IN "The Kundalini Experience" I describe what the great awakening feels like, and in "the Godan Test" what the lesser awakening feels like in terms of sensitivity. In chi kung as well as Taoist esoteric yoga, these are referred to as the greater and lesser kan andli. In religious traditions enlightenment is associated with sainthood, or being in tune with (called by) God. In military traditions it's associated with invincibility in warfare and the use of superior strategy, as in Joan of Arc or Sun Tzu. In art and science it manifests as creativity. In yoga an enlightened master manifests the will of God through self-development. In common parlance enlightenment is referred to as being intuitive and usually thought of as an on-again, off-again experience related to luck. In chi kung it is considered a biological enhancement of natural proclivities and is permanent if the practitioner is careful and knowledgeable. Historically enlightenment is considered quite rare.
The technology for awakening intuition has been with us for centuries, but few seem to be willing to take on the challenge of integrating the mind, body, and spirit, as it requires concentration and very few seem capable of hanging in for longer than twenty minutes regardless of the importance of the topic. It does require an adventurer's heart, and the voyage is made alone regard less cf who shares your journey. It could be described as the resurrection of the body. The end point is being born again or zero, and a viewpoint regarding life that is held by very few and could be regarded as delusions of grandeur or controlled paranoia were it not for the recognition that this is or should be anyone's birthright. Fearing God is the harshest way of saying Respect Yourself.
The thinking style of the enlightened is very relaxed and conversational, like a good story-teller, but the linkage of ideas is much more circular and nonordinary. The ideas themselves seem to come best from observation. The trait of empathy—which for males is usually hard-won learned behavior—seems to extend to all of nature. It's not sympathy but understanding how people or animals and sometimes plants and insects feel. It is usually referred to as knowing.
Sensitivity to how one's body is functioning is greatly enhanced for the more enlightened. One can feel the intestines working and sense the movement of energy and blood as well as control the rate of the heart. When a joint begins to slip out of place, you can often correct it by simply adjusting your posture. It is the same with a thought. Pain is controlled. The eyes see farther into the ultraviolet spectrum, and night vision returns if you've lost it. Middle-age astigmatism is corrected to some extent. The body's temperature drops to a range between 94.2 and 97.2 degrees Fahrenheit and often feels cool to the touch of others, but there is no sensation of chill to you except when you're cruising in the lower ranges. Being cool seems to have a biological consequence as do ideas. You are much more aware of the subtle energy fields surrounding yourself and others, and with practice and experience can discriminate differences that seem to be meaningful. To others you may feel warm or neutral due to energy rather than temperature. Fear of death and other inevitable occurrences evaporates. There is an acceptance of self that does not require external reinforcement.
Handedness becomes an option with sometimes amusing results. (This may also account for tantrism being called the left-
handed way.) Most of the time the mind is silent and observes with no commentary. The immune system seems to be strengthened as healing time is shortened, colds become rare and of short duration, and the lower blood pressure and anal squeezing eliminate annoyances like hemorrhoids. Cuts heal quickly. What the long-term benefits of this change in a modern, free-enterprise society can be, I've no real idea. We seem to reward a blinder ambition.
We like to have goals. We like to know where we are going. The enlightened have no personal spiritual goals beyond deepening their experience, as enlightenment is the end product of the spiritual path. Some seem to attract the attention of the Web of Life and become guardians of the environment, reaping cosmic rewards. A few teach, and those who attempt to follow their guidance and fail find religions for their solace. The enlightened can tolerate no falsehood in themselves. In others, it's their problem to solve. From a religious viewpoint the behavior is usually regarded as saintly, and some rather odd people have been designated saints from a psychological perspective. From the churches' perspective, extreme examples are still examples of possibility and should be shown compassion. Some of Catholicism's choices are perverse and funny riddles. Protestants don't recognize saints but seem easily distracted by and willing to pay for uninformed hypocritical entertainment, as TV ministries like Roberts, Graham, Falwell, Tilton, and the Bakkers indicate.
In business, the enlightened owner provides challenging work so that continuous repetition does not dull the minds of his workforce. He or she encourages problem solving and creativity so that the organization can react to the marketplace. He studies the trends and tries to be ready for the future. He expects his people to educate themselves and provides time and opportunity so that they can improve their position in life through material reward or personal growth. He attempts to maintain a balance or a mix of rewards and products. He protects the econiche, which continually is endangered. He cherishes autonomy and creativity. He maintains excellent relations with his consumers and suppliers. He adapts to change and sometimes leads the charge when change is necessary. He is concerned with the quality and reputation of his product. He understands the meaning of service and synergy.
An enlightened artist is concerned with showing what is before the eye in a new way, so he or she is not concerned with convention or fashion once they've proven their expertise. Art is always personalized, and that which is recognized is imitated. Most artists who forge new paths or depart too far from the mainstream are not rewarded in their lifetimes. All true artists are concerned with mastery of their material. Great artists or masters (or mistresses) are adventurers who move out of their fields and expose themselves to other forms of knowledge which they then use to modify their own work or bring new insights to cross-fertilize. Their performance in the new area may be met with derision, but as they've proved their endurance in one area, it's usually not long before they acquire the necessary new skills. The Nobel Prize winner in one field should be given a polite listen when discussing another field.
The more information, interests, and skills artists acquire, the easier and more fluid the process of creation becomes. An artist may emerge in any occupation where there is freedom to experiment and opportunity to problem-solve or personalize change. America is a land of mini-artists who specialized too early or quit because they expected mastery to come sooner. Many decide to follow financial reward. Free enterprise is a wonderful concept that can both foster and destroy creativity. Art is the cradle of invention. War is the mother. Surviving takes both endurance and creativity.
The enlightened martial artist is concerned with defense and retaliation as a preventative therapy. Ambush and attack is the way of the bandit and the materialist and if used against an unintelligent enemy usually works. Really dumb or desperate people go toe to toe and slug it out. An enemy tries to harm you. War is the product of failed diplomacy. It is the rapacious consequence of greed.
A skilled strategist has many responses and can escalate or withdraw as necessary. Taking your best shot can be telling a joke, or walking away, or setting a trap. The samurai maxim "the best sword is never drawn" does not mean that it cannot be used. It refers to the mind and spine of an upright individual. A real master can read your heart, and show you how to attain peace. Worthwhile study if structured properly results in transfer of training. All of the high-level ninjas are working at seeing the light. The bad ninjas are disappearing. They're aging prematurely, as God needs fertilizer. As the training intensifies the ability to read others, the attitudes of your teacher may drive you to find another more to your liking.
Since Kevin Millis describes me as being from Mars, let me share with you what a Martian who is a human being feels like. I do not perceive myself as having any knowledge that anyone else can't have if they're willing to take the abuse and endure some risks. Divorce, financial ups and downs, chi-sickness and suffering should not be part of your quest but they can happen when you're not gonna quit till you get it, and you only have so much time because your experience has taught you this place can be hell. Enlightenment's at least a three-year process if you know what you're doing, but the short course can be very high-risk. It takes a lot longer as a part-time job and requires more than one day a week to accomplish or sustain. It's a lifetime project, as once the mind begins to move it wants to keep going.
Feeling the mind at work is almost orgasmic. It's very pleasant when the words and ideas just flow out of you. It's a mental side effect of taijutsu and meditation, as they both stimulate the spine and brain. Because you're more in tune with your body, you can feel disease or sore muscles as they start and often can dispel them before they hinder your movement. Adjusting the spine becomes very important, and when the back is out you can feel the drop in immune system efficiency. There is something to the Alexander Method and chiropractic. Pain is remembered, accepted as part of learning, and categorized as needed. There is no confusion once experienced between lust, love, and sexuality, though all are felt.
When you are relaxed — without fear but still able to use your adrenals-the mind integrates with and accesses subconscious memory. Subconscious memory seems to include some very surprising and curious talents. Physical sensitivity is greatly enhanced as well as balance and flexibility. There is a feeling of connectedness that is bioelectrical and when used enough to trust is never wrong. Entering someone else's electrical field gives you useful information if you remember yourself. It is very difficult to remember you can do this, as there is no social reinforcement for the skill. Dreaming can become a waking function as the subconscious makes the id's contribution to observed phenomena (visions and hallucinations are better accepted with equanimity if you are in a public place).
When you use your total self to look at something or someone, some insights will be visual as well as mental and physical feelings; these sensations often arrive in the dark as mini-hallucinations but are information if you've the knowledge to interpret and use them. In the old days it was consulting the Muses. Probably the verb "amuse" is related. It seems like great fun to me. It feels like the way we're "spozed to be." I think of it as awakening the sixth sense; a yogi would perceive it as union with the inner god that allows communion with the eternal spirit. A Buddhist might regard it as an evolutionary guide toward sentience. When you are self-remembering, it means you are fully aware of how you are processing information all the way down to your cells. You tend to be very much attached to the present reality. The past feeds you and the future awaits your endeavor. Some of your feelings can be very disturbing, but you have the choice on how to react to the bad news.
Salvation cannot be bought. A Christian might say you must save yourself. Enlightenment is not an intellectual position but a biological reality that is attained through work. It's like lifting weights or getting a degree. It requires self study, concentration, and time. It is only after the awakening that the process becomes natural and without effort.
The American Indians thought that creative people or those whose minds could move were bird people. They were excellent observers of nature. What can we learn from the common black bird? Birds exhibit continual movement and high-burning metabolisms. They must continually search for sustenance and do not exhibit much territoriality. They have signals and warn each other of danger. They sing for their own enjoyment and probably entertain each other. They recognize hierarchy when feeding. They don't seem to have much short-term memory but can learn through repetition and reinforcement. Some migrate over vast distances. They enjoy acrobatics.
I was sitting on my back porch one day when a red squirrel dragging a very small nest ran around the corner of the house. It was pursued by a small starling. The starling would open up its wings to appear bigger and danced screaming at the squirrel, which was twice its size. The squirrel, seeing it was going to be cornered by the walls of the porch, scampered like a furred tree rat and leapt into the neighbor's pine. The starling's friends arrived and proceeded to throw themselves screaming at the squirrel, who was running up and down limbs trying to avoid their dive bombing. Two robins and a sparrow joined the fray. There was another nest in that tree. Birds of different species will join with each other to defend against a common enemy. The squirrel finally leapt from a limb about eighteen feet up, having seen the dangerous as attractive, and hit the ground hard. Scrambling in fear, it took off clumsily for the maple tree in the front yard as the small cloud of birds pursued like WWI biplanes or the X wings in Star Wars after a fleeing target. Reminded me of the Iraqis heading for the last bridge out of Kuwait. Sun Tzu recommends leaving an obvious exit for your enemy. Schwartzkopf showed how to close it.
I've seen songbirds go after hawks, crows, and owls who will eat meat of their own kind in order to feed their appetites. The predator birds are usually more territorial, mostly solitary, and do not sing. The owl is a creature of the night, having great nocturnal vision, acute hearing, and silent flight, giving it the ability to hunt in both trees and plain. The crow is said to be of great intelligence and far-sighted. It can be taught to talk like the long-lived parrots, only more quickly if you split the tongue. When our Red Brothers say a person speaks with forked tongue it can also mean the person is not true to his nature. Crows perceive man as dangerous to their species and give us a wide berth except at harvest time or when we appear to be unarmed. When you hunt you seldom get more than one crow unless you have a silent weapon or exceptional skill. Songbirds eat grain and insects. As do the bushmen. Carrion birds will show you death.
Mostly the bird people served as advisors or peace chiefs. Chief Joseph kept over five divisions of U.S. Cavalry including Buffalo Soldiers continually in the field with hit-and-run raids using less than twenty men while escorting his people's attempted escape to Canada. Tengu are birds. The tops of totem poles are often birds.
Teachings by tengu to samurai were preserved as scrolls even though few seemed to understand them. Even mastering one of the tengu's techniques was usually enough to protect you from the average attack. The message seems the same. "You're not meant for this. Only good people should be training with swords. Get out of it. I even have to beat you up to show you this simple stuff. You don't know how to think or act. You're not a pimple on the butt of a real swordsman, but these techniques will probably save your life considering the opposition." The tengu emphasized a morality for the use of the sword and discussed it as a weapon of defense. Tengu were not proud of their skill at arms and discussed swordmanship as a last resort, a necessary consequence of dealing with men. I suspect the legendary tengu of being teachers of the soft budo of Osaka and Kyoto. There is a direct mythological connection to the ninja. They were overrun, but never defeated, rather like the Seminole Indians of Florida.
Even today we demonize our enemies. When the law is breaking down and the people and politicians are exhibiting a mean spirit, those that exercise their freedom to learn self-protection seem the more survival-oriented to me. We still can learn from the birds. Survival can be pretty comfortable if you're intelligent about it. The great mother can tame demons and get them going in productive directions-protection of home and Momma and cleaning up the neighborhood — in subtle but effective ways requir ing the aid of the residents. I prefer making the attractive dangerous. Life has given me the other training. Endurance is a path to enlightenment.
There is a ninja scroll on how you can tell the time by how the cat's eye normally dilates. I wonder what else it says about them. (The hand claws are pretty interesting. Ichimunji is a better cat stance.) I've seen this cat's eye chart reproduced in a number of books and I always thought it was a joke. If scrolls were kept by masters on many topics, a family of masters going back eight hundred years and more like the Togakure Ryu would probably be worth studying and learning new languages or very old ones. Takamatsu left pretty broad hints it extends back a lot farther. Sun Tzu says the learning doesn't really start until you're a thousand miles from home and you have to rely on your basic principles. Feelings are pretty basic.
If my conjectures are on target, the ninjas are correcting the way martial arts are taught and discussed and have every right to. Hatsumi has said on more than one occasion that ninjutsu owes the Chinese. He dressed up in Chinese robes and showed weapon techniques. Some of the male figures in the old ninja scroll drawings are wearing Chinese costumes in the Quest videos. He chose to show that for a reason. If this is the old snake brain functioning, it seems able to discern the light from the dark on a multitude of levels. Anthropomorphizing is considered to be bad science but my feeling is it can be intelligently applied to reality. In real science as well as combatic martial arts we practice skepticism and humility. In psychology, which gets off track from time to time, we say, "The rat is always right." Enlightenment seems to be recognition that all things are connected through love and intelligence. The shaman's viewpoint is reflected in the Book of Job. Chapter thirteen offers, "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee." Keep going. Keep playing.
This bibliography is designed to support Path Notes of an American Ninja Master. It is also the recommended reading list for the fourth-degree black belt in hoshinjutsu. I urge you, the reader, to buy and read the books in the blocs in which they're presented. Each book is representative of a classic position and is the best of its type in my opinion. If read in tandem, these books present a series of ideas that interweave to provide a unique understanding of the topic that will be different from the authors' and mine, but of particular use and benefit to you. Try it out and see. I'll wager you'll have as much fun as I did with a quarter of the effort.
The first two or three books in each section are the most important. There is no particular order for your perusal. The prudent individual builds his or her own library and supports the one in the local community. Reading is one of the universal skills of leadership. If Ben Franklin were around today, he'd say, 'A book on line saves time."
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