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He then brings his legs over his head 6 with a speed faster than that used by the attacker in executing his throw. Weapon training with the historical gear enhances overall coordination and provides physical models from which psychological or philosophical lessons can be taught. But most important of all, it allows the student to learn the ability to recognize and improvise self-defense tools from common articles in the environment.
All ninja weapons are timeless in the sense that they are fundamental combat tools rather than unique or unusual gimmicks. Sticks, blades, pieces of rope or chain can be found readily, and the fighter who is proficient in their use need not endanger himself by having to rely on carrying a specialized weapon with him at all times. The fighting poses are slighdy altered to accommodate the physical dimensions of the weapons, but they do follow the general classifications of purpose relating to the five elemental manifestations, just like the taijutsu postures.
STICK FIGHTING A natural progression from unarmed defense is the bojutsu stick-fighting system Traditional weapons of the Japanese samurai culture, the wooden cane and staff are natural extensions of the arms, and they are relatively easy to master once unarmed fighting proficiency has been developed.
The roku-shaku-bo 6- foot staff is less than 2 meters in length, and the han-bo half-staff is a cane that is less than 1 meter in length. Contemporary students of ninjutsu find that stick techniques experienced in training are easily adaptable to real-life situations in which a walking stick, yard rake, tennis racket or even a rolled-up newspaper can easily be found in everyday surroundings and pressed into service as defensive weapons. Earth Response With the Long Staff From a variation of the natural posture, the defender observes as the attacker initiates a short-stick clubbing attack 1.
The defender maintains the natural pose and pushes his right hand out, propelling the upper tip of his staff down and forward 2. The tip of the staff hits the attacker at the base of the throat 3 , stopping his advance. Water Response With the Short Stick From the natural posture, the defender observes as his adversary initiates a right grabbing attack 1. Water Response With the Ninja Sword From a defensive sword posture, the defender observes as his adversary prepares to throw a star shuriken 1.
The defender ducks and deflects the shuriken star with his sword 3. As the shuriken star flies off harmlessly 4 , the defender charges into the attacker with a sword cut before he can throw the next star Fire Response With the Throwing Blade From a variation of the offensive posture, the defender observes as the attacker initiates a verticai slash with a sword 1. As the attacker moves forward 2 , the defender pulls a straight shuriken throwing blade from its concealed sheath 3.
The defender lifts the blade to a throwing position beside his head 4 , gripping the shuriken by its handled end 5. The boldness of this defensive attacking action should be enough to stop the prudent adversary from continuing his advance. If it is necessary to prevent being killed by a raging attacker, the blade can be thrown by snapping the arm down and pushing the shoulder forward 6.
When the arm reaches a horizontal extended position, the blade is released to sail straight across the short distance into its target 7. The kusari-fundo, a short small-linked chain with weighted ends, the kyotetsu shogei, a blade weapon attached to a 3-meter cord, and the kusari-gama, a 4-meter chain attached to a long-handled sickle, are three of the flexible ninja weapons that are practiced today for their practical application in street self- defense. Short-chain techniques practiced in the training hall can be duplicated with a belt, camera strap, dish towel or necktie when self-preservation warrants it.
The long-cord methods can be used with an electrical appliance power cable, fishing tackle, water ski-or mountain-climbing rope, or a telephone receiver cord in an actual attack situation. Fire Response With the Chain and Sickle 5 Holding the kusari-gama chain and sickle in the offensive posture, the defender observes as the attacker initiates a horizontal slash with his sword 1.
Wind Response With the Short-Chain Fighting Method From the natural posture, the defender observes as the attacker initiates a clubbing attack with a short stick 1. The defender uses his left knee and the taut chain to bring the attacker into submission on the ground 6. By continuously examining his responses to danger and conflict, the student of ninjutsu eventually can learn what is appropriate as a response to any given situation in order to bring him what he wants. He can recognize what works and what does not work, and he can develop the intuitive nature that will allow him to know the best response every time without having to think it through mechanically.
It is a total dedication to personal perfection — the achievement of harmony with the world. The passage of time controls and bends all things only when we believe in the passage of time. The future lived is merely yet another Now. B eyond the five manifestations of physicalness lies the second major realm of personal power — the mind and mental processes. This sixth center of consciousness is felt in the middle of the cranial cavity and it is traditionally associated with the area of the brow between and slighdy above the eyes.
In the mystical teachings of ninjutsu, the mind was seen as a bridge between pure consciousness and the body in which that consciousness temporarily resides. The mind is, in essence, an interpreting device, organizing or translating all that we encounter into images and impressions that are acceptable to, and understood by, our physical selves. Everything in the universe is made up of, and manifested as, varying rates of vibrations or wavelengths. At the bottom of the spectrum, with the slowest vibratory rate, is solid physical matter.
The vibrations in the atoms that make up the molecules are not readily perceivable to us. Above physical matter, at a faster rate of vibration, is sound. Faster wavelengths than sound become the sensation of heat. Beyond heat is the impression of light. The observation could be extended to include thoughts, at a wavelength or vibratory rate faster than electricity or light. Within each relative classification of sensations in the broad scale of vibratory rates are manifestations varying with the speed of the waves.
Within the classification we call light, for instance, are slower waves that appear red and faster waves that appear blue.
Within the classification we call sound are slower waves that are heard as low rumbling tones and faster waves that are heard as high shrill pitches. The qualities of the vibratory manifestations and their resulting images are not fixed entities themselves but are relative to the sensory receptor perceiving them It is fairly accepted knowledge today that there are sounds that cannot be heard by humans and yet are definitely audible to certain animals.
There are light impressions that are imperceptible to plants and animals and yet quite real for humans. Modern communications technology provides even more dramatic examples of altering the images of a fixed set of vibrations by altering the sensing receptor. Visual images can be transformed into electronic impulses that can be further altered to become sounds, which then can prompt the generation of physical substance. Though literal concepts of varying wavelengths and vibratory rates were unknown to the mystics of feudal Japan, their teachings nonetheless stressed the uniform structure and common source of all things.
From this belief that all things are varying manifestations of the universal source everything fits in somewhere on the vibratory rate scale , ninja developed the attitude that there are no totally independent actions or objects in the realm of existence. Seemingly unrelated phenomena actually can be linked together in interaction. As a result, a vast realm of subde and yet direct control over our surroundings is available to all of us, if only we would acknowledge and accept that control.
The ninja of old used his mind to observe, visualize and affect his surroundings by harmonizing the vibrations of his thoughts with the varying wavelengths of the environmental aspects he wished to alter. Beginning with simple exercises that teach the effectiveness of the method, the ninja was encouraged to develop the power of the mind to clarify his intention and work his will without actions.
As an initial step, students of ninjutsu are admonished to become actively aware of the ease with which the senses become dulled over the years. Stripping away the impediments and sharpening the senses are crucial to the task of beginning to learn to perceive and interact with outside forces in a pure and direct manner. The consciousness of an animal is strongly fixed in the present moment, and the animal is relatively unaware of a past or future in the way a human being is. The animal awareness is not hindered by memories or considerations of potential outcomes, and it is exclusively locked into each existing instant as it occurs.
Though the animal does not have the advantages of guidance from the past or direction for the future, it is free to pick up a whole range of subde present environment impressions that are largely crowded out or ignored by humans. Sense impressions from infrared or ultraviolet light, cosmic rays, air pressure or magnetic fields are as real for animals as traffic signals, printed words and verbal expressions are for humans. A key point in the study of all aspects of ninjutsu is the development of total naturalness at any chosen level of awareness.
The martial art training begins with basic physical movements and from there moves on to specialized combat skills. In relearning the naturalness of our fundamental physical nature, we are subdy forced to recognize the effects of cluttering ourselves up with unnecessary, unnatural actions in the past.
Once we experience the impossible-to-avoid physical manifestations of unnatural conditioning, we then can move inward to the mind and emotions and see how we have stretched the inner self out of shape, as well. The awareness-development exercises of ninjutsu training are complementary to the overall attitude of complete growth and realization that are inherent in the art. Various other martial arts, religions or exercise and enlightenment systems insist that the practitioner give up his humanness in order to attain the desired goals.
The senses and corporeality seem to be regarded as embarrassments or evil tricks of the universe, created for the sole purpose of being overcome or transcended. Wholesome food, sexuality and emotional richness are deemed as limiting and are to be sacrificed for purity. In the more perverted systems, the human qualities are looked on as sins to be washed from the personality and apologized for. As such, those tools are to be acknowledged for their value, well cared for and fine-tuned.
Any spiritual system that denies or represses the natural physical requirements and proclivities of the body will create a grave state of imbalance that must be dealt with eventually before any true spiritual advancement can be attained. The teachings of ninjutsu advocate the development of the total entity, with all its naturally endowed balances and polarities. They reject as senseless and needlessly brutal any system, martial or religious, that demands suffering, repression, self-debasement or the abdication of joy in life for the sake of attaining transcendent consciousness or so-called salvation.
The smell might be overpowering like the aroma of coffee coming from the kitchen, or it might be a subde scent like traces of mothballs in the blanket. You may not be aware of any smell at all. Allow yourself at least two minutes with your eyes closed to search around for all the variations that your nose can pick up. As you arise, affirm to yourself that you will be especially aware of your sense of smell today for the entire day.
It would be particularly effective if you could pick a day that would take you through many different environments in order to give you a wide range of stimuli. Allow yourself to notice all smells, pleasant or otherwise. Simply be aware of the effects that the odors and fragrances have on you in all ways. Mentally assume that anything you smell today will have a pleasant odor. Close your eyes to experience subtle odors and see whether particular emotions or memories come to mind. Do not limit yourself to obvious smells like flowers or automobile exhaust fumes.
Smell the television set as you sit and watch it, the pencil as you write with it and the wallpaper as you walk down the hall. Notice the effects that the smells have on you. Throughout the day, pause periodically to consciously take a deep breath. With your spine straight, breathe in through your nose and take the air deep into your lungs.
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Let your stomach push out as far as it can, and hold your lungs at total expansion for a few seconds before exhaling. When you breathe out, briskly push the air out through your nose until you have forced all the breath from your lungs. Run your tongue around your teeth and gums, open your mouth slighdy and taste the air as you breathe in, or run the tip of your tongue along the knuckles of your fist. Allow yourself a minute or two with your eyes closed to experience whatever affects your sense of taste.
As you arise, affirm to yourself that you will be especially aware of your sense of taste today for the entire day. It is not necessary to adjust your diet for the day; in fact, it is recommended that you eat the foods you would normally consume. The difference for the day is in the degree of attention you direct to your sense of taste.
Eat all foods in a slow and deliberate manner.
Close your eyes when you can to enhance your awareness of the flavors. Do not divert your attention through conversation or idle distractions, and take twice the normal time to chew each mouthful of food. Before you place something in your mouth, see whether you can imagine or create the impression of the taste you will experience. Imagine that every bite contains a new taste sensation, no matter how familiar the food may really be.
Mentally assume that anything you taste today will have a pleasant and exciting flavor. Without moving your body at all, adjust your visual focus for a variety of distances. Look across the room at some object and its shadow. Blur your vision intentionally and see what automatically comes into focus. Shift your concentration horn the blanket next to your face to something at medium range.
Allow yourself at least two minutes to experiment with your sense of sight and the focusing mechanism of your eyes. As you arise, affirm to yourself that you will be especially aware of your vision today for the entire day. Close your eyes and exert gende pressure against your eyelids with your fingertips.
Vary the angles and intensity of the pressure, and notice the changing colors and patterns that you see. As you observe the visual impressions, be aware of the fact that you are creating the sights you behold and that their reality is a product of your own mind reacting to stimuli. Throughout the day, be especially conscious of the effects of color intensity around you. Notice how colors are used to create specific impressions or subde emotional responses. See which colors are the most attractive to you and which colors are predominant in your clothes closet. Occasionally blur your vision slighdy so that color images take precedence over the utility value or meaning of things around you.
As you behold the colors, see whether any emotions or memories come to mind. Observe your normal viewing patterns to become aware of how much visual input you filter out. Look around familiar areas, pretending that you were blind until now. Consciously look at the faces around you. Do not stare with an intensity that will make others uncomfortable; simply be there in their eyes. We often develop the habit of depersonalizing our contacts with fellow human beings by avoiding close visual attention. For the entire day devoted to this exercise, concentrate on being aware of looking into the eyes of others.
Without moving at all, make a quick survey of your body, noting any impressions on your sense of touch. The feel of the cloth, the position of your limbs, and heat or contact from a sleeping partner should all be in your awareness. Allow yourself at least two minutes with your eyes closed to take in all the variations that your sense of bodily awareness can pick up. As you arise, affirm to yourself that you will be especially conscious of your sense of touch today for the entire day. As you proceed through the day, consciously experience as many varying stimulations to your tactile sense as you can.
Mentally assume that anything you feel today will be a pleasant sensation. Be aware of cool and warm temperature variations around your body. Consciously take part in all muscular actions you perform, whether it involves running, chewing or moving objects about. Notice the sensations produced by the clothing on your body. Observe your resistance to, or compliance with, the rocking motions of vehicles you ride in. At one point during the day, find a quiet, comfortable place in which you can lie down on your back. Relax your body, spread out and allow the concerns of the day to leave your consciousness.
Close your eyes and take a full breath of air. Imagine that you are breathing the air all the way to the bottom of your body cavity, and feel your lungs expand as much as they can. Repeat this deep breathing two or three times to clear your mind and lungs. Next, begin to tighten your body, starting with the very center at your solar plexus. Feel the tenseness move through your body trunk, simultaneously working up, down and out to the sides while retaining the muscular tension in the center.
Hold the tension as you move your consciousness out through your body, tensing every muscle as you go. At the final stages, curl your fingers and toes inward and exert complete tension in all the muscles of your body. At that point, you should virtually be bouncing off the surface on which you are reclining.
Suddenly release the tension, relaxing all your muscles at the same time while letting go of your breath. Proceeding up one limb at a time, consciously relax each muscle until your body is totally limp, dead weight. Begin with the fingers and toes and move inward to the center of your body. Consciously feel each muscle as you let it go. Throughout the entire tactile-sense day, be aware of any tension that you might unconsciously store in the muscles of your shoulders, face, stomach or thighs.
Acknowledge that you put the tension there for some purpose and release it. The noise might be overpowering, like the sound of your ringing alarm clock, or it might be a subtle sound, like the traffic on the street outside. You may not be aware of any sounds at all. Allow yourself at least two minutes with your eyes closed to search around for all the tonal variations that your ears can pick up.
As you arise, affirm to yourself that you will be especially aware of your sense of hearing today for the entire day. Throughout the day, be conscious of the effects of the voice qualities displayed by people around you. See which tones, volume levels and accents affect you in positive and negative ways. Use a tape recorder to record your own voice as you read sections of this book out loud. Compare what you hear from the tape recorder with your mental concept of the sound of your own voice.
A second area of sound awareness should be your bodily reactions to musical notes. Allow yourself to be exposed to a variety of different types of music. Relax in a seated position with your eyes closed and your attention fully directed toward the music. Notice the reactions in different parts of your body when different musical types are experienced. Notice whether there is no physical reaction at all. See whether your mind automatically creates scenes or situations under the influence of the music. Follow the scenes out for a while and then return your consciousness to the music itself.
At some point during the day, find a place where there is no sound at all. Relax there for several minutes and allow your hearing to grow accustomed to the silence. Become aware of the steady sound behind the silence that takes the place of the constant noise that usually assaults the ears. Observe what that silence sounds like. This selection of consciousness permits the ninja to fit in appropriately with the situation at hand or to change his perspective in order to affect the direction of the events that make up the situation.
Allow yourself to inhale slowly, totally filling your lungs and pushing your abdomen all the way out. It should take you approximately eight seconds to take a full breath. Do not hold the breath with the lungs and abdomen fully extended, but immediately breathe out slowly until you have forced all the air from your lungs and pulled your abdominal muscles in to their normal, relaxed position. The exhalation also should take approximately eight seconds to complete. As you carry out this particular breathing cycle, imagine that your entire body cavity is hollow, as if it were a huge empty cave.
You should feel the inhalation pressure in your genitals and lower abdomen. It may be helpful to visualize a symbol of the earth element while you are performing this breathing exercise. Close your eyes and picture a range of mountain peaks in the wilderness. Narrow your vision to the highest of the peaks. Picture yourself seated on top of the peak, with one leg hanging over each side as if you were riding a camel. Use the visual image along with the specific breathing method to calm yourself and increase your feelings of stability in times of stress.
With the lungs and abdomen fully extended, hold the breath for approximately three seconds. You should feel the pressure of the breath pushing out against your abdomen, just below your navel. Breathe out by totally relaxing the lungs and muscles of the ribs while simultaneously reversing the pressure on your lower abdomen.
The tightening of these muscles should force the air out of your lungs with a brisk rush. Maintain the inward abdominal pressure for three seconds before breathing in again. It may be helpful to visualize a symbol of the water element while you are performing this breathing exercise. Close your eyes and picture a rocky coasdine along the ocean.
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Narrow your vision to a small stretch of boulders, around which the waves are breaking. Picture yourself sitting in an inflated seat, up to your hips in the deep water. Imagine the feel of the wave currents as they shift you about from one direction to another. Mentally relax and become a part of the natural rhythm and flow. Use the visual image along with the specific breathing method to become more sensitive and come closer to your inner feelings in times when emotional flexibility is needed. Direct all your attention to your breathing. Relax your lungs and the muscles of your ribs, and take in a quick breath by pushing out on the abdominal muscles covering your stomach.
The breath should come in with a rush, and you should feel the pressure behind your solar plexus. Do not hold the breath with your ribs expanded, but immediately breathe out briskly by inwardly tightening the muscles beneath the solar plexus. It may be helpful to visualize a symbol of the fire element while you are performing this breathing exercise. Close your eyes and picture an old hearthstone fireplace in the center of the open area, and see the red-hot coals used for heating iron to the point at which it can be shaped and molded.
Picture yourself in front of the coals, with your lungs taking the role of the wind bellows. Imagine the feel of the flames as they leap up with every exhalation and the intense heat that radiates through your solar plexus with every inhalation. Use the visual image along with the specific breathing method to generate psychic energy and to increase your feelings of personal control of the situation in times when purposeful action is needed. EXERCISE NINE — Wind Level When feeling intellectually pressed, emotionally controlled, lacking in compassion or too self-oriented, the ninja would practice a method of controlled breathing and mental imagery to increase his feelings of being in touch with others and transcendent of his baser powers.
Direct your attention to your breathing. Relax your lungs and the muscles of your ribs, and take a quick breath by pushing out on the abdominal muscles covering the stomach. The breath should come in with a rush, pushing your stomach out and filling your lungs. Hold the breath for approximately three seconds, being aware of the pressure in the center of your chest. Slowly release the breath in a steady, controlled stream by gentiy tightening the muscles around your ribs and pulling up and in on the muscles of your abdomen.
You should feel a tightening in the center of your chest, and the exhalation should take approximately 10 seconds to complete. It may be helpful to visualize a symbol of the wind element while you are performing this breathing exercise. Close your eyes and picture a vast forest of tall trees. Narrow your vision to a portion of the forest along a high ridge exposed to the wind. Picture yourself standing among the trees; feel the wind moving around you.
Imagine the feel of the wind as it moves on, slipping around and by anything that gets in its way. Feel the wind that your breath creates as you share the air with everything around you. Use the visual image along with the specific breathing method to increase your consciousness of your benevolent nature and to strengthen your intellectual grasp of any situation. Certain electromagnetic channels of the body are said to be the most sensitive in the feet and hands.
The thumb represents the ku source element, with each of the fingers representing one of the four elemental manifestations. Water sui To encourage more of a sui water adaptability and power, the ring finger is folded to form a ring with the thumb, which interlocked with the ring finger and thumb of the other hand. Fire ka To encourage more of a ka fire aggressiveness and energy, the middle finger is folded to form a ring with the thumb, which is interlocked with the middle finger and thumb of the other hand.
Earth chi To encourage more of a chi earth stability and strength, the little finger is folded to form a ring with the thumb, which is interlocked with the little finger and thumb of the other hand. Wind fu To encourage more of a fu wind sensitivity and harmonious action, the pointer finger is folded to form a ring with the thumb, which is interlocked with the pointer finger and thumb of the other hand. The suggested visualizations that accompany the breathing methods in this chapter are by no means the only possible mental aids.
The images have been presented as a guide or format for consideration. Some ninja would visualize different animals that represented the four qualities, such as the bear for the earth or the dragon for the wind. The physical breathing techniques themselves, on the other hand, represent a more concrete aspect of bodily control. By consciously regulating the organs that control the rates at which the air enters and leaves the bloodstream, and by applying pressure to those areas of the body in which the endocrine glands function, the body can be made to alter its pace and adapt to new situations as they arise.
Additional perspective can be given to the validity of the breathing methods by observing natural responsive breath patterns in different life situations. Notice the way your body adjusts the breathing rate and depth to naturally handle conditions of stress, emotion, concentration or fatigue. External environmental factors, whether real or imagined, trigger specific psychophysical responses that stimulate or restrict the activity of the endocrine glands and cause the adjusted metabolic rate to alter the breathing cycle.
As a result of this stepped procedure, the body is enabled to handle a wide range of daily encounters. By reversing the process and adjusting the breathing rate, then mentally suggesting a specific quality of mind, the body responses associated with the breathing rate and state of mind can be artificially induced to allow the desired approach to the situation at hand. It is a futile exercise to attempt to control your surroundings without first learning to control your own perceptions of and reactions to the surroundings.
Power begins in the center of our beings and awakening to that reality is a natural development of training in ninjutsu. When all about you is frantic chaos, do not be absorbed by the crashing of gongs, the screams of the hysterical, or the wailing of the grievous. Become one with the rocks that never feel the need to weep. Become a part of the plains that never feel the need to shift about at the whim of minor happenings. Your roots are buried deep. Like those of the mountains. F or the student of ninjutsu, understanding the mind and its workings is crucial to development as a competent fighter.
The brain is a valuable self-defense tool often overlooked in many martial arts. Physical conditioning and technique memorization can take the practitioner only so far, and the advanced fighter must go on to develop the qualities of awareness and detachment. This detachment is an ability to figuratively back off from activity in which you are engaged and observe the total picture of you and your adversary. Instead of concentrating on beating your adversary, you allow him to make the mistakes that will bring about his downfall. One aspect of effective self-protection or effective martial arts training is total involvement in the activity from moment to moment.
Take a few minutes to recall your most frustrating moments in the training hall or in actual self-defense. Perhaps you were sparring with a training partner who was giving you a difficult time so you tried harder to beat him, filling the air with all your thoughts of what you should do or should have done, making it even easier for him to pick up your intentions and control you. Perhaps it was in an actual combat encounter and your thoughts of the harm or injury he could possibly do to you hindered your natural skills and forced you to take a defensive attitude resulting in a tough time handling the situation.
Successful activity and exciting living depends on percent involvement in whatever you are doing at any given moment. Become totally involved, however, and the very intensity of what you are doing and thinking will capture the moment entirely. In terms of self-defense fighting, a student must first go through intensive physical training so that he will know what actions are appropriate for various attacks and attackers. In the physical level of training, you must trust your teachers and accept what they teach you from their experience.
This physical training period is a time for coming to know what works best for each personal body build. Physical weaknesses or shortcomings are easily observed by others, and they can be remedied by suggestions horn an observing teacher. Darting eyes and fidgeting hands betray nervousness. Locked knees will prevent swift, balanced movement. Drawing a fist or shoulder back will warn the adversary that a punch is coming.
However, only you can know what is going on in your mind. No one can reach in there to see what you are doing or help coach you. Zen-style meditation is a good way to practice this mental discipline and awareness. The meditative state is actually a state of intensified awareness, not sluggish drowsiness.
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Meditation practice is a means to total effectiveness in a physical endeavor. Simple Meditation Find a reasonably quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Do not seek total silence; a few natural noises will actually help. If you wish, you can place a mat on the floor or ground for comfort, and you should have a small, firm pillow nearby. Sit in the middle of the mat with your legs outstretched.
Draw the left foot toward you, and place the heel in the crotch with the sole resting against the right thigh. Insert the outer edge of the right foot between the calf and thigh of the left leg. Lean forward and pull the pillow in under your seat so that it is in a comfortable position. Raise and straighten your body trunk, with the back slightiy arched so that the stomach and chest are pushed forward. Rest the right hand palm up in the left hand, with the thumb tips touching.
Your hands should be tucked into your lap tighdy, with your elbows close to your body trunk. The traditional meditation pose has nothing inherendy magical about it. Sitting in a Western ladder- backed chair with the hips as far back as possible and the feet firmly planted on the ground can produce similarly satisfactory conditions for successful meditation. The Eastern meditation pose is recommended when possible, however, in that the supported back in a chair can permit too much bodily relaxation and lead to drowsiness and sleep.
The traditional pose also provides the benefit of teaching consciousness of the proper healthful posture. Stretch your spine to the ceiling and then setde it. Let your shoulders fall naturally. Rock back and forth and horn side to side several times to get the feel of the vertical centerline. Look straight ahead and then lower your chin until your eyes come to rest on the floor about two meters in front of you. Pull your chin in as far as you can.
Lower your eyelids to shade your eyes, but do not close your eyes. Close your mouth and breathe through the nose. This seated posture is the basic position for meditation practice. Your folded legs help to keep tension on the lower spine, which will keep your back straight. Remember to keep your chin tucked in and your back anatomically straight. Prom this seated posture, you can begin to learn how to observe from within.
Allow yourself to concentrate totally on feeling the breathing action. Something can feel your breath going in and out, and the stomach rise and fall. Something is aware of the sound of your breathing. Somewhere in your head, something can hear the word. Try to watch the something that can hear your thoughts.
Clench your hands into fists and then return them to the meditation position. Something watches the hands move. Something quite apart horn the hands observes the action. Try to watch the observing something as it considers the hands. We might at first think of this observer in ourselves as simply being our mind at work watching our bodies.
But there is more complexity than that. What is this thing that watches everything as if it were apart horn us? Practice calling up The Observer and using it to look at things. If you are breathing, The Observer watches the breathing. Experiment with the observations so that you come to know and understand how The Observer works. In normal people, The Observer tends to run the consciousness.
This results in scattered thoughts, lack of awareness or mind wandering as The Observer skips around picking up anything that comes along. However, there are times when we need to control The Observer to prevent our emotions or outside happenings horn taking us over. Counting breaths is a simple and straightforward means of using The Observer and limiting its scope to a particular duty. Assume the seated posture described in the first exercise.
Allow yourself to get settled and adjusted to your surroundings. Begin to concentrate your attention on your breathing. Take natural breaths, letting your stomach move in and out. Do not try to consciously control or regulate the breath. Just let it happen. Begin to count the breaths with The Observer. Each time you breathe out, increase the number by one. When you reach nine, begin again at one. Your body is taking care of itself, holding itself upright, breathing naturally, blinking and swallowing occasionally.
Do not become upset if stray thoughts creep into the mind and you find The Observer involved with them. Simply be aware that The Observer has strayed and redirected the consciousness to the job of counting again. If you become too relaxed, the mind will be at rest with The Observer. The exercise seems extremely easy at first reading. It is not, however. The simplicity is designed to make it easy to tell whether you are doing the exercise effectively.
It is not difficult to notice when the exercise is not being done properly. The object of this exercise is to be aware of what you are observing and to not allow other things to interrupt the observation. This is harder work than it might seem. Begin with short periods of observing meditation. It is less discouraging to begin with five minutes of meditation and gradually increase with each sitting. Distractions will occur, of course. Noises, visual objects or thoughts will suddenly grab your attention. Do not be upset with the distractions.
Simply notice them and return to your concentration. Physical discomfort may get to you, also. If you are concentrating on the mental activity exclusively, you are not likely to notice the minor discomforts at all. Bear in mind that the results of this exercise will be applied to the ninja fighting method in later exercises. You are not counting for the sake of counting; you are counting for the sake of disciplining your concentration.
To be successful at this breath-counting exercise, you must want to be successful. Keep doing it just like you did when you were learning to punch or shoot properly. If you are not mentally ready for this, the exercise will be more difficult than the most complex physical techniques.
Pure Observation The first exercise dealt with proper body positioning and finding The Observer in your personality. The second exercise dealt with training The Observer to limit its scope and to concentrate its awareness. The next exercise trains The Observer to avoid verbalizing or conceptually structuring the observations. Assume the meditation position. Hold some small, natural object in your hand so you can examine it. It is suggested that a man-made object not be used because it might trigger memories or thoughts related to the use of the object.
Before beginning this exercise, it is a good idea to allow yourself to come to rest. Hold the object in your hands while sitting in the meditation position and temporarily forget it. Go back to Exercise Two and begin by observing your breath. If you feel confident in your ability to concentrate on counting, drop the one-through-nine routine and just observe the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe. Concentrate on this alone. After a few minutes, you should notice your breath slowing and your mind becoming totally involved with what you are doing.
Once this acclimation takes place, you may begin your object observation. Examine the object stick, rock, etc. Turn the object in your hands and really look at it. Observe your mind as you scan the object, and note your thoughts. Try to use your eyes like you would your sense of touch. Close your eyes and run your fingers over the object. You simply feel the object and are probably not using mental words to describe it to yourself. Use your eyes again.
Run your sight over the object as if you were feeling it with your eyes. Observe and take in all the features without thinking about words. Just like you notice a feature with your Observer, go on in your examination. Learn to cut off the distracting and time-consuming habit of mechanical thinking and simply observe without making value judgments. Over a period of several weeks, use different objects in this exercise. Keep the point of the exercise in mind for the first few sessions.
After a few sittings, the words describing the purpose should be forgotten, and you should be on your way to development. Unconscious Consciousness The purpose of this exercise is to bring the total body into the meditation process without destroying or disturbing the meditative state. We all have the ability to use our bodies in relaxed, unconscious movement and to do many things in everyday activity that use this ability. Usually, familiarity with a physical action brings about this unconscious ability.
We enter a room at night, find that it is dark and run our hand along the wall in an upward manner, flipping the lights on. We do this automatically without going through the conscious process of discovering the dark, wondering what to do about it, searching for a light switch, and deciding whether to flip it up or down, all in a deliberate manner.
We might be conversing with friends while climbing out of a swimming pool. Someone throws us a towel, and we catch it and begin drying off without interrupting our speech. We do not stop in midsentence, turn and line up with the thrower, hold our arms out protectively, and hold our breath until the towel hits us. Our catch is a graceful and natural one, and we hardly give it any notice at all. To practice this exercise, assume a natural standing pose. Lower your eyelids slightly to shade your eyes, and begin to narrow your concentration to your breathing.
Allow yourself a few minutes to become accustomed to this relaxation. When you feel you have reached the settled state of meditative awareness, slowly slide back into a defensive posture with your weight on your rear leg and your body turned sideways toward your training partner. Maintain the shaded eyes and stomach breathing. Direct your attention to your training partner, and observe him with the same nonverbalized awareness that you practiced in Exercise Three. If he slides to the side, just watch him. Adjust your position if you must to keep him in sight. Do not look for anything or anticipate any moves.
Simply watch him in a receiving manner as if you were a spectator at a performance of some sort. You should feel relaxed yet aware. From a distance of about two meters, your training partner attacks with a half-speed lunging punch at your face. In this exercise, the attacker should retreat after his single advance. As the interrupting fist moves away, you should return to the calmness of mind in the meditative state. Concentrate on your breathing if you need to quiet your mind. After a few moments of settling in the defensive position, again observe your training partner in the nonverbalized manner that you developed before.
Do not think about him or about not thinking about him. Simply allow your eyes to take him in. Your training partner next attacks with a front kick to your stomach or groin. Rock your weight back onto your rear leg and raise your front foot up, turning your toes inward. Allow the shin of his kicking leg to hit the sole of your extended foot. Keep your weight low over your rear leg so that you stop his kick without knocking yourself over.
The attacker should then retreat after his kick. As he moves away, you should return to the meditative state of awareness. Strive to keep your mind empty of emotions or considerations of your successfulness. Do not be concerned if your technique did not work exacdy as you wished. Do not become excited if your technique stops his attack. Retain the feeling that you are an observer and that the completed exercise no longer exists.
There is only the task of maintaining calm awareness in the present moment. From the defensive position, observe the attacker as he winds up and throws a soft rubber ball at you. As the ball approaches you, leap to the side or duck to avoid it. Again, resume the defensive pose and frame of mind in preparation for his next attack. You should feel ready for anything that happens and yet expect nothing. Continue this practice method using any single-action strike, kick or weapon attack and its counter. Individual creativity can be used once a basic familiarity with the process has developed.
The purpose of the training is to learn how to observe and detect any attacking motion as it originates and to successfully deal with it as it is carried out. These improvements can be enjoyed by all. A major benefit to the ninja, or any martial artist, however, is the increased accuracy in fighting, made possible by the increased observation. Remember that meditation training for the purpose of mind control can be more difficult than physical training at times.
In effect, you are adjusting a part of your personality. Do not expect a dramatic or revolutionary change overnight. Your mind can soar and join other minds. Do not be afraid to explore the dynamic potentiality of all things in the universe. To know feel and be all that you possibly can. Become a part of the ethereal and look down upon the earth as it plays its part in the cosmos.
Tap the knowledge of the heavens to see the scheme of impersonal totality and become a part of the mind and eyes of god. W hat is that elusive quality beyond physical mastery of techniques that allows certain fighters the ability to prevail in all encounters? It is feeling that a puncher is faking a swing. It is an unconscious knowledge that something is wrong just before an unarmed assailant pulls out a knife.
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It is knowing that an attacker awaits you in the parking lot with a pistol in his pocket. These and other skills of detection are developed by stripping away our faulty or clouded perceptions of things and events. We teach ourselves not to trust our impressions unless they are scientifically verifiable. All too often we ignore our subjective mental impressions or discount them as useless imagination, thereby robbing ourselves of a valuable source of input.
Beyond the five levels of physical consciousness, and the consciousness of the mind and its processes, lies a third realm of reality — an awareness of the unity and all-encompassing oneness that ties the universe together. This greater reality, or cosmic consciousness, is filtered through the mind and defined in ways that are understandable and acceptable to the physical organism.
It is crucial to recognize this concept in order to understand the basis of what we might call spiritual capabilities. Though the grosser physical manifestations of all matter appear to be separate, there remains a subde connection that links the essences of all in existence i.
This is in direct opposition to theories that state all things were created from the physical form upward and are therefore unconnected i. Though there is a common tendency to classify things as being either physical or spiritual, there is actually no such dividing line. Acknowledging the body, its spiritual connection with all other things, and its mental interpreter is not a statement of reality but rather a reflection of our human way of experiencing things.
There is no such thing as spirit as opposed to physicalness, in that anything that we would call spiritual has physical reality as its base. A few generations ago, however, the ability to send and receive words and images across miles of empty space would have been considered to be as otherworldly as extrasensory perception or transmutation of matter is today. Set up a giveaway. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime.
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