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The power of intention
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Disclaimer, the below is my opinion, I do not feel that I have the full understanding of Shinden Fudo Ryu, but the below is based on my understanding of it to date. I would love interpretations, corrections and input.

The following was written by myself and Ayamone (kutaki member)

....



The power of intention.

I have trained in martial arts for quite some time. The most typical reasons for pursuing the study of martial arts is the desire to gain the ability to defend one’s life effectively, or to be able to “kick some ass” to put it simply.

Typically the latter desire is ego driven. Both are understandable; however, as the martial arts student progresses assuming one has seriously undertaken the study and one studies under a good teacher, this base intention evolves. In the same way the student’s physical abilities evolve, the immortal character of the soul of the student evolves. This leads to one’s training in the martial arts unfolding into a tool or path to achieve a state of greater awareness.

The desire to understand the science of combat comes from the innate instinct to survive, but on a more macro level one could think of it as the unalienable right of self-preservation–universal to the expression of consciousness in the material dimensions.

Seeking self preservation with constancy ultimately leads to a better understanding of self. From ”knowing thy self”, the student understands his or her interconnectedness to the universe at large.
Whole schools of martial arts’ thought has centered on strengthening the connection to nature and the Universe. Shinden Fudo Ryu in specific guides the way to a more harmonious connection to Nature and the natural forces of the universe. This is the true essence of the martial arts/sciences–the path that leads to a better understanding of how the self is an integral part of the whole and physical reality is but an extension of the self.

ALLthough ONE person does not make up the whole universe, the whole universe does make up one man. Another way I say this is:

You may not be all that God is, but God certainly is all that you are.

By understanding that there really is no separation between one’s self and the greater Self of the whole, one can free the mind from the limiting paradigms imposed by a fear-based consciousness of separation.

In truth we seek the most effective and efficient means of facilitating the operation of our physical selves in 3D space; we seek to master movement. Mastering movement comes through harmonious interaction with the laws, forces, and vibrations of the Universe which brings me to the point of this essay. The goal of martial arts ultimately teaches the control and mastery of Intent. It is not hard to master Intent. It’s just that it’s easy to NOT master Intent.

What is intent?

A haiku on intent could be expressed:

Intent

It’s like a funnel,
Pouring energy down, through
to experience.

Formlessness to form
through one’s mindfull willingness.
Intent creates all.

Giving thanks allows,
for one to keep on flowing -
a natural state

Looking deep within,
for only movement exists.
Still– is illusion.

Although this Haiku, written a few years ago, seemed adequate at the time; it doesn’t completely capture Intent for me any longer. I have been thinking lately that Intent really may be the ability to be fully conscious in a sphere much greater than that of the daily thoughts of the conscious mind–the ability to place the center of one’s mind, or maybe one’s mind’s eye, wherever one chooses.

If one looks at it in terms of knife throwing, the first degree that one learns is the physical movements involved in hitting the target that the weapon is thrown at. Next the thrower realizes that the weapon is an extension of the self. The proper focus of Intent unifies the body, weapon, and target.

Ultimately one graduates to a realization that the action or physical process of successfully hitting the target is irrelevant. The only relevant thing is the proper use of Intent. There is no throw; there is simply the expression of the feeling of throwing the knife–the focused intent that the action of throwing the knife into the target is now made manifest.

With practice one can experience directly the myriad benefits of bringing one’s Intent in accord with the will of the Whole. Only through perseverance can once master Intent, and in doing so, free oneself from the self-imposed limitations that prevent us from actualizing our true potential.

Although knife throwing is a good example, in that it shows how the awareness and intent extends even when ones physical connection with the weapon has ceased, the same applies to all tools employed in Budo. All is Self, your effectiveness with each weapon is a factor of how integrated the tool is to your awareness of Self.

...

Celestial entrant;
Movement and measure, within
Intent creates all.

Posted on: 2006/12/25 17:12
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Re: The power of intention
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Phlux, great post!! I wanted to respond to a few points in this post, not as criticism but because I hope my comments assist you in gaining a greater understanding about intent. You seem keen to understand it. I hope my comments are taken in the right light. Although I know nothing about teachings of the Shinden Fudo Ryu your post focuses on intent and this aspect is that which I'm responding to.

Quote:

Phlux wrote:
Seeking self preservation with constancy ultimately leads to a better understanding of self. From ”knowing thy self”, the student understands his or her interconnectedness to the universe at large.


It is not through seeking self preservation that one is lead to a better understanding, it is the constancy of awareness ITSELF that results in a better understanding of Self (capitals used on purpose). If you focus on anything intently and consistently you'll gain a better understanding of Self and eventually be enlightened. How does this occur? I'll leave you to ponder that process a bit more.

Quote:

ALLthough ONE person does not make up the whole universe, the whole universe does make up one man. Another way I say this is:

You may not be all that God is, but God certainly is all that you are.

By understanding that there really is no separation between one’s self and the greater Self of the whole

Your last statement here isn't in alignment with the two before it (the last being the more correct one). So I'll ask you this question, if there truly is no seperation (as per your last statement), what is the difference between you and the whole (God)? Where is the seperation, if any? Contemplating this deeply may change how you view and thus word the first two statements.

Quote:

The goal of martial arts ultimately teaches the control and mastery of Intent. It is not hard to master Intent. It’s just that it’s easy to NOT master Intent.

So I'll ask a deeper question here. From where does intent arise? Once you get this, the questions becomes, what really is being mastered if its not intent? What happens when intent falls away?

Also, although your last two sentences linguistically sound good it isn't quite right. Maybe a better way of saying this which sounds more practical and appliable in real life is "Its pretty easy to focus your mind (and intent) for a moment, its much harder to sustain it".

Quote:

The proper focus of Intent unifies the body, weapon, and target.

Correct, this why I said earlier that it in the focusing of awareness itself that facilitates this process. Intent is a function of awareness. So, how does focusing of awareness facilitate this process though? There is more to discover here, so I'll leave that for you to dive into.

Quote:

Ultimately one graduates to a realization that the action or physical process of successfully hitting the target is irrelevant. The only relevant thing is the proper use of Intent. There is no throw; there is simply the expression of the feeling of throwing the knife–the focused intent that the action of throwing the knife into the target is now made manifest.

This is a well developed thought, although as I indicated above, there is more beyond what is expressed here. As Soke says "Keep going".

Sincerely, I hope what I've added here is taken with the right intent and is beneficial to the development of your training and life.

Dean

Posted on: 2007/1/9 14:19
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Re: The power of intention
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Dean,

Thank you for your reply. Was beginning to give up hope.

First, there were a lot of thoughts that were intentionally left out of this post on Intent as I didnt want to distract people by over saturating the post with other deeper ideas.

Thank you for replying and also trying to keep your reply relating to intent - but as you point out, there are a number of comments in the original post that cannot stand on their own without a bit of thought on some other concepts. Since yours is the only reply - I will reply to your comments and broaden the scope of my reply to include things that you mention.


Phlux wrote:
Seeking self preservation with constancy ultimately leads to a better understanding of self. From ”knowing thy self”, the student understands his or her interconnectedness to the universe at large.
Dean wrote:
It is not through seeking self preservation that one is lead to a better understanding, it is the constancy of awareness ITSELF that results in a better understanding of Self (capitals used on purpose). If you focus on anything intently and consistently you'll gain a better understanding of Self and eventually be enlightened. How does this occur? I'll leave you to ponder that process a bit more.

In the original post, I used the phrase "Seeking Self Preservation" to refer to the study of martial arts. This may have been a little unclear - but ultimately I was speaking about a common initial motivation for people entering into martial arts. Typically people start martial arts hoping to gain better physical skills.

I skipped over describing how that often practitioners of martial arts gain a greater understanding of themselves and their place in the conscious universe.

You are *exactly* correct though in your clarification that it is constancy of awareness that results in greater awareness.

ALLthough ONE person does not make up the whole universe, the whole universe does make up one man. Another way I say this is:

You may not be all that God is, but God certainly is all that you are.

By understanding that there really is no separation between one’s self and the greater Self of the whole
Dean wrote:
Your last statement here isn't in alignment with the two before it (the last being the more correct one). So I'll ask you this question, if there truly is no seperation (as per your last statement), what is the difference between you and the whole (God)? Where is the seperation, if any? Contemplating this deeply may change how you view and thus word the first two statements.

Imagine a jar filled with water immersed in the ocean with a lid on it. The water is within and all around the jar, yet the water is encapsulated and "separate". The Jar can represent the mind. The greater the awareness, the more pourous the Jar and thus more inter mixed with the ocean of conscious that is the Universe.

Phlux Wrote:
The goal of martial arts ultimately teaches the control and mastery of Intent. It is not hard to master Intent. It’s just that it’s easy to NOT master Intent.
Dean Wrote:
So I'll ask a deeper question here. From where does intent arise? Once you get this, the questions becomes, what really is being mastered if its not intent? What happens when intent falls away?
Also, although your last two sentences linguistically sound good it isn't quite right. Maybe a better way of saying this which sounds more practical and appliable in real life is "Its pretty easy to focus your mind (and intent) for a moment, its much harder to sustain it".

Thanks for this insight. My understanding on exactly what intent is changes over time, but the answer to the question of what happens when intent falls away is worded such to lead me to hear more "what happens when the ego falls away" - as intent, and thus desire, could be - through my perception of what you are saying - is == to ego. However, I am not so sure that Intent specifically is equal to ego. I am equating Intent to "ability to create/allow flow with a specific purpose". It is the question of purpose that is more correlated to the ego, but the ability to apply intent is not always tainted by egos self serving desires. Finally, I agree with the way you put the difficulty of mastery over sustained hightened awareness.


Phlux Wrote:
The proper focus of Intent unifies the body, weapon, and target.
Dean Wrote:
Correct, this why I said earlier that it in the focusing of awareness itself that facilitates this process. Intent is a function of awareness. So, how does focusing of awareness facilitate this process though? There is more to discover here, so I'll leave that for you to dive into.

Now we are getting to the meat of the matter! A favorite quote of mine

Albert Einstein said:
The most incomprehensible thing in the universe is our ability to comprehend.

Comprehension is a wonderful ability - and even more wonderful is the awareness of comprehension. (it is said that memory is the consciousness of being conscious). Awareness is the creative force of the universe. Awareness - real, deep awareness is the quantum force through which existence of all things manifests. We have a drop of this which flows through us, the intrinsic texture of our awareness is molded by our character - and ultimately it is colored by our personality. It is directed our desire and intensified by our intent.

Phlux Wrote:
Ultimately one graduates to a realization that the action or physical process of successfully hitting the target is irrelevant. The only relevant thing is the proper use of Intent. There is no throw; there is simply the expression of the feeling of throwing the knife–the focused intent that the action of throwing the knife into the target is now made manifest.

Dean Wrote:
This is a well developed thought, although as I indicated above, there is more beyond what is expressed here. As Soke says "Keep going".

I agree - and would appreciate your further insights on this part. Flowing through existence and directing the resultant reality in awareness is The Vast Subject - and it takes all perspectives to grasp its full truth.

Thanks for your responses. Formatting appears to be broken..

Posted on: 2007/1/12 17:21
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Re: The power of intention
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Hey Phlux, nice to hear back from you and I glad you took my response in the right light. Sometimes when tackling such topics people can be sensitive because you are touching on topics that are really at the heart of their experience as a person, and thus challenging their reality on a deep level. A healthy ego is required to tackle them properly. So thank you, and I'm happy to engage more in this, you've come back with some good responses which I'll try to address below.

Quote:

Phlux wrote:
First, there were a lot of thoughts that were intentionally left out of this post on Intent as I didnt want to distract people by over saturating the post with other deeper ideas.


Yes, I'm aware that we are now heading into some deeper spiritual aspects of life (and training). If people want to read further into this thread and follow us beyond your initial post or even join in on them then great. I'm aware that in appearance what we are discussing may appear as general life awareness spiritual concepts but they do relate heavily to deeper aspects of all of life, including our training.

Quote:

Phlux wrote:
Seeking self preservation with constancy ultimately leads to a better understanding of self. From ”knowing thy self”, the student understands his or her interconnectedness to the universe at large.

Dean wrote:
It is not through seeking self preservation that one is lead to a better understanding, it is the constancy of awareness ITSELF that results in a better understanding of Self (capitals used on purpose). If you focus on anything intently and consistently you'll gain a better understanding of Self and eventually be enlightened. How does this occur? I'll leave you to ponder that process a bit more.

Phlux then replied:
In the original post, I used the phrase "Seeking Self Preservation" to refer to the study of martial arts. This may have been a little unclear - but ultimately I was speaking about a common initial motivation for people entering into martial arts. Typically people start martial arts hoping to gain better physical skills.

I skipped over describing how that often practitioners of martial arts gain a greater understanding of themselves and their place in the conscious universe.

You are *exactly* correct though in your clarification that it is constancy of awareness that results in greater awareness.


Oh okay, then that makes sense then. Stated like that its better. How it was initially stated though could lead a reader to assume it was the "seeking self preservation" that equated to "better understanding of Self" hence why I picked up on it in the first place. No need to discuss this much more then.

Quote:

Phlux wrote:
ALLthough ONE person does not make up the whole universe, the whole universe does make up one man. Another way I say this is:

You may not be all that God is, but God certainly is all that you are.

By understanding that there really is no separation between one’s self and the greater Self of the whole

Dean wrote:
Your last statement here isn't in alignment with the two before it (the last being the more correct one). So I'll ask you this question, if there truly is no seperation (as per your last statement), what is the difference between you and the whole (God)? Where is the seperation, if any? Contemplating this deeply may change how you view and thus word the first two statements.

Phlux then replied:
Imagine a jar filled with water immersed in the ocean with a lid on it. The water is within and all around the jar, yet the water is encapsulated and "separate". The Jar can represent the mind. The greater the awareness, the more pourous the Jar and thus more inter mixed with the ocean of conscious that is the Universe.


Sure I follow, but what happens when there is no jar, when there is no seperation at all? Your analogy above describes the first two of your statements about awareness but not the last. It still indicates a sense of seperation, hence why the phrase of "the greater the awareness". This statement implies it is contained, or has a limited. Remove the jar and suddenly there is no limit, you are the great ocean of awareness. In that moment, what then are "you"? When the jar falls away? What is the experience of life then? This is the point of enlightenment and it is a real experience. Relating this back to training, once its experienced in life it will also translate over to one's training. To be aware of this in our training is important.

Quote:

Phlux Wrote:
The goal of martial arts ultimately teaches the control and mastery of Intent. It is not hard to master Intent. It’s just that it’s easy to NOT master Intent.

Dean Wrote:
So I'll ask a deeper question here. From where does intent arise? Once you get this, the questions becomes, what really is being mastered if its not intent? What happens when intent falls away?
Also, although your last two sentences linguistically sound good it isn't quite right. Maybe a better way of saying this which sounds more practical and appliable in real life is "Its pretty easy to focus your mind (and intent) for a moment, its much harder to sustain it".

Phlux then replied:
Thanks for this insight. My understanding on exactly what intent is changes over time, but the answer to the question of what happens when intent falls away is worded such to lead me to hear more "what happens when the ego falls away" - as intent, and thus desire, could be - through my perception of what you are saying - is == to ego. However, I am not so sure that Intent specifically is equal to ego. I am equating Intent to "ability to create/allow flow with a specific purpose". It is the question of purpose that is more correlated to the ego, but the ability to apply intent is not always tainted by egos self serving desires. Finally, I agree with the way you put the difficulty of mastery over sustained hightened awareness.


Okay, well intent doesn't specifically equate to ego. Its only one apsect of it. I won't give a full rundown here of the make up because it will take too long but I'll refer you to a link to read in a second. But firstly ...

You stated "My understanding on exactly what intent is changes over time". I liken this to a metaphor which illustrates what becoming more aware of the living experience really is and the process behind this "reality". Say I'm outside a room, you are in the room. Before I walk in you are not aware of me, its only on entering the door you become aware of me and then how I act within that room. But what was I doing outside the room? You are not aware of this. Becoming more aware is about expanding that room, you become more aware of what is going on on a greater scale of life. In this way, you realise intent is only awarenees of life from the the door entrance inwards, but there is more going on before intent that you aren't aware of yet. There is a greater process that forms the basis of "reality" and the life experience before intent itself. So what is this?

On a intellectual level we can describe this as a series of levels, which does equate to a real life experience anyone can become aware of over time. To help offer a better explanation I'll refer you to a Buddhist link. Honestly if you aren't interested in Buddhism that's cool but for that sake of this conversation it offers the most accurate description I've found on what we are discussing. You can for all intensive purposes ignor any buddhist references in the this link if that's not your thing, and take from it the description in themselves, you'll find the description will match exactly your experience of reality. Its called Dependent Origination (read more here) or the Wheel of life. A wheel, because this process goes around and around. Jump down to the section called "Component parts of Dependent Origination" and read from there. You can see voliation (intent) comes under the 4th level of "mind and matter". You'll also note the reference to the 4 elements (air,water,earth,fire), which we have in training (the 5th is not directly mentioned here in the same way by the void is what is experienced when level 1 drops away! Desire is different to intent and is further down the chain (level 8). Interestingly, the 3rd level of aggregate consciousnesses is what you referred to earlier as "the jar". So once you see past this jar, or aggregate consciousnesses the Whole becomes very apparant. Last point, ego is all of the first 9 levels.

Anyway, I don't want to get off point here by bringing in Buddhism, hope the explanation though you find relevant to what we are discussing.

Quote:

Phlux Wrote:
The proper focus of Intent unifies the body, weapon, and target.
Dean Wrote:
Correct, this why I said earlier that it in the focusing of awareness itself that facilitates this process. Intent is a function of awareness. So, how does focusing of awareness facilitate this process though? There is more to discover here, so I'll leave that for you to dive into.

Phlux then replied:
Now we are getting to the meat of the matter! A favorite quote of mine

Albert Einstein said:
The most incomprehensible thing in the universe is our ability to comprehend.

Comprehension is a wonderful ability - and even more wonderful is the awareness of comprehension. (it is said that memory is the consciousness of being conscious). Awareness is the creative force of the universe. Awareness - real, deep awareness is the quantum force through which existence of all things manifests. We have a drop of this which flows through us, the intrinsic texture of our awareness is molded by our character - and ultimately it is colored by our personality. It is directed our desire and intensified by our intent.


Well I hope the above link now brings all you discussed here into a more succint explanation of how it all manifests to the experiencing of "life".

Quote:

Phlux Wrote:
I agree - and would appreciate your further insights on this part. Flowing through existence and directing the resultant reality in awareness is The Vast Subject - and it takes all perspectives to grasp its full truth.

Thanks for your responses. Formatting appears to be broken..


Thanks, I enjoy your interaction in this dialogue too. Yes, it is a vast subject and it takes time to become more aware of "truth" about this reality. Back on point though, awareness of this does equate to a greater awareness in your training and its important to be mindful of that as we practise.

I had to quote large portions of text to keep the thread going. If you use the small "reply" button at the bottom right of this post the forum will thread our discussion better and allow us to flow onwards without having quote large portions of text.

Anyway, happy to discuss this more. Thanks for the enjoyable dialogue.

Dean

PS. I'm not sure if moderators feel this is digressing too far from being about Bujinkan, personally I don't feel it is as it about practise on a deep level of awareness and what is going on when we practise. If a moderator steps in, maybe we can continue this dialogue off the forums, I'm happy to do so.

Posted on: 2007/1/13 11:19
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