CALMING THE MIND
A body of water in its natural state is without ripples. Put some in a bucket undisturbed and it will remain calm. If, thinking of the tides and storms that wrack the sea, you get some foolish idea about the normal state of water being choppiness and put your hand in to still it, the obvious happens. The water becomes disturbed, just the opposite of what you have intended.
What about the mind? The brain continually gives off electro-magnetic vibrations—these are usually referred to as “brain waves.” These waves are given off as long as the brain is alive. If you start from the premise that your mind is choppy, the waves cannot become regular, no matter how hard you try to calm them. The order to the brain to calm itself creates its own waves. If you think to yourself that you are completely calm, that thought creates waves, too. You cannot unify mind and body or become one with the Ki of the universe if you are continually disturbing your brain waves with thought
You must first decide that the ultimate state of your mind is calmness. Think of a wave. Calm it by half. Continue the process infinitely and the wave becomes infinitely calm. Note that it neverbecomes zero, however. The Ki of the universe lies on the infinite, never completed path to zero. If you stop the wave on its trip to zero, it loses its dynamic motion—it becomes zero. This is deadcalmness. Living calmness is infinitely dynamic and contains infinite power. Dead calmness is without living force and contains no power. These two are entirely different. You must keep yourmind on the path to infinite smallness. This is calmness. This is mind and body unification.
Discussion, though, is easy. What counts is how to do it. The modern age does not lend itself to sitting in zazen in the mountains for ten or twenty years. Mind and body discipline cannot beapplied in your daily life is useless. Through a life time of metaphysical training and experimentation, I have arrived at four basic principles which I feel should enable everyone to unify mind and body in daily life.
THE FOUR BASIC PRINCIPLES
These principles are:
1. Keep One Point
2. Relax Completely
3. Keep Weight Underside
4. Extend Ki
1. Keep one point
I practiced Zen with great enthusiasm under a priest in Kyoto during my college years. I tried to keep mind and body unified at all times whether at school or on the train.
A basic precept of Zazen is, “Stretch the spine, put the nose and navel in line, line up the ear and shoulder, and sit like a rock.” This is thought of as sitting with dignity. This style of sitting, however, is wrong. I used to sit like that for long periods but could never feel stable in that posture. But after waking after falling asleep sitting this way, I felt very stable. I could not understand why for a long time. lt is difficult to change the teachings of old priests, but it is wrong to sit putting strength in the lower abdomen. I dared to correct this to. “Keep one point in the lower abdomen.”
Although some still believe in putting strength in the lower abdomen, it is a place to concentrate the mind, not to put strength. If you keep the one point in the lower abdomen, the mind automatically concentrates on the so-called third eye (called tentei in Japanese), the one point in the forehead. The old Zen adage really should be to put the tentei and the one point in the lower abdomen in line. Some may resist this idea. Let’s experiment.
A sits with his back erect, keeping his nose and navel in one line, his ear and shoulder in another line. B pushes A’s chest or shoulder with his hand. Or B lifts A’s knee. A will easily fall backward.
The mind and body can be compared to a hand and its reflection in a mirror. When the hand is open, the image in the mirror is of an open hand. If you have an immovable mind, you should have an immovable body. When you are knocked over by a slight push, your mind is moving. It is not calm.
A sits with his back erect. He puts the Tentei and the one point in the lower abdomen in line, and concentrates his mind on the one point when pushed by B. A is immovable if B pushes his shoulder or tries to lift his knee.
This is the state of mind and body unification of living calmness. Now ¡ will explain how to concentrate your mind on the one point more deeply. The navel is easy to concentrate on but the one point in the lower abdomen one inch below the navel is harder to concentrate on because there is no mark there. Teaching concentration on the one point, would be of no use if it is easily lost.
The universe is an infinite sphere with an infinite radius.
If you take a step to the right, the universe does not become one step shorter in that direction. Wherever you are, you are always the centre of that infinite sphere. If this sphere that is the universe is condensed, it becomes the one point in the lower abdomen. This one point is of no definite radius; it should be condensed by half infinitely.
When it reaches the verge of being too small to be conceived, keep holding it in your mind and leave it as it is. At that moment you have become one with the universe. If you let your mind slip, you will become weak and will fall back if given even a slight push.
This is what is meant by the old Zen proverb. “Think something which cannot be thought.” If you reduce the one point to a size too small to imagine, your mind becomes infinitely calm. You will naturally become immovable when you are one with the universe. This is the first principle of mind and body unification.
Try it yourself.
2. Relax completely
Recent medical figures indicate that 70 to 80 percent of all ailments are due to problems related to the nervous system. Doctors urge their patients to relax, but may themselves be prey to stomach ulcers or other illnesses caused by nervous tension. In activities such as golf, our tension at a crucial point often directly sabotages our success.
Why is relaxation such a mammoth problem? Because of wide-spread misconception about the nature of true relaxation. People conceive of it as a pleasant but weak state, causing them to revert to tension in an emergency. They are unaware that real relaxation is the strongest state.
A, standing, keeps one point and relaxes completely. B grasps A’s wrist with one hand and attempts to lift it toward A’s shoulder. As long as A keeps his mind atone point, he will be stable; B will not be able to lift his wrist.
This is real relaxation. Keeping one point and relaxing completely are completely equivalent. They cannot be separated.
A relaxes, but concentrates his mind on the top is head. He looks the same as before. B grasps his hand and pushes upward. This time the hand rises easily.
This is not relaxation, but losing power. Relaxation is the strongest state; losing power is the weakest. The problem is that they look almost exactly alike. This is the reason that the true nature of relaxation is so widely misunderstood. Great men have traditionally remained calm and relaxed in an emergency. They have acquired the capacity for genuine relaxation through their training and, by trial and error, through experience. It’s not too late for you. Keeping the one point and maintaining real relaxation, greatness can be yours, too.
3. Keep weight underside
The weight of all objects naturally falls underside. The only time the human body is any different is when it is tense. When you are calm, the weight of all parts of your body will be underside. People forget this simple fact, and cannot be calm. Calmness is man’s natural state.
A extends one arm in front of him, relaxes and thinks of the weight of the arm being on its bottom edge. B tries to push A’s arm upward, but finds it heavy as a rock. Because the mind moves the body, its workings will be reflected in the body. If you think that the weight of your arm is underside, it becomes so and the arm becomes unliftable.
A concentrates his mind on the upper edge of his extended arm. B can now lift the arm easily.
If you think that your weight is upper side, the body complies. If you want to calm yourself, to settle down in a tight situation, don’t rely on the gods. Tell yourself: “The weight of all objects falls underside. My body is no different. If I do nothing and relax, I will naturally settle down. I’m calm.” In this way, with confidence, you can easily calm down. If you practice this consistently, your subconscious mind will gradually change, so that relaxation will come to you without effort. The second and third principles are one and the same.
4. Extend Ki
A person with weak Ki has no confidence. He hesitates at every new undertaking and consequently does poorly. If you want a vigorous, positive life, the first thing you must do is strengthen your Ki. There is only one kind of Ki. What we refer to as “strong” Ki is simply Ki which is strongly extended. “Weak” Ki is Ki that is poorly extended.
A extends one arm and tenses it in an attempt to make it unbendable. Using both hands, B tries to bend A’s arm toward his shoulder. If he is at all near A in strength, B will have no trouble.
The most common notion in the world is that a tensed arm is a strong arm. In view of tests like this, the impressiveness of all the Mr. World, with both arms bent to show off their bulging muscles, is questionable.
A extends the same arm and relaxes completely. He concentrates on the idea that the power of his mind is rushing through his arm and out from his fingertips into limitless space. B attempts to bend the arm but has no success.
This is an example of extending Ki. To extend Ki you must believe that you are doing so. In other words, you must use your mind positively. Sound travels, light travels. There is no reason why your mental power should not travel. Just like water gushing through a charged fire hose, Ki flows forward when you believe it to be. The idea may seem strange, but only because Ki is invisible.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FOUR PRINCIPLES
Although there are four principles for the coordination of mind and body, it is not necessary to concentrate on all four simultaneously. A sceptic might say, “I can’t put my mind infinitely far away and concentrate on the one point in the lower abdomen at the same time; I have only one mind.” He would be right, of course. It’s impossible to perform two contradictory acts simultaneously. No one can stand while he is lying down.
As different as they appear, however, the four basic principles point to the same thing. If you satisfy any one of them, you satisfy all of them. If you fail in one, you lose them all. Roughly speaking. the first and fourth are principles of the mind, and the second and third are principles of the body. Since mind and body are ultimately one, however, the four principles deal with the same thing.
A stands with one arm extended in front of Him. He thinks the weight of his arm to the his arm to the underside, keeping the third principle. B tries to bend A’s arm but is unsuccessful, because the fourth principle is also observed. If B pushes A’s shoulder. A does not move. The first principle is likewise kept. Because, with weight underside, A is also relaxed, the second principle is observed. If the third is maintained, the other three are also kept.
A thinks the weight of his extended arm to the upper side, thereby losing the third principle. B can easily bend A’s arm and push him off balance. With one principle lost, none of the other three are maintained.
If you cannot unify your mind and body through application of the first principle, try one of the other three. When a principle of the mind is unsuccessful, invoke a principle of the body. If the avenue of the body works poorly, use a principle of the mind. Under any kind of circumstance, you will be able to use one of the four principles to coordinate your mind and body.
The path is now clear toward what has been held through the ages to be the most difficult of tasks, unification of mind and body in daily life.