Tuesday, July 4, 2023

The Ultimate Form of Focus is Mushin 無心の心


In front of him was Musashi's toughest opponent yet. 

Known as a swordsman who harbored no affinity to style, Musashi flowed with his opponent's attacks and tried to find openings. But Sasaki Kojiro, Musashi's strongest opponent yet, rigidly adhering to Chūjō-ryu sword style, was also focused on finding ways to cut him down. 

It was a close battle as both men grasped for dominance, attempting to usurp the other's sword art by taking calculated risks to fell the domino pieces of each other's minds and bodies. Both of them would attempt to chisel the other's body like sword artisans on stone. Their goal was to break the other's body to fracture the other's mind and will. The longer the battle went, the more they needed to protect their indomitable will and mind. So, they remained intensely focused because one wrong move could lead to death, and only one would survive.  

As metal swords clanged, sparks rained. And every artisanal attack was recorded in milliseconds, their body being the canvas. 

It was a torturous "death by 1,000 cuts."



"Mushin no shin" translated to "the mind without mind" is the strongest attainable state of focus. 

Mushin is a state of mind that removes the limitations of thought and emotion but is open to everything. It is a state of "flow" where the mind instinctively reacts to all forms of stimuli using every technique, weapon, or asset at its disposal. 

Like a computer in human form, Mushin is using only the information it currently has but is expressing them without fear, prejudice, and bias. 



What does this mean?

It means that the techniques both Musashi and Kojiro are using, are not being watered down with their thoughts or emotions. It is being expressed in real-time, with their bodies being the vehicle and their minds being the headquarters that gives out commands. 


Using the state of "no mind" yet still using their "minds." 


Almost like an out-of-body experience, yet still being in the driver's seat, Musashi and Kojiro are constantly receiving feedback and making real-time adjustments without the bias of fear, emotions, and sometimes logic...

On autopilot.



Is Mushin the most effective? 

It can be, but only if the technique is already precise. As mentioned earlier, Mushin is a flow state that is almost akin to a computer where only the information it stores is being used to process information in real time. 


Instead, Mushin is a great way to get feedback


Similar to how people learn in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, each belt level determines the efficiency of techniques, so the Mushin or "flow-state" of a White Belt would look vastly different from that of a Black Belt. 



How to test techniques using Mushin

So, this is where Bruce Lee's quote comes into play.  

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. 

 

If a man practices his kick 10,000 times with great technique, he will be able to use that kick without any delay, whereas someone that only practices it 1,000 times may have a bit of a delay comparatively. 


But practicing technique is not the same as using it in a sparring match. 


Using this in sparring requires them to go into a flow state by attacking and defending, using their current techniques, from unique angles or situations and interpreting them in milliseconds. 

Afterward, they would have to be mindful again by analyzing the results of this sparring. They do this by getting back into their conscious thoughts and emotions to process the feedback of their techniques. 

Like a computer doing a stress test, the end of the sparring session is the test result. And similar to getting out of a trance or waking up from a dream, they take back control of their mind in order to analyze and interpret the results.

If any of their techniques had flaws in them, it would have been shown during this flow-state or "Mushin" sparring. 



Using Mushin for life

Mushin is not only used in combat but can also be used in daily life. Getting into a flow state is a powerful tool for productivity, child-rearing, business, and more. This is because it removes the human bias of thoughts and emotions and focuses on action. It incorporates the current techniques or data that is already available internally and uses it without bias. 

It does not use "fear of failure" as a paralyzing agent, which only serves to prolong the inevitable, which then leads to procrastination or precrastination

Instead, it allows one to operate in an out-of-body way where their subconscious draws out all the information and power within them to accomplish their daily checklists. It is almost like doing a computer "stress test". 



Mushin Feedback (How YOU can use Mushin for life)

After accomplishing the daily checklists or "stress tests" using Mushin, you can then set aside feedback time to see, interpret, and implement the results. 

By using the current techniques or methodologies, you ask yourself, "what did you do right, and what did you do wrong?"

It's almost like waking up out of a dream or "trance" state and getting back into your human thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Then, it is attempting to analyze your results by taking back control of your consciousness.

For example, if you use Mushin for child-rearing, did you notice that your child responded positively when you said "xyz?" and did they respond negatively to "zyr?" If they responded negatively, what do you think you did right or wrong? Then you would take this feedback and make the changes required to make your techniques better. 

You practice the changes, and then incorporate Mushin again. 




Conclusion

Mushin is a great way to automate the technique you already have to accomplish your daily checklists immediately and effectively without delay. 

It does so by removing the bias of personal thoughts or emotions (such as fear of failure) to accomplish tasks in real-time by using all of the data points and techniques within your arsenal, and in a flow state (without being self-conscious about it). 

Afterward, by setting a time block within your agenda, you see the results of your Mushin flow state and practice analyzing what went right or wrong with it. 

As a result, you then make your current techniques or methodologies even greater by implementing changes to them and practicing those techniques with the improved changes. 

After practicing them consciously, you can then use Mushin again to get into a flow state to use your upgraded techniques. 

Using Mushin in this way will serve to provide incredible productivity and fulfillment in you and your family's lives. 

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Alex Sung

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