Did you ever eat ice cream too fast and get a brain freeze? I love root beer floats and devoured mine quickly while on vacation. For a moment I almost felt incapacitated, unable to think or move. My daughter caught me going, 'damn this hurts'.
Now my wife, during my brain freeze was tremendously empathetic...ha ha. She usually tells me to just suck it up. Well, by now you are probably wondering what does all this have to do with karate, zen and what I usually blog about.
About 13 years ago, one of my karate students, Mike, was accosted by three guys. Now, Mike is a tough black belt and a very dedicated zen-head. In relaying his story to me about the attack, Mike stated one of the guys put him in a headlock and began to smack Mike's face. Mike said that his thoughts were racing and he was thinking, "I can't believe this is happening".
Brain freeze. Mike was in the middle of an assault and his brain had froze. He was caught in between fight or flight. His analytical mind was too engaged in judging the experience. To make a long story short, Mike's training took over and he successfully defended himself from these three guys. Mike stopped using his discursive analytical mind that wanted to figure out what to do and trusted his protective mind that had been trained to kick butt.
Our analytical mind basically houses our ego...our judger of experiences... and is always one step behind the actual reality of the flow of Now. It wants to be in charge, but it really can't because it is so limited in it's ability. You see the analytical mind operates in a linear step by step fashion and typically sees life as on/off or black/white...and as I said earlier...it is judging what is happening which is always one step behind the action of the actual happening Now.
The protective mind works more holographically and is in tune with what is really happening as it is happening. This is the part of the mind that can be trained with high repetition of simple self-defense movements and will protect you, if you let it. Trust is involved here...and no brain freeze can happen. Only flow exists.
Self-defense involves training your protective mind to move your body in a well-coordinated fashion for survival, if you let it. When you let your ego take over you are going to be one step behind the action and more apt to get lost in analysis....and brain freeze can happen, plus get your ass kicked.
So, using self-defense as a microcosm of our daily life experience, ponder how this can relate to your every day activities as well. Be aware of your brain freezes...as well as those opportunities to enter into the bubbling of the now...then notice how your ego wants to take over. In many ways it is like a battle. So just watch.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.