Continued from page 1
If you have a dog bring it to a foreign country some time and you will notice that it does quite well in understanding basic conversation directed towards it by local populace. In Japanese they would say "Kawaii! Kawaii!", and your dog would soon be wagging its tail. Either your dog is a heck of a lot better at learning foreign languages than you are (which is quite possible if you are like many of my fellow Americans), or, your dog is picking up basic meaning of what is being said, via tone of voice, volume, and phrasing. Your rational self thinks with aid of verbal language. Your somatic self "thinks" like all other mammals, and such thinking involves making meaning out of what is sensed, rather than distilling meaning from spoken word. When entering into a state of mushin we want feeling, intuitive, mammalian mind to come to forefront, while rational mind is encouraged to take a bit of a holiday.
When things are going well for us our two selves seem to cooperate rather nicely and at such times it is likely that we will not have internal dialogue. We easily reach this cooperative mushin state when walking in a beautiful mountain range area, playing with a young child, or perhaps when watching a compelling movie. In my way of thinking, three examples offered here are everyday examples of a peak performance state. The whole self is actively aware of, in touch with, and absorbed by, what is transpiring. There is no need to comment on what is occurring, because every part of you already "knows" what is going on. Your thoughts, feelings, and actions occur simultaneously and spontaneously. If you take a moment to think about it, most any state that we find highly pleasurable could be defined as a peak performance state. Interesting to think about how peak performance relates to pleasure.
On other hand, when we get worried, frightened, or angry, we usually find our two selves (rational and somatic) in conflict with each other. In fact what becomes most obvious during times of stress, is very different methods that your rational and somatic selves have of processing and understanding what is occurring. When your rational self gets upset it uses words to express what it is feeling. "What's matter stupid? I thought you knew better!" might be a common complaint uttered by your rational self. Your somatic self on other hand communicates that it is upset by releasing various enzymes that lead to an upset stomach, or by tensing up muscles of body until you find yourself with a headache. What is important to note here is that both selves can be quite adept at communicating that something is wrong, but often cognitive self delivers this message in form of self criticism rather than really helping you to note in a compassionate manner just what needs to be different. Your rational self is sort of like a scientist or news commentator. It comments on what is being felt, much more than actually feeling into experience.
One of main tasks of entering into and maintaining a mushin peak performance state is keeping your rational self and your somatic self cooperating with each other and supporting each other. In most instances what we invariably find, is that instructions delivered by rational mind via internal dialogue, almost always get in way.
What to do then?
The Seishindo Practice "Peak Performance Coach #1" can help you to begin to understand early stages of peak performance states. Rather than "trying" to achieve a certain way of being, and wondering why it isn't quite happening yet, this exercise is designed to help you start from where you are, and begin journey from there.
Charlie Badenhop is the originator of Seishindo, an Aikido instructor, NLP trainer, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapist. Benefit from his thought-provoking ideas and a new self-help Practice every two weeks, by subscribing to his complimentary newsletter "Pure Heart, Simple Mind" at http://www.seishindo.org/anger/index.html .