply it to any sport. One can imagine the Mushin state of mind as it fosters success in a much needed golf putt on the eighteenth hole, a basketball free throw with one second to go, an “impossible” equestrian jump and an unlimited number of other sporting endeavors. One may also envision Mushin enhancing passive, non-sporting activities. Imagine fly-fishing on a beautiful mountain trout steam and being so focused on the trout fly as it floats on the surface of the water, that one fails to perceive the smell of the clean, pure air, the cool feel of the water against your legs, or fails to see the stray grizzly bear sneaking up for a view.

These are but a few practical examples of how the state of mind of Mushin, as cultivated by the Jiriki Kata-Do Sanchin Rite (evolved from the Sanchin Kata) can enhance, and perhaps even protect one from the “mundane” aspects of one’s daily existence.

In the next and final article of the series on Mushin, I will explore the innovative & perhaps controversial idea of Mushin as a sacrament to spirituality.

For additional information, please feel free to visit my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com

An expanded discussion of Mushin may also be found in my new book The Dynamic Meditation Rite Of Sanchin: Gateway To The Three Battles To The Plateau Of Human Serenity.

You may also find additional information on Jiriki Kata-Do, by reading my article herein dated December 15 , 2009. Entitled “Kata evolves into a methodology and ideology …”

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