The Spiritual Warrior
by Robert Bessler
“Link yourself to heaven and earth; stand in the very center with your heart receptive to
the resounding mountain echo.”
- Morihei Ueshiba / John Stevens –
The Essence of Aikido
A Spiritual Warrior is someone who moves forward in their spiritual evolution and Expansion, even in the face of very difficult choices. They do what they must to follow the path of spiritual advancement, no matter how hard it may be. The Spiritual Warrior lives from a place of non-attachment and will change everything in their life if need be in the pursuit of spiritual Expansion. I have found that once you seriously begin seeking the spiritual path, you will eventually be faced with the decision of graduating from a Spiritual Seeker to that of a Spiritual Warrior. It is only by passing through these stages that you can become a Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Seeker is one who is just starting or dabbling in spiritual or religious teachings. They read and attend seminars and workshops, practice many different systems and techniques and begin to make some real progress. Sooner or later though they will be faced with the decision to remain a Seeker without making any further discernible advancement, or to become a Spiritual Warrior, understanding what it is to rely on their own Divine nature for what they need. The professional Spiritual Seeker continues through life experimenting in this and that, going from one New Age fad to the next, lost in the fog in fear of truly discovering their Divine nature and personal power. They continue to rely on others to make their decisions for them and are easily thrown at the first hint of distress or improvement.
The Spiritual Warrior, on the other hand, forges ahead into the great mist of the unknown, doing what must be done in order to keep making progress. For the Spiritual Warrior, there is no stopping or stalling out, because they know that to stop or stall means to go backwards in their evolution. This is seen as simply unacceptable. They begin to gather all the techniques of value, the ones that really serve them, learning to rely on a base system that serves their greater progress. More than likely they are open to drawing from numerous systems of spirituality and religion as they grow enough to realize for themselves what is true and honestly helping them. Great respect for the truth of all systems is recognized and reflected in their personal practice. These are the people that shine brightly and gravitate toward tranquility and serenity instead of drama and egotism. The Spiritual Warrior develops the personal strength to take full responsibility for all their choices and actions, and applies their skills in ways that allow others around them to feel safe. The Spiritual Warrior diligently practices for their own advancement, as well as to protect others and offer help and healing to those who really need it.
While it is not necessary to be a martial artist or to even care about swords, the lessons from these practices can be applied by and be of great assistance to everyone. One translation of the Japanese term known as Bujin is “Divine Warrior.” This is seen in the martial arts organization of the Bujinkan, headed by Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi. This type of warrior never tires in their pursuit to create a clear connection to their Divine nature, their Higher Self, and their sense of oneness with the Universal Source. The symbol often used by these warriors and the ninja shadow warriors of Japan is the kanji or ideogram for Nin, which is loosely translated to mean patience, perseverance, or to endure. This Japanese character consists of two individual characters placed one on top of the other. The upper character is the kanji for blade, or more specifically, the sharp edge of the sword. The lower kanji means heart. Jointly, this refers to a sword being held over your heart.
One way to look at this is that together it refers to remaining strong and true to your heart when someone attempts to keep you from your path, even with a sword. To remain true to your heart is to remain true to your spirit. While there are a great number of interpretations of this, I have come to know it as the ability to keep a pure, sincere heart, even in the face of adversity; to remain true to what you hold in your heart, the seat of the original spirit, even under the threat of death. Here lies the paradox of needing the heart to be both immovable and free at the same time. Furthermore, I feel this speaks of the resolute strength that is required of the heart in the journey to spiritual growth and Expansion. Through my own training in martial arts and various spiritual systems, I personally hold the meaning to be found in the methods of muto dori (no-sword capture— to evade, counter and capture the sword of an attacker when you are unarmed). When practicing the methods of being unarmed while another person attacks you with the sword, the challenge is to be able to evade the sword cut, neutralize the threat, and maintain a constantly open heart center filled with joy and love while you do so.
As you may well imagine, this is a monumental task, as the heart center typically closes upon threat of danger. In many esoteric systems the heart is referred to as a flower. Just as there are flowers which close in the darkness of the night, only to reopen again in the morning light, so too does the heart center react. Through spiritual training and growth it becomes possible for the heart to stay open even in the darkness, shining its light upon the world. To have the heart center remain open under potentially dangerous circumstances necessitates a supremely pure and unshakable heart. This is teaching the warrior to have the ability to move freely without tension, to receive without resistance, to evade without anger or the need for revenge. It is keeping the Divine connection at all times, no matter the circumstance, and living from your heart center without allowing it to be affected by negativity. Would you be able to remain light-hearted as you stared death in the eye? Could you smile a sincere smile even as someone was attempting to harm you? Would you be able to remain compassionate even though someone else meant to do you harm? I have come to know that the heart must come first. Even for the warrior, the heart is the most precious of gifts and developing the heart center is more important than developing the weapons skills. The warrior must establish inner balance by having solid spiritual practices in place alongside their fighting skills.
The methods of muto dori (no-sword capture) are said to be extremely high-level techniques. It doesn’t take much to comprehend this, as truly having the skill to live through a real sword attack by a highly trained sword master seems to be the stuff of fantasy. It was, however, a real skill that was utilized by ancient warriors. I experienced the essence of having the blade over my heart both literally and figuratively by needing to go under the blade for emergency open heart surgery. A bit ironic isn’t it? During my period of recovery, after my brain began to reconnect to my body and my nervous system adjusted, I drafted a letter to Grandmaster Hatsumi. I shared a couple of things with him from that experience that I have never shared with another living soul. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for giving me the skills I needed to survive that experience. He responded by sending me a hand drawn picture of Kurikara, the sword of the esoteric Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-O (the Immovable Light King) along with a blessing of good health. It is now one of the great treasures in my collection of Divine artwork. This is the meaning of a spiritual or Divine Warrior. This is how I have come to know it through my own life experiences.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that experience was just preparing me for what I had to do next as a Spiritual Warrior. During my recovery, my perspective on life began to go through a major shift. It was here that I heard the voice of my Higher Self and the need to evolve spiritually to all new levels. It was clear to me that this calling was to take place now or never. Such a thing would require a complete alteration of my life; everything would have to change in order for me to experience the spiritual transformation that I needed. I recognized that this calling, this need to become the person I might be, was a direct result of the planetary evolutionary shift that is happening. After a few years of inner and outer turmoil I made the conscious decision to move forward, to answer the call of my Higher Self and to expand into who I might become. I know better than most that change is difficult, but I also know that it is the path for growth and the rewards are well worth the effort. Making serious changes in your life also requires the strength and resolve of a warrior.
Another aspect of the Spiritual Warrior is reflected in the twenty-second chapter of the Tao Te Ching written by Lao Tzu and is also reflected in the King James Version of the Bible. This idea is phrased well in the Bible (Matthew 5:5) and contains the most widely known expression, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” While there are many ways to interpret this statement, I would like to share my understanding of it. The “meek” are those on the spiritual path who have overcome their ego. Meek does not mean to be “weak” as many interpret it, but instead it actually refers to having spiritual strength, with the ability to live one’s life in authenticity from the heart center.
As the Spiritual Warrior rises ever higher in energetic vibration, reaching upward toward that of the Divine, those around him with low vibration will be threatened by his very presence. Feelings of insecurity from their false beliefs and anger from being shown their shortcomings will consume their hearts, closing the hidden door even further. They are trapped in a vicious cycle where their lower vibrations cause negative emotions, and those negative emotions perpetuate the lowering of vibrations even further. In the mirror of the Spiritual Warrior’s heart, her bliss reflects their unhappiness, her love reflects their fears, her gratitude reflects their intolerance, and her divine truths reflect their ignorance. It is through the distaste of their own reflected image that they must decide to accept change and embrace growth, to allow their vibrations to rise and their hearts to open fully and completely, to be filled with true freedom, love, bliss and appreciation. After all, this is how the Spiritual Warrior began his quest too. This is the love and service of the Spiritual Warrior.
Develop The Strength Of The Warrior,
The Compassion of a Healer
and The Spiritual Wisdom of The Sage
The Warrior, the Healer and the Sage—these are the three facets of a human being who has become complete. Most people fragment themselves to focus all their intention purely on one area of life. The truth is that human beings, men and women alike, are made to be all three at the same time. The development of all three areas of Being is a sign of a complete, open and honestly shared system, whether it be martial arts, a healing system, or a religious or spiritual system. The ancient fighting systems contained healing techniques, as well as spiritual teachings to help balance the warrior. Over time, these things were splintered; today people believe they are getting a complete system if they learn just one of these areas. The unfortunate truth is that they are not.
The healer learned their methods could be used to harm someone if the need was to arise; they referred to this as “reverse medicine.” Healing was directly linked to the Divine, so these ancient healers were generally spiritual in nature and had spiritual practices intertwined with their healing practices. Some spiritual practitioners, such as monks and priests, remained as purists and refused to fight as they knew it could lower their vibration to do so, but they usually had healing skills. These healing skills manifested as a by-product of many of the spiritual practices; examples of such things can be found in the monastic circle walking methods of many religions. The same circle walking methods can be found in certain schools of Pakua Chang, a Chinese martial art. Other monks were fierce warriors when need be, utilizing their fighting skills to protect the ancient teachings and the temples that housed them. Finding a balance in all three aspects of Healer, Warrior and Spiritual Sage allows you to live through the trinity and see the world through the three-fold lens. It also develops and gives free reign to your potential and power as a fully actualized human being.
In order to succeed on your spiritual journey, you will need the heart and spirit of a warrior. This will enable you to keep forging forward, even when life challenges your very core beliefs. As soon as you think you understand what’s going on and what to believe, you may be forced to change those beliefs once again. That’s just how it works. In order to help you I will present tactics and techniques for transforming yourself into a “Spiritual Warrior.” Not as someone who goes out and fights to prove their way is the one right way, but to transform you into someone who simply does not know how to give up or quit. You will be powerful enough to keep moving forward and overcome any walls that rise in your way. Remember you will need to hold the compassion of a healer in order to be easy on yourself, evade frustration and allow your Self to heal. You will also learn to hold compassion in your heart for others around you. Once you let go of such judgments, your vibration will rise, as compassion is a product of the emotion of love. Throughout the process, you will be gradually unfolding the spiritual wisdom of the great sages within your Self. You will begin to understand the depth of the words of the world’s great spiritual masters throughout the ages. You will come to feel the truth of their teachings and embody them within yourself.
Overcoming the Symptoms of Change
Earlier I spoke of the symptoms people are experiencing in this time of great change and transition. These symptoms are signs that things are changing. All of these symptoms are present to tell you changes are required in yourself and your life in order to effectively pass through this shift. Physical tension and resistance, negative emotions and internal energy blockages are just some of the afflictions that will make passing through this shift a very challenging experience. After my surgery I felt depressed and unsettled; I couldn’t shake the feeling that the life I was living was not meant for me. Through the ability to hear the guidance of my inner voice or Higher Self, I came to know I needed to change. I’d developed several poor behaviors requiring reversal if I were to make this transformational shift into a spiritually-based life. It is difficult on family and friends when they cannot possibly fathom the depth of what is happening, but I summoned my Warrior Spirit and did what I had to do. I hope after all the smoke clears and the dust settles, these people will be able to let go of undeserved blame and accept the truth of what has happened. This was necessary for me to become a better person and evolve as someone walking the path of personal transformation, in order to serve as a messenger to others in the world at this time when messengers are needed.
Many people are experiencing different varieties of symptoms at this very moment. The types of stress on the physical body are similar to the stresses on the mind from the amount of common computer usage. I will share some of the “symptoms” that I have encountered over the years with myself and others. You may argue these are things people commonly experience; however, there is a noticeable increase in their occurrence and they are happening for no detectible reason. I do recommend consulting your health care professional should you experience any of these effects. Do not merely dismiss them as energy symptoms that will subside in time; some of these things do, but others may manifest into or already be something much more tangible and potentially harmful. This is not medical advice or a diagnosis of any sort, but is offered as a way to understand what could be happening if any of these things are unusual for you. I’ve often heard the phrase, “The tests came back normal, we don’t know what’s causing this,” when I’ve pursued medical care in the doctor’s office. The exercises in this system will help you to alleviate these types of symptoms, assuming they are energy related. You need energy practices to counteract the effects of energy-based symptoms.
Human Health Symptoms of Impending Change: Physical Symptoms
• Increase in headaches, migraines, brain tumors, brain cancer
• Increase in body aches, fatigue, and feelings of being drained of energy
• Increase in vertigo
• Increase in sinus pain and pressure in the face and head
• Seizures or seizure-like activity
• Dizziness, sudden disturbances in equilibrium, passing out
• Pressure and pain in the joints; joints crack and pop excessively
• Difficulty moving quickly; walking is slow and labored
• Restless, irritating feelings in the extremities
• Difficulty with mental focus and clarity
• Difficulty with memory
• Difficulty making choices and decisions
• Notable increase in mental illness and functioning mental illnesses
• Notable increase in violence for no apparent reason, followed by aimless wandering
• Increase in depression and depression-related illnesses
• Increase in emotional breakdowns, meltdowns and other emotional instability
• Feelings of needing to find your life’s purpose and live it
• Feelings of being easily overwhelmed, having too many choices
• Feelings of general uneasiness, uncertainty, being lost, empty, disconnected and unfulfilled
• Feelings of needing more from life
Planetary Symptoms of Impending Change
• Instability and unpredictability of the Earth’s electromagnetic field patterns and strength
• The feeling of familiar environments changing; things just don’t feel the same
• Extreme weather pattern changes, global warming
• Fish, sea stars, abalone, birds and insects dying in large numbers for unexplained reasons
• The sky being washed out instead of bright blue in certain areas and times
• The loss of vibrancy of color in trees and plant life in certain areas
• The various alignments of planets, magnetic poles shifting, and other galactic events
Myths, Legends and Half-Truths
In this section I will present you with certain myths that are floating around disguised as the truth. I intend to expose some of these myths to illustrate the new reality, preventing the deception that is so commonly accepted as truth in our world. Most of these myths or half-truths are perpetuated by the media; after being placed in front of the eyes and ears of the general public long enough, they become accepted as truth. This does not make them true; it merely creates and spreads false beliefs. After stepping outside the box of the “accepted norm” and separating myself from the herd mentality, I was able to see how these types of “memes” are spread and the danger they pose to everyone. A meme, in case you are not yet familiar with the term, is basically a thought, belief, or behavior that is spread throughout a culture from person to person. A meme can travel through thought, belief, gossip, media, social media, and other forms of human interaction. The awakened individual is able to think more clearly for themselves and not follow the mass control and cultural beliefs of the herd.
MYTH #1 – You Have To Have A Near-Death Experience In Order To Awaken
No, of course you don’t. Experiencing a near-death trauma is absolutely unnecessary to achieve substantial spiritual growth. Spiritual Expansion is about the celebration of life! While undergoing a near-death or severely traumatic experience may act as a catalyst in the awakening process, it is not needed or recommended. The challenges provided in the Expansion Mastery System will, when performed correctly and consistently, guide you through the process of rapid spiritual growth. Many of these exercises are designed to serve as a metaphorical death experience as well as a resurrection. Most spiritual systems have this concept in place in some safely guided form of symbolic practice. The simple nightly act of falling asleep is meant to serve this same idea.
The ancient Egyptians were very spiritually advanced, knowing how to take a person through a process that mimicked death in order for them to better and more fully appreciate life. The Egyptians had a set of rites they were taken through that were designed to allow them the experience of death and resurrection. The functions of such rituals were to open the person’s heart and ignite their passion for life. It is of interest to point out, that within the pyramids there are three chambers that are aligned in the very centerline of the pyramid. The middle chamber is the one that resonates with the heart center when you chant the syllable “Ah.”
I have been taught that martial artists are supposed to experience a similar effect every time they get thrown to the ground, only to rise again and continue training (living). I set up a particular event for my martial arts students in a way where they had the opportunity to experience this and then apply that feeling to their daily practice. There seems to be something in our being that changes when we go through a truly life-threatening experience. It’s much deeper than the simple recognition of our own mortality. Something shifts in the core of our being; a sort of mental-emotional, vibrational shift that allows us to see things differently, as if an encounter with death allows us to more vibrantly appreciate life and find our life’s purpose.
MYTH #2 – In Relationships, Opposites Attract
Yes they do, in magnetic poles and in a larger sense to human beings. The Law of Polarity is a universal truth, applying to the grander scheme of the relationship concept as far as the attraction of male and female, or two different human beings. However, when we drill down into the actual details of a relationship, we see the Law of Attraction applies more readily. The concept of a harmonious relationship is then accomplished through the Law of Attraction, or like attracts like. The old world reality of Opposites Attract is simply no longer valid. Working hard at a relationship, engaging in arguments and speaking to one another in harsh, aggravated tones, putting up with the other person; none of these things have a place in a truly healthy, happy, and harmonious relationship. This may have been okay in relationships of the old paradigm, but it certainly does not apply any more. We are learning more and more how the concept of “like attracts like” is the way to best achieve the ability to manifest, as well as to create healthy, long-lasting relationships.
MYTH #3 – It Takes Lifetimes of Meditation to Achieve This Type of Change
While meditation is extremely valuable and serves a great purpose, there have been very few people who’ve attained enlightenment by sitting on their butt. The ancient Chinese knew this, which is why they applied circle walking and other moving meditational techniques. For the diligent practitioner, success will come in this lifetime if you are consistent in your efforts and have a great practice. I have found that sometimes this idea of impossibility is placed in front of a practitioner to help them let go of impatience. If you think that it cannot be attained, then you will not be impatient about achieving results. However, if you believe that it will not happen in this lifetime, chances are it won’t.
MYTH #4 – You Are Supposed to Stay Close to Family and Spouses, Even if They Are Toxic
This is completely unreasonable and untrue. Blood is thicker than water, right? Not when it is toxic. Remaining in a toxic family environment or toxic relationship is never good; it drastically lowers your vibration. There is no law saying you have to remain with relatives who treat you disrespectfully or behave badly. There is no good reason to remain in an environment where you are subjected to mental, emotional or physical abuse, nor should you remain in a relationship where you are kept from growing spiritually. While it is always a sad situation, separating yourself from toxic relatives or spouses is often the right move to make. Every single person has the right to be happy and to advance spiritually.
When separating yourself from someone, I have learned to always leave the door open for them in case they become willing to change their toxic behaviors and begin treating you with respect. At this point I do everything I can to welcome them back with open arms. In most cases, this will allow both of you to expand in the ways that each of you needs but cannot accomplish when your energies are closely linked. There is a saying that “time heals all wounds,” but I believe it should be stated that “time and space heal all wounds.” Allowing some space opens the gateway to the potential of the energy field all around us.
MYTH #5 – You Should Think With Your Head and Not With Your Heart
This is true to the extent that you should do your thinking with your head. Leave the heart to do the feeling. The mistake made here is believing the brain in the head is the only source of intelligence in the body. Science has proven this to be untrue. Every one of the trillions of cells in our body has intelligence. The heart is considered to be a very intelligent organ and is also the seat for our sense of feeling. Your original spirit is connected to this center and listening to your heart is actually great advice. The key is to know when to use each of these. I hear some people claim that following your heart and emotions will get you into trouble; this is true only when you have no conscious connection to them and they are controlling you.
I cannot stress enough how significant it is to live from your heart center. It is essential to develop your sensitivity to the subtle energies around you. In the same way, you can feel if you should trust someone or if a certain place just feels bad to you; you should hone this ability to guide you. It is far more accurate than your intellectual reasoning. Making decisions based upon how you feel instead of what you think is the true approach of the human being. This sensitivity is designed to keep us safe and guide us to our life’s purpose. Always thinking without feeling will push you away from your purpose, back into the mentality of the herd.
Spiritual Speed Bumps:
Obstacles Along the Path of
The Spiritual Warrior
You will most likely discover the need to become a Spiritual Warrior as you walk the path of your own truth. This does not mean that you will have to practice martial arts or become a soldier, but it does imply that you will need to be resilient and stay true to yourself. All too often people around you will not be comfortable with you making advancements in your spiritual quest. This is not always a malicious objective, but simply due to fearing you might change and they might not have you in their life in the exact same capacity that you have been up until this point. Be as gentle as you can with the people in your life, but do not allow them to halt you on your journey. You must be strong enough and focused enough to keep going.
I have helped guide thousands of martial and meditative students around common mistakes that can result in lengthy delays and plateaus for long periods of time. It is common for the person doing their best to raise their vibration and become a unified being to not initially notice the effects it has on those around them. As you go through this process of self-actualization and unification, your vibrational frequency will begin to rise. This will not go unnoticed by those in your life, and you should expect two very different types of feedback. Eventually, you can expect random statements from friends and family members that you have changed, and hopefully they state that it’s for the better. They may praise you for the transformations they notice and may even encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, even though they don’t understand exactly what you are going through.
It is a wonderful situation when you have a spouse or special person in your life who desires to expand with you. It must be noted though that if you do not have a similar spiritual foundation and your partner does not desire to grow at the same time, they cannot be coerced or forced to do so. You cannot force another to grow, they have to want it in their heart and desire it for themselves; and indeed they may not be ready for it. The person resisting growth will usually become angry and seek blame as the life they’ve become comfortable with crumbles around them. While this is a difficult period for both people, it is important to stay true to yourself and keep going. Hopefully, such a scenario plays out to allow the other person to experience necessary life lessons to spark their Expansion while freeing you to experience your own. The common mistake is reconciliation out of guilt, pity, or to take the path of least resistance. Going back to that spouse or significant other will instantly halt your progress and ultimately result in an unhappy home life for you both. Once you acknowledge and commit to your call to expand, it is devastating to stop the process, and it is impossible to move forward with someone constantly pulling you back.
This same situation applies to family members. They may also give you positive feedback and support. If they have higher vibrations themselves, they will be thrilled for you and more than eager to support you. If you lack spiritually evolved siblings, parents, or children then you may run into a difficult situation. They may react out of fear as the family dynamic changes, feeling they are losing control over you and the family model they have created. This can cause siblings to exert their control and influence over you in an attempt to put you in your place. It may result in parents increasing their dominance, and when they realize they can’t control you, they back away altogether to avoid dealing with it. The mistake here is the same. Giving in to the demands of your family members will stop your growth in its tracks. You need the freedom to walk your own path, and you know what is best for you better than anyone. Do not give in to the pressures that family members may place on you, but make sure they know you love them, keep them in your heart and always leave the door open for the future.
Be aware of distraction that may cross your path. The information age has presented people with a wide array of mindless distractions as a way to ease mental fatigue. These distractions, such as surfing the web, will prevent you from being as productive as you can be. Television and other forms of perceived relaxation will also serve as distractions, as does talking on your cell phone constantly or playing video games for hours on end. Beware of things that suck the life out of your productivity.
You will most likely find yourself going against the grain of the “accepted” social convention. This should not be a surprise when you look at the mentality of the herd. Are they spiritual expanding? Of course not, they are caught up in the mindless drama that keeps them from making any progress or even noticing what is happening around them. To me, it is reminiscent of the blinders they put on horses. Once you step outside the circus of mass control, you may initially find life to be a bit lonely. It is important to keep on your path and eventually you will attract other like-minded people to you that will encourage mutual support. Breaking free from social convention is quite an eye-opening experience; it can be a bit frightening at first, but soon you will be amazed how the world looks when you can see clearly and distinguish truths for yourself.
Fluid Beliefs, Fluid Nervous System, Fluid Mind, Fluid Breath
The higher levels of achievement in martial and spiritual arts include a sense of what the Japanese call nagare (flow). This sense of fluidity is extremely important and a quality held dear by masters and grandmasters. The ability for one to achieve a sense of continuous, relaxed flow in their physical movement is a desired level of accomplishment. To do this one also needs to develop kinesthetic awareness. To move your body this way is to flow with the energy currents that move the wind and water. The sharp, jerky style movement of most hard-style martial arts is a direct contrast to this concept. Tai Chi, Pakua Chang, Aikijujutsu and Budo Taijutsu are examples of martial arts that use this form of flowing movement. Some forms of dance and ice skating also rely on this fluid motion to display their grace and beauty.
Here I will be addressing the fluidity that you can’t see, unless it is reflected in someone’s physical movement. I am going to address the fluidity of the mind, nervous system, breath and beliefs. Developing a fluid mind is crucial to your spiritual advancement. This mindset allows the mind to move freely about while retaining a sense of focus. Your mind does not focus so intently on one thing that you because oblivious of everything else in your immediate environment. The fluid mind allows you to move seamlessly from one position to another or one movement to another without pausing. It allows your mind to stay in a greater state of Expansion and respond to multiple points of attention instead of just one singular point. You are also able to clear and still the mind more quickly in order to hear the voice of the Divine. Achieving a level of fluidity in the mind allows you to mentally adapt to situations more quickly and easily as they unfold. This is extremely beneficial for martial, healing and spiritual applications.
The concept of a fluid nervous system is quite an in-depth topic. The fluid nervous system allows you to physically move without the tension that would result in hesitation or stuttering within your movement. A fluid nervous system permits you to physicaly flow with a relaxed sense of grace from one position to another. Today, it is common for people to suffer from a completely shorted-out nervous system. With all the over-stimulation, information and computer work, it’s no wonder that people are overly tense and easily overwhelmed. Moving with this sense of freedom is very difficult to attain, as there are only a handful of techniques that I am aware of which actually work to release the buildup of “tension” in one’s nervous system. It is easy to tell when someone is suffering from an over-stimulated nervous system by checking the eyes. The eyes are said to be a gateway to the soul, but they also serve as a gateway into the nervous system. You can observe the tension through the hardness of the eyes or if they have become wide and protruding.
The breath serves as an activator for the nerves, so developing methods for breathing fluidly serves to assist the nervous system in becoming and remaining fluid. The first step in creating fluid breath is to avoid holding your breath. Try to notice when you experience any form of stress and observe your natural tendency to hold your breath. This is a good practice to learn to recognize when your breath is being held, to release it and breathe deeply to relax. The next step is to coordinate your breath with your body movement. Many top-rated professional speakers also learn to coordinate their breath with their speech patterns in order to flow and pause at the proper points in their dialogue. Learn to be able to move, jump, punch, and speak while coordinating your breath with those movements to act in a naturally synchronized manner. It is important to allow the body movements, the nervous system and the breath to work in conjunction with one another without needing to place conscious thought on the process. Once resistance is eliminated you will not only feel that you are moving more lightly and with purpose, but with a new level of grace, awareness and natural power.
I would really like to focus more on fluid beliefs. It is imperative for your beliefs to remain in a fluid state, open to alteration with new knowledge or experience, in order for you to grow and expand. Because your beliefs will be constantly challenged when you are involved in a true spiritual awakening, it is imperative to break persistent patterns of thought. Therefore, you cannot afford to have your beliefs be immovable; this will make certain you do not change, grow or expand. When a new experience or reliable knowledge renders your current belief obsolete, you must be able to adapt and flow with the new belief in order to make this transition less traumatic on the mind. Allow your beliefs to take form, yet not to become concrete and unchangeable. It is actually natural that your beliefs should change as you expand spiritually. There are so many things that we just do not understand, even through science. Fluid beliefs are important in both science and spirituality. By keeping your beliefs fluid you will find your mind can remain open, making your Expansion much easier. A closed mind results in contraction, as it keeps a person small and prohibits growth.
If a different perspective is offered and you become agitated or resistant, then your beliefs are not in a state of fluidity. You will immediately feel your nervous system, mind and breath become stressed. A belief is the result of a person’s formed perception; their interpretation based on their current level of understanding. It only makes sense that a person’s life experiences would bring about change in their beliefs as they continue to learn and grow. Beliefs should constantly require “updating” if you are learning new things. Just as the gentle river flows, bending and winding around the banks without interruption even when it encounters obstacles – so too should your beliefs flow, with the same gentle, constant motion and ability to change freely.
In order to assist in keeping your thoughts fluid, it is imperative to keep a broader perspective and forming opinions based on your need to control and keep the ego feeling secure. It is more beneficial to realize that upon hearing something for the first time, you may only understand a small degree of the depth of the topic and you need to keep your mind open to new or additional information. The need to feel as though you know it all is nothing more than a cheap trick being played on the undisciplined mind by the ego. Beliefs can be very challenging to change once you form them. Be mindful of this.
There is a concept within the ancient martial and spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, called shoshin (beginner’s mind). Tracing this concept back we see that it had the original meaning of “heart-mind.” In Taoist practice, the heart is considered to be the seat of the spirit as well as the cognitive mind. The character for Xin (in Chinese) or Shin (in Japanese) literally means, “heart-mind.” This mindset teaches us to hold on to the desire to learn new things, to retain that insatiable thirst for knowledge that one has when they just begin something new and exciting. To keep this open frame of mind will help you to remain capable of growing and learning new things, even once you have become very accomplished. All too often in these traditions, shoshin is viewed as a beginner’s level concept. This is definitely not true; shoshin requires self-observation and a constant mindfulness of one’s mental and emotional state. This aids in keeping the ego at bay and allows the practitioner to enjoy even those methods they have performed tens of thousands of times through keeping a fresh perspective on the exercise. It also serves to continue an excitement for learning so that you do not lose the enthusiasm you had when you first stepped foot on the path.
The beginner’s heart-mind is very helpful in creating a fluid mind and fluid beliefs, because you do your best to make no assumptions that you already know all the layers to everything. One popular statement that I hear thrown about is “Been there, done that.” This is an example of the opposite of shoshin. The mind that has “been there and done that” is closed and unable to grow, forever locked in its shallow understanding. In martial arts, the use of shoshin allows the warrior to move naturally and respond instead of reacting. It is this state of mind that promotes extended daily practice without the ego arising to either stop your progress or take credit for what has not yet been accomplished.
I learned through more than three decades of martial arts training that your level of understanding and sense of knowing will change dramatically from year to year, especially in the beginning. Look at how many things we have been taught to believe, only to find out later that they are incorrect. Everything that was believed to have been “scientifically tested” seems to change with time. As technology improves, we learn that the limitations of the previous technology did not allow us to make the valid discoveries that we thought it did.
I find it fascinating how various organizations – from corporations to churches—attempt to influence and control our interpretations, perceptions and beliefs in order to control the sheeple herds. I am using the term “sheeple” here as a humorous yet accurate way to describe the masses who, out of fear and lack of knowing who and what to trust, mindlessly follow the trends, fads and whatever they are told to think or feel, without taking responsibility for themselves. Of course not everyone is being underhanded; our families, friends, teachers and others are simply sharing the best knowledge they have with what their perceptions and beliefs have to offer. In this manner, even though what they may have offered was not fact, it was well meaning and not at all maliciously deceptive. It is crucial to understand the difference. This is why it is extremely important for human beings to once again learn how to think, and more importantly, feel for themselves, stepping outside of such blatant misinformation.
I would like to present a brief look at the concept of mushin (no-mind), which has been addressed earlier in this book. No-mind is a different state than beginner’s heart-mind. No-mind is usually understood as bringing the mind to a point where the thoughts become still. It is a moment when the mind is not thinking, not allowing the uncontrolled random thoughts generated by the ego to run rampant. When there is stillness of the mind, when it is void of thought, the ego is quiet and the heart can begin to be heard. It is during the suspension of thought that the consciousness of the heart-mind is free to assume the leading role. This is a good basic understanding, but it has layers of deeper meaning and greater skill. It is at this basic level that one beings to experience moments of inner peace and tranquility. This can be a highly profound event in itself, as so many people are burdened with the constant chatter running wild in their mind.
Another level of no-mind is to understand that once you still the mind, it is then possible to hear the Divine voice of your Higher Self, or of Universal Source. Martial artists may see it as a challenge to still move from this mindset, but when you drop the consciousness down into the lower abdomen, it happens as if on auto-pilot. Most spiritual practitioners do not have to address the issue of moving while in this state because they are most likely seated in their practice. Once the continuous, uncontrolled thought patterns are slowed down and brought to a still point, the loud voice of the ego becomes barely audible and the voice of the Divine can be heard. This level is all about communication with your Higher Self.
I want to share another, even deeper level that I have attained with this concept. When you clear your mind, still your thoughts and move with a more divinely inspired flow, you may find yourself aware of an entirely different plane of consciousness. I have experienced this several times with various masters, and it has allowed me to receive teachings that others do not normally receive, as well as special privileges. I have encountered this type of “no-mind dimension” while training in Japan with Grandmaster Machida, the result of which was to be the first recipient of an award regarding this skill. I also encountered it in China while practicing push-hands with Grandmaster Zhong Yun Long. Grandmaster Hatsumi is most often within this realm while he is demonstrating his incredible movement. It’s difficult to put into words, but it is like moving in two dimensions at once. It’s as if your physical self is moving in the time and space reality, and your consciousness and energy body is in another reality. It is here that you have the ability to fully understand someone else’s intentions without the hindrance of language barriers or miscommunication. One way to know if this experience is real for you is that it happens to both people; it cannot be claimed by one person while the other is unaware of what just happened.
The level we are discussing allows for a teaching method that is referred to as jikiden (direct transmission). Grandmaster Machida refers to me as his jikideshi or direct transmission disciple. This application of direct transmission takes place from heart to heart, mind to mind, and consciousness to consciousness. Obviously, the student of the martial or spiritual arts must be open and receptive to this form of transmission in order for it to be effective. This level of teaching is rare to find, but it is the most effective form of transmission from one person to another.
Reprinted, with permission from Expansion Mastery by Robert D. Bessler, published by Morgan James Publishing, © 2013
Photos pages 17 & 19 by Sandra Osbourne. Photos pages 22, 23 & 25 by Dahlia Gordon.