“Out of the night that covers me, black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my Unconquerable soul.”
–Invictus, by W. E. Henley
I will start lesson nine with my favorite poem, written by a true warrior. This was penned by Apache Scout Shadow Walker in 1807 at the age of 91. He is at a place called Panther Ridge before a major battle with the enemy, and he is asking forgiveness for his actions. But he isn’t confused or in consternation about the coming battle. He is quite clear that it is his duty to fight, to protect his Apache nation and way of life. And, he is willing to die for this cause. But, beforehand, he asks his God (Grandfather of all Scouts) to forgive him for harming his enemy. That is a very highly developed human being there… one that has merged heart + mind + action. Here it is:
“Grandfather of all Scouts, I am your servant. I am your people’s servant. I have always sought peace and laid down the lance, But now there is no choice, for all else has failed. Forgive me, Grandfather, For now, I must pick up the lance. Direct my mind, direct my heart, So that there is no hatred, rage or revenge. I use the power given unto me from the place of love for my enemies. And if it is your will, I will lay down my life for my enemy, my brother. I now willingly shoulder the burden of the warrior. Guide my hands, Guide my heart.”
And, to newly trained Scouts, he penned the following for them to recite:
“Grandfather of all Scouts, teach me to be the eyes of my people and teach me to move like the shadows. Allow me to become the wind, the rock and the soils, and the life force in all its forms. Allow me to suffer for my people and take away their pain. Honor me by allowing me to die for my people, for I love my people beyond myself, and I will sacrifice my all for my people, my Earth and for you. Test me beyond all hardship and pain; create me as you would forge a tool. And if you find that I am worthy, bless me as your servant, you’re Scout.”
The Apache Scouts had a tradition rich with five mountain training. The Scout spent years cultivating the body, mind, and spirit. This was the way of the warrior, and necessary for thriving in the “harsh” wilderness conditions. The tools they used were similar to Unbeatable Mind but taught with their cultural meaning. Meditation, severe physical training, constant learning, long periods of silence in nature, visualization and vision quests, sacred ceremonies with plants, breathing, sound (chanting) and movement (dance). These are all similar to the integrated developmental tools we have discussed in this course which have been lost to time in the Western world.
As you know by now, the word “Kokoro” is a Japanese word that comes from the code of their rich warrior traditions. I first heard this term from Mr. Nakamura, in one of our Zen meditation sessions. He said it meant “warrior spirit” then. Since I have learned that it means more specifically “merging heart and mind into action” and “whole mind.” That is why this word represents our fifth and final mountain to climb. It is the culmination of our work, as expressed through how we show up TODAY as leaders, teammates, and servants. Kokoro is the living embodiment of the Unbeatable Mind fifth plateau, world-centric perspective, care, and concern.
The Samurai and Ninjitsu lived by a code similar to the Samurai, as did other great warrior cultures of the past. The Knights of the Roundtable had the Chivalric code. The Spartans Stoic Virtues and the Yogi’s have the Yamas and Niyamas of Patanjali. Christians and Jews have Moses’ Ten Commandments. These all espouse universal principles that, on the surface, provide a code of conduct. But for a select few, the warriors and those seeking to perfect themselves as humans, they held the keys to a powerful set of daily practices that refined the body, mind, and spirit.
That really sums up the notion of kokoro mountain to me. Unbeatable Mind is not a hack or a motivational course. It teaches a deeply grounded set of personal practices meant to be done daily and woven into one’s life. When honed with discipline, these practices lead, over a period of time to a more complete human being. That experience is revealed as “whole body-mind” integration leading to great peace of mind and deep alignment with one’s purpose… in service to others.
That is what climbing kokoro mountain is about – to appreciate, and embrace, the totality of the commitment to this as a path, a way of life. It is a journey, not a destination. And, the journey is for life, not just the duration of this course.
Codes of Conduct
“I never said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it.” –May West
Here is a brief look at four of history’s most powerful codes. These are stories of how humans should live together, and comport themselves in order to live an honorable life, a life of service, or a spiritually perfected life (and all three). Interesting to see how much they overlap and speak to the same outcomes.
The Ten Commandments
- “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.”
This commandment forbids the worship of false gods. My interpretation is that Moses was saying to respect that there is one unifying intelligence in the universe, so just focus on connecting to that one energy. This is quite similar to the Yogi code.
- “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
The faithful are required to honor the name of God. I think this is basically about maintaining a positive mindset, and self-control.
- “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”
The Jewish celebration of Sabbath (Shabbat) begins at sundown on Friday evening and lasts until sundown on Saturday. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians go to church on Sunday, treating it as the Lord’s Day instead of Saturday to honor the day Christ rose from the dead. Whatever… this one was for the church IMO.
- “Honor thy father and mother.”
This commandment obliges the faithful to show respect for their parents — as children and adults. Good one… respect of our Parents doesn’t mean we have to like them. But it also means that as Adults, we can’t blame them for our problems!
- “Thou shalt not kill.”
The better translation from Hebrew would be “Thou shalt, not murder” — a subtle distinction but an important one to the Church. Killing an innocent person is considered murder. Killing an unjust aggressor to preserve your own life is still killing, but it isn’t considered murder or immoral. The Yogi’s and Buddhism has a similar interpretation with Ahimsa.
- “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
This commandment is pretty straightforward. Consider the suffering that adultery causes. Either stick to your commitment, work to make it work, or end it. But don’t ride the line between. That takes discipline if your eyes wander, which is why I said these are practices, not just “laws.”
- “Thou shalt not steal.”
The Catholic Church believes that this commandment also denounces cheating people of their money or property, depriving workers of their just wage, or not giving employers a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, and vandalism are all considered extensions of violations of the Seventh Commandment. The Yogi code takes it further and says you shouldn’t take more than you need, even if it isn’t technically stealing. That is why the Earth is being so depleted, because of violation of this commandment and the Yogi code of Asteya (see below).
- “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
The Eighth Commandment condemns lying. The most obvious way to fulfill this commandment is simply not to lie — which is to intentionally deceive another by speaking a falsehood. This is much easier said than done. A great read on the subject is Sam Harris’ short book “Lying.”
- “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”
I am not sure whey Moses needed this one… seems to me like it is covered with #6. Or maybe this one should stay, and six can go. Whatever.
- “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”
Same issue of redundancy here… this one is covered by seven. The Yogi’s handle this issue of the act versus the intention by saying that the act follows the intention. So one principle, such as Asteya, not stealing or taking more than you need, is about both the thought, intention, and action.
The Bushido Code
Bruce Lee embodied this well in our modern world. He once said: “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” This code is shaped by Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The daily practices most revered include:
The Stoic Code
The purpose of life is happiness, achieved by virtue. Virtue is living according to the dictates of reason, ethical and philosophical training, self-reflection, careful judgment, and inner calm. Also, a deep reflection on one’s own impermanence in life.
The Yogi Code
The Yama and Niyama represent the ethics and disciplines of the yogi practitioner.
Yama are the ethical disciplines. (incidentally, discipline means “mountain” in Japanese. These are interior, as well as action-based, and related to how one relates to others and nature. They include:
- Ahimsa-non-violence, compassion, do no harm
- Satya- truth, integrity- essential verses local-love
- Asteya- non-stealing, using only what is necessary, generosity
- Brahmacharya- balance, continence, moderation of life force
- Aparigraha- non-coveting, awareness of abundance, non-attachment
Some opposing emotions to these practices include jealousy, Greed, Gluttony, Neediness, Possessiveness/Co-dependency, Hoarding, ect. You can see how practicing these is a big commitment requiring great discipline.
The Niyama are personal disciplines that also have an interior and action component. These related to how one manages their personal life.
- Saucha- purity, simplicity
- Santosa- contentment, being at peace with what is
- Tapas- austerity, challenge, seriousness toward training
- Svadhyaya- the study of self, the study of sacred scripture, and the natural world
- Isvara pranidhana- whole-hearted dedication to God, or something higher to yourself (like nature): Though the Yogi’s choose “God” it is also your choice, your faith, your belief