Traditional Japanese Martial Arts for Adults
by "Kensho" Len Silverson
Since Aikido is about developing the mind and body, how interested are you in “changing your mind”?
As conditioned human beings, we often do things that do not make sense. My Zen teacher, Roshi Jun Po, refers to this phenomenon as the “hysterical historical”. When someone insults us or says something that we do not like, our conditioning may lead us to anger, shame, judgment, violence, or repeating the insult many times in our mind, even though the person only insulted us once! Our minds are often conditioned to react, instead of respond
intelligently. If instead of reacting unconsciously, as we often do, we train our minds to respond with a combination of wisdom and compassion, we can completely and positively transform our lives. Is this possible? Gautama the Buddha, frequently taught that “experience, itself, is the great teacher.” In my experience, while substantially changing one’s mind is very difficult and requires a great deal of practice, it is possible, and it is the most worthwhile thing one can do. In my life, I changed my mind and the way I think, and my life has been transformed. I have transformed my life from having very frequent and long states of depression, to hardly ever experiencing depression, having a relationship where my wife was just about to leave me to a wonderful, strong, peaceful and intimate relationship with this same wife, and from being a stressed workaholic to living in a much more balanced way, while still enjoying professional success. My point is that we can change our minds!
So how can we change our minds? There are many ways. The Hoffman Institute provides a powerful program, framework, and toolkit of effective techniques that help us identify and transform the patterns in our minds. Dr. John DeMartini has numerous program such as “The Breakthrough Experience” that provides a method to recondition our mind by “collapsing” negative thoughts which zap our energy. Vippassana meditation is a technique that helps us to see things as they really are, not how we want them to be” and “aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation.” Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism offering a form of meditation called “Zazen” that is designed to “calm the body and the mind and experience insight into the nature of existence and thereby gain enlightenment (satori).”
Hollow Bones is a Rinzai school of Zen that offers a way to change the mind called “Mondo Zen,” which involves a dialectic protocol of koans (questions) designed to liberate us and has two parts of “Awakening to Clear Deep Mind” and “Transforming Your Disturbing Emotions”. Techniques such as “Kouk Sun Do” and “Qi Gong” are designed to build chi and balances our mind, body and spirit, thus changing our minds. I have mentioned these in particular, since these are some of the techniques that I have personally used to change my mind. There are countless other schools, techniques, forms of meditation, and teachings that can help us change our minds.
What do these techniques share in common? They all focus on awareness, and more specifically, becoming aware of our conditioning, so that we can stop reacting, transform ourselves, and become more conscious, allowing us to think and act more wisely. We, as human beings, live a great deal of our lives unaware of important things, for example, how our minds work.
If you would like to learn about and practice ways to “change your mind”, come to a “Zen With Len” session. CLICK HERE.