Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Mind, Our Enemy (At Times)

The legend of the Japanese Samurai—military servants and spiritual warriors guarding royalty, preceding the Industrialisation of Japan—lives on. One of the enduring lessons of the Samurai is how to fight with a ‘tight body and a loose mind.’ But the lessons of the Samurai are not limited to fighting. They help us improve our thinking too.

They reveal a truth that we often think too much, too scattered, too intensely; instead of letting the spirit flow through—and in alignment with—life.

Our thought-lives are best a disciplined activity. Where we allow ourselves to think in undisciplined ways we run a fraught gauntlet. Not only will we disintegrate the mental, emotional and spiritual “unit,” we fight our own relevancies and realities. Being at war with oneself is not even on the radar of self-actualisation.

Many of us who’ve been plagued with our overly-analytical thinking will at times find the mind more trouble than it’s often worth. We’ve wanted to give up on it, or do anything to bring rest to it, and us. It’s the mind in overload, not harnessed to bring power to the potential.

The Samurai thinking of the Bushido (“the way of the warrior”) centres on spiritual chivalry, wisdom and serenity; namely of Shinto Buddhism. And it doesn’t matter. We Christians (if you’d call yourself one) in this postmodern age have a lot to learn of these ancient meditative practices—in order to bring oneness and synchronicity to the mind. The Christian mystics were actually just as well versed in meditative practice as the Buddhists were.

Thought can at times be seamless; the flow of energy boding upon the need of the time; perfect and timely reconciliation of the moment. At other times we’re awry cognitively—the emotions of the heart or fatigue influencing, having their way.

If we can only understand the problems of a ‘tight mind’ and how we individually loosen it, we stand ourselves in a very useful stead. We gain some sense of self-mastery. And surely this is part of the purpose of life.

The purpose of this article was simply to highlight the dangers of the aberrant mind and how harmful it can be. The positive is, through self-discipline, we can master our minds more effectively.

We are to control our own thinking. But this is to be done with a spiritual flow that is at one with ourselves, and certainly congruent with the emotional.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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