To summarize this lesson on Kokoro I would like to relate a story. An incident occurred during a Kokoro Camp in 2011 that had a profound impact on me. It had nothing to do with the trainees or SEALFIT coaches. It was an unexpected visitor who came to teach me a valuable lesson.
I was waiting for the trainees to start dinner on the first night and stepped outside the dining area to breathe and contemplate. Looking down onto the grinder and into the gym I noticed an Indian gentleman staring at my white board. I walked downstairs to see what he was up to. After introductions he told me his story.
This gentleman was a practitioner at the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) two blocks from SEALFIT in Encinitas, Ca. SRF was founded by a famous Yogi named Paramahansa Yogananda. His book, Autobiography of a Yogi, is on my reading list. It is a great read and a real mind opener. Anyhow, my new friend was also a software company founder and CEO. As he was walking by SEALFIT his attention was drawn to the whiteboard where I had recently given a lecture on mental toughness. The word “silence” was clearly written on the board. This so startled him, coming from a place with “SEAL” and “FIT” in its name, that he stopped to take a deeper look.
After explaining what we teach and why silence was important to our training, we had a hearty discussion comparing the training of traditional yoga, which goes well beyond the poses, and SEALFIT. There were many similarities, which was intriguing to me. I also learned that he was leaving the next day for India to begin a 3 year silent retreat! He was handing his share of his software company to his partner, and embarking on a “turning in” phase of his life. I was stunned. Three years in silence! Holy cow was I humbled.
The story he told me next has literally been with me every day since. He told me that the Ashram (training center) he was going to was led by a well-known spiritual guide who had a very large following in India (unfortunately I forgot the guru’s name). The guru was noted for his lectures because they were always filled with capacity crowds…yet he only uttered three words. The words:
I believe that these three words summarize the journey up Kokoro Mountain. They represent the sum total of our spiritual journey. First we seek truth through proper training, observation and the deep study of human nature and natural laws. Orientation to this truth, and the cultivation of integrity, honor and courage to take the right actions and nurture the right thoughts, leads to wisdom.
Wisdom requires the merging of heart and mind in action. Our minds are externally focused, tied to the senses, and have a negativity bias that require re-calibrating. Our hearts (heart mind) are internally focused, govern our emotions, communicate with universal intelligence via our intuitive sense, and hold the eternal knowledge of our souls. The merging of mind and heart in action brings Kokoro into our decision making. Kokoro allows us to show up with honor and integrity every moment.
Finally, as we reach higher stages of awareness, taking our eyes off ourselves while cultivating a service and spiritual orientation to life, we find that we are infused with the energy of love. This love then colors every thought and action thereafter, allowing us to capture every moment in total presence, devoid of negativity, pain or suffering. The journey requires discipline, drive and determination. First we penetrate the physical shell, then polish the mirror of our minds, finally breaking through to our spirit. A crucible like Kokoro Camp will accelerate the process. Or you may end up in a 3 year silent retreat…it is up to you, it is your journey. However the journey is the important part…not the destination. Good luck on your journey up Kokoro Mountain!
HOOYAH! (bell ringing in background…)
Train hard, stay present and have fun. – Mark Divine