Women were movement itself: precise and graceful, whereas a man was the heart of stillness: drawing strength from the moment between the drawing of the bow and the release of the arrow. - Aveldonacc, 2017

This kind of magic is known among sports people or people who engage in martial arts disciplines. It is a bit difficult for Westerners to grasp. In Kyudo, or Japanese archery, it is important to empty the mind and "know" that the arrow is in the target. Students often shoot blindfolded. In Western archery the object is getting the center of the target. Kyudo emphasizes "shooting correctly" and the result will follow from this. This is similar to Zen meditation where the emphasis is put on the sitting position and emptying the mind. Westerners want results. Everything is done for results. In Anieth, we found that the Eastern model of martial arts was more prevalent, for the warrior caste was very tightly bound up with spirituality. This started to break down among the Horse People when the Zelosians invaded, bringing with them the more result-driven psychology of the Empire.


The Powers of the Hunter - Seeing

To develop skills that will make you physically astute and able to deal with any situation, first you must develop the hunter. The hunter walks in the world, noticing things that will lead him to his (or her) purpose. There are ancient exercises to develop the first of the hunter's qualities: sight.

1. Go into a room. Take a moment and look around, maybe two minutes at most.
2. Go out of the room. Write down or recite to another everything you saw in that room. This exercise works very well in public (go into a store) with other friends. You can do this one at a time and compare notes. Each write down what you saw and then compare after all have gone in and returned.
3. How much did you see? What did you see? What classes of things caught your attention? Why?
4. Look at what you saw and what you did not see. Part of this is experience, i.e. a carpenter sees carpenter things, like crooked wood, part of it is attention.
5. Do this again and again. The more you do this, the more you will develop attention.
6. Now try this in a park or somewhere outside with trees and plants, or a lot of buildings.
7. Was it more difficult outside? When did you get overwhelmed? How much can you see versus how much can you remember?

Seeing and remembering are skills that can be honed and developed. Without these basic skills, no amount of other training can be as effective.


The Powers of the Hunter - Hearing

This skill can often be more important than seeing. Develop all these skills together. It's actually really amazing to keep a small journal, especially if there is more than one of you. Don't lie or try to blow up your skills. After a year you will be amazed at how much you improve and the quality of your life increases dramatically. Be patient. No skills are easy to learn. Now an exercise for hearing.

1. This works well in the dark, but it's similar to the other skill. Start inside, especially if there is more than one of you.
2. Go outside, one at a time. Stand quietly, long enough for your breathing to calm and to get a bit restless. Start hearing. What do you hear? Go in, write it down.
3. How much did you hear? What did you hear?
4. Now try this exercise with people. Listen to someone talk. This works well with another person. Together mark a moment, listen to what the speaker says, then leave the room. This is great with talk radio or a television.
5. Compare notes. Do you remember what was said? Can you repeat it?
6. Repeat these skills. Try to breathe into listening. Calm yourself and the mental chatter so you can listen.
7. After a week, do you hear more? Do you remember more? After a month?

Often visual acuity and the ability to hear and verbal memory are not highly developed or one skill will be good and the others not, or you will pay attention to some things and not others. Try with with a friend of the opposite sex or a friend who has a very different personality. Hormones and personality color what we see and hear. Try to develop yourself as an objective recorder. It is very, very common for people to walk in the world and not see the world at all. It's much, much more difficult to pay attention to what someone is saying, to what you are thinking, and the outer world. Notice what comes into your attention and why.


The Powers of the Hunter - Feeling

Feeling, or the sense of touch, is very involved. You have a feeling for gravity, for the way your muscles and bones interact, and also of temperature. You have a sense of touch, which for many, is erotic and disturbing, but you also have a host of emotions called feelings. It is absolutely essential in developing your hunter's mind, to quiet the emotions (exercise below) and open up the mind to physical sensations. You are a recorder of the physical world. To develop any sport, you must have a very acutely developed physical sense. Often, in the West, this is tied to sex, but sex is totally distracting for any athlete or martial artist, to the degree that it is often put off until relaxing time. It is in your physical make up to always be aware of potential mates, but believe, me, it is often overwhelmingly distracting and can be suicidal, especially in the sense of touch.

1. Do this exercise in the dark. Get up in the dark and walk through your house.
2. Move stuff around, and, the next night, do this again. Yes, you will crash into things, but do this again and again until you start paying attention to your body. Can you tell when you are near a wall? Does your breath change? Do you reach out with your hands?
3. In the dark, we use our hands too much. Try this exercise with your arms crossed.
4. In the dark, go into your kitchen, find a cup and pour a glass of water. Do you hear the difference in the sound of the water as the cup fills? Can you feel the water fill the cup? Put your hand on the faucet. Can you feel the water flowing through the pipe? Put your hand on the wall of the house. Do you feel anything through the wall?
5. Go and sit near a train or a highway. Close your eyes. If you must, wear earplugs. Can you feel the vehicles as they pass? Does the bench vibrate or the ground? Can you feel the change in the air?
6. Close your eyes and balance on one foot. Do you depend on your eyes to keep your balance? Imagine you are falling. Then close your eyes again. Is it easier to lose your balance with your eyes closed? Practice standing with your eyes closed, on both feet or one. Lean one way or another and get used to the way that your body feels when your attitude changes. (upright position)
7. Touch something with your fingertips with your eyes closed. Use something boring, like a pen or your phone. Then put the object down and touch it with your palm. Then the back of your hand. Then your arm. Notice how the sensation changes.

People are not usually aware of touch, only of changes in pressure or gravity or temperature. Touch is supposed to be pleasurable, not something particularly useful. Yet, without touch, you have nothing. Wrap your hands in gloves and try to change out a battery in a flashlight or even write something down. The gloves are clumsy, but more so, the gloves rob you of the acute sensations in your fingertips that allow you to make very fine movements. Touch and temperature are distracting and sometimes annoying or painful, which is why we wear clothes.


The Word of a Warrior

Words drive our thoughts, more than people think. The hunter often scorns words, but the warrior cannot. Words can be a powerful weapon that has nothing to do with calling people names or yelling at them.

The first exercise is to develop a mind trick. You can use words as internal battle cries, or signals for state changes.

1. Find a quiet space. Sit down, sit as straight as you can. Pick a word and say it to yourself. Sit and stare at a wall or close your eyes. For five minutes notice your thoughts and try not to be dragged into the thought streams.
2. Do this every day, maybe twice or three times a day. Always say the word before you train your mind. Do this for a month.
3. Keep doing this practice, but now when you are out walking, say the word to yourself.
4. Keep saying the word to yourself at odd times when you are doing your regular routine while you are practicing for five minutes. The more you practice, the more pronounced the activation of the word will be.
5. After about six months, you should be able to say the word to yourself and experience a profound state change in your mind. You should become extremely alert and ready.
6. Try saying the word to yourself when you are emotionally aroused, such as getting angry or afraid.
7. Again, journaling will make this really interesting!

The other exercise is to develop the words of silence and power.

1. Every time you want to say something, don't. No matter what. You may find this hard to do at first. Wait five seconds or ten BEFORE you say anything. Did you change your mind about speaking? Did you change what you wanted to say?
2. I cannot stress enough to do this over and over and over every day until it becomes a habit. Impulse speaking is speaking without thought, and will wreck your life.
3. When you want to speak, look at the listener and consider one thing, this is a human being.
4. When you are alone, think of what it means to be a human being. A living, conscious, being that has feelings and thoughts. Give out your words when you speak as if they meant something.
5. Every time your speak, think of your words meaning something. Are they valuable? Are they gold or are they crap? Why speak unless your words can add to meaning? Practice trying not to speak. You will notice very quickly that people will listen more if you don't speak very often.
6. When you do not speak, watch, look with your hunter eyes and listen with your hunter's ears. Project you will toward the other person, putting your spirit into your eyes, connecting with them as they speak. This will make them self-conscious and aware of their own words.
7. A hunter and a warrior do not speak unless their words have an object or a goal. Just as you do not want to punch at the air, you do not want to speak at random. If you punch quickly and connect, this is like speaking quietly and deliberately with intent. Gain yourself a reputation for listening and speaking only when it is sure that you will connect.


The Quiet Man

Most people will say that to do a sport, you must practice. Yes, but to do a sport well, it helps to have the mindset for it. How is this developed? By being present. Presence is a way of saying that you do not live in the past, you do not live in the future. You will think this is a stupid thing to say, but very few people live in the present. Very few people live in the world. They live in a stream of chatter and feelings that leaves them loaded for whatever mood that they are in to say and do things that have no bearing in reality. When you start to notice it, it's quite astonishing. We think living in the present is stupid, because hardly anyone does it! The television show Kung Fu was popular because people wanted to kick box and fight like the main character. But this is stupid, for to fight like he was portrayed to be able to fight, you must first have the quiet within. You must be present.

The only way to be present is to stand still. Every day, set aside a few minutes to be still. Try to quiet your mind and your body. You do this through breath. You simply start paying attention to your breathing. You follow your breathing, count if you have to. The joke about the Lamaze practice for birthing women is that it doesn't work, but the breathing is so distracting that it helps with the pain and panic! Breath is life. Paying attention to breathing will help cut the mental chatter. The more you can sit (or stand) and follow your breath, the more you will find that the inside chatter dies away to the point where it is waves on the beach, not the storm that will toss you up away from reality.

  • Do I find myself dragged around by my feelings? Do I enjoy this? Is it distracting and fun?

  • Do I feel numb, unable to feel anything at all. Does this make me panic?

  • How much do I see in the world? How much do I pay attention to the world?

  • Do I live for pleasure, for fun, for distraction?

  • How important is the past? Is each moment a new one, or just a result of the past?

  • Am I in this moment at all? Where am I sitting. What is happening? Am I breathing?

  • Am I too busy? Am I wrapped up in what I must do next and what will happen?

  • Am I real?

If these questions are uncomfortable, you are not here. Try to do the breathing meditation. Many people find that they calm down once they have been camping a while or outside a while or physically active. This is do to brain chemicals. We get stressed and toxed in our normal lives. Sitting and meditating is the best way to deal with any stress you will encounter. It is uncomfortable if you need distraction. You will be bored. You will be prey to your feelings and thoughts. You will be uncomfortable. You will want to scream and jump up and down and do anything but meditate. Then after a time, you will crave it, and you will find that over and over, things just don't bother you. The world gets brighter and more real, time slows down. Everything becomes more interesting and more fulfilling. You are more efficient and in a better mood all the time. And all the storms of your mind and heart leave you alone, in peace, sitting on the beach in the rising sun.

© 2015, A.R. Stone

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