360 Degree Sensitivity

Its time to reengage your Warrior’s attention, but ever so slightly as you would tune a radio station with the fine tuning dial. When you activate your warrior’s attention you become like a samurai, alert yet relaxed, prepared yet not initiating needless action. It is now that you establish a clear intent to be in tune with the flow of power and knowledge coming toward you and from you.

360 degree Sensitivity

Turn on your 360-degree awareness; open the eyes in the back of you head. Become so sensitive that, like a deer in the forest you can feel the subtle impress of the hunter’s attention as he stalks you. An ancient Zen master, Takuan, describes how the mind of the martial artist functions. IN two short essays, “No Gap” and “Mind Like a Spark,” he talks about the warrior’s fluidity in action, explaining that the spontaneous responsiveness of the warrior is not related as much to quickness of action as it is to immediacy of attention and freedom of mind. He says,

“If your mind stops on the sword your opponent is swinging at you, a gap opens up; and in that gap your action falters. If there is no gap between your opponents striking sword and your action, the sword of the adversary will become your sword. A mind like a spark means the state of mind where there is no gap. When a flint is struck, sparks fly at once….There is no interval for the mind to linger….If attention lingers, your mind is taken over by others.”

Keep your mind rounded and extended evenly through space. Master Takuan also states, “If you don’t put your mind anywhere, it will pervade your whole body fully, spreading throughout your whole being, so that when you need hands it works your hands, when you need feet it works your feet, when you need eyes it works your eyes. Since it is present whenever you need it, it makes the functions you need possible. If your fix your mind in one place, it will be taken up by that place and thus be deficient in function.

The Warrior’s Walk

You can begin anywhere, indoors or out. Stand and become alert yet relaxed. Don’t fix your attention on anything. Notice everything around you in a circle. When you feel the current flow into you, let yourself begin to move. Let you body experience the natural shape of the surroundings, using all the senses. Do not decribe the your experience to yourself. As you pass by the protruding corner of a hallway and change directions, notice the different impressions the old and new space make on you feel the impact of the sharp line of the corner coming toward you.

As you walk, notice what your back is aware of. Can you feel an object in back of you when its ten feet away, five feet away, one foot away? Let yourself feel simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from objects and directions. Where does the movement itself want to go? If you are walking down a busy street notice how your body responds to people passing by, to mailboxes, lampposts and store fronts.

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