Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Something about pain

On the Ripley's show on TV saw a couple, the woman blows fire and the man swallows a curved sword. Both are, appropriately, married:) And claim to be boringly normal, leading very boring, ordinary lives, except when each fire-eats or sword swallows.
The show said this is done by using eastern meditation techniques that make you move back from the experience of pain. Below, some thoughts I had written in a column a few years ago .. Pain is something u can indeed step back.. these days, while getting a tattoo I actually fall asleep if the session goes on for hours and the only issue I have is about snoring in a crowded studio!!!

On the art of Mushin... a state of awareness, not shutting down... 
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Zen martial arts was crafted from the South Indian yogic martial arts form called Kalaripayattu, from Kerala.  In any martial arts, emotions must be laid aside so you enter a mushin state (Japanese for no-mind state). In yoga, this state is  citta or pure consciousness. American Joe Hyams while learning this technique asks his teacher how one acquires `mushin'. Only through practice and more practice, responds his teacher. In other words,   through sadhana. Hyams writes in his book, `The Zen in Martial Arts', that this state of awareness, gained through constant practice or sadhana, also helped him deal with any acute pain. Once he refused a pain-killer the dentist offered, practicing the art of shifting his thoughts to somewhere pleasant, shutting out what the dentist was doing. His mind was so taken up with this task that he did not even realize the dentist had finished his work. Of course, he could not have done this without practice. The mind is the most difficult to train. Only daily and steady sadhana can help gain such control.

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