Finding Kokoro Spirit


To find our sacred silence is a lifetime pursuit. But we can find Kokoro in a moment, if we surrender to the moment. How we can find kokoro in our lives is the main point of this lesson. First, we must acknowledge that we are spiritual beings having a human existence. If you do not accept this premise, then this lesson may not be relevant to you. Next we must seek to stoke the inner flame of our spirit. SEALFIT Kokoro Camp is all about finding then stoking this inner flame. It is not about showing the world how tough we are. Who cares? No, Kokoro Camp is about penetrating the shell of the outer armor so we can feel the light of our spirit burning inside. We want to benchmark, or anchor, that state so we can locate it again later. We want to come back often and stoke the flame until it burns with a raging intensity, lighting our every thought and action. We train with passion and intensity so that we may stoke the spirits and make decisions from the heart, never faltering no matter how high the stakes. Warriors don’t just talk about spirituality in church on Sunday, or consider it a glorious moment “in the zone” on the playing field.

Most meditation practices come from cultures we are not familiar with. They are difficult for the western mind to wrap their steel-trap heads around. To solve this challenge, I offer some simple guided visualization techniques that help clear and focus the mind quickly. Fishbowl and Still Water are super effective because you are combining concentration, awareness and guided visualization into one powerful practice.

Sitting with oneself in silence is a great gift. Don’t force things to happen. Just sit and observe your breath, mind, and any physical reactions that arise. Release your attachment to doing anything and allow yourself to just be still in sacred silence. To develop the warrior spirit and connect with the Kokoro Way sacred silence is essential.

“As fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain.” –Samurai

Kokoro Mountain, our fifth mountain of SEALFIT / Unbeatable Mind has many paths leading up it, many false peaks along the way, and perilous pits filled with demons threatening to derail us. Climbing Kokoro Mountain is a solitary journey. I can point the way and provide you tools to prepare you, but you must do the work. Even your teammates, though they are on the same path, will never be in the same place on this journey, thus you will feel alone.

Warrior spirit is a topic that many warriors wiser than me have grappled with. I will do my best and expect that most of us will only “get it” when we experience it first hand, such as in Kokoro Camp, or in a moment of total surrender. Many of you know what I am talking about because you have attended Kokoro Camp. Or perhaps you plan to experience first-hand what I am talking about. It is well worth the price of admission – and I am not talking about the fee.

King Leonidas, when chided by his Allies for bringing “only” 300 to battle the Persians at Thermopylae – asked what the profession these men came from. “Baker,” “Butcher,” “Farmer” were the answers. He turned to his Spartans and asked their profession. They boomed with one voice “Hooyah!” (in Greek of course). That is Kokoro Spirit. The Navy SEALs have Kokoro spirit. I would take one Spartan or one SEAL by my side over 50 regular soldiers. They lead with heart, with a strong mind, and are not afraid to act with violence of action and decisiveness in the moment of choice. How do we find Kokoro? Can we train it? I believe we can.

The peak of Kokoro Mountain is never really reached. It will always seem just around the next bend. However, as we traverse higher we are offered glimpses of enlightenment. Our minds begin to merge with our hearts and our actions become filled with passion and purpose. The irony is that this enlightenment we gain was available to us all along; we just did not take the time to notice it, mired in the busyness of our lives. Warriors who ascend Kokoro Mountain gain the power to move as fast as the wind, be as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire and as immovable as the mountain itself. It is truly a worthy endeavor.

Kokoro is a Japanese term which means “the Heart of a Warrior,” “Warrior Spirit” or “Heart and Mind of a Warrior.” There is no English word that does it justice. It is the fifth mountain of SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind because all those committed to self-mastery are ultimately drawn to it. Warriors from all traditions – Samurai, Spartans, Apache Scouts and the modern Navy SEALs – cultivate a spiritual connection and a drive to deepen this connection more fully. They define it in different terms – such as “Sacred Silence,” “Fire in the Belly,” and “Shibumi.” A religious faith may provide doctrine and structure, but is not always relied upon to find Kokoro. Rather, faith is a supporting structure in the “IT” quadrant that support spiritual growth in the “I” quadrant (using AQAL speak). Kokoro can only be developed through the mighty effort required of severe training, hours of contemplative silence, service to our brothers and sisters, and a heart-centered leadership required of momentous challenges.

Course Discussion