What’s Your Code?


“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


  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Courage
  • Honor
  • Compassion
  • Honesty
  • Loyalty


“ The purpose of life is happiness, which is achieved by virtue, living according to the dictates of reason, ethical and philosophical training, self reflection, careful judgement, and inner calm. “ Aristotle

Yoga: Yama and Niayamas

  1. Yama: Ethical (We) Disciplines, means Mountain in Japanese:

Exterior and Action based, although interior practices can illuminate the nature of these qualities.

  • 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:

Jealousy, Greed, Gluttony, Neediness, Possessiveness/Co-dependency, Hoarding, ect.

What do we carry emotionally and how is it embodied?

  1. Niyama: Personal (I) Disciplines:

Exterior and Action based, although interior practices can illuminate the nature of these qualities.

  • Saucha- purity, simplicity
  • Santosa- contentment, being at peace
  • Tapas- austerity, igniting the purifying flame (seriousness)
  • Svadhyaya- study of self, study of sacred scripture, and nature-
  • Isvara pranidhana- whole-hearted dedication to god, something higher to yourself (like nature): your choice, your faith, your belief

“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.”-Bruce Lee

How do we train to be mentally fit, physically indomitable and spiritually unbreakable? How do we know what to do? This is your personal journey of a thousand miles that starts with a single step. That step is inward. This inward journey will allow you to sharpen your personal definition of a code, ethos, and stand.

You have heard me say that I believe we are all capable of at least 20 times more than we think we are. By pushing the envelope, that 20X is constantly sliding to the right. Eventually your “normal” is extraordinary to the “common person.” I have seen this demonstrated so many times with my SEAL teammates, advanced martial artists and yoga practitioners. What they do as a matter of routine would utterly blow you away. But they are not supermen. They have just trained harder than normal and the result, layered over the years, is mastery. What the commoner sees are spectacular feats that seem like a freak of nature.


The Samurai are a good example of those who live by a code. The Bushido code, and the inner work required of these warriors through long hours of meditation, study, contemplation and severe physical training, led them to Kokoro and Sacred Silence. They used the term “Shibumi” to describe their experience. Shibumi means “effortless perfection” and when one accesses it they flow with an unconscious competence, as if their minds were riding the razor’s edge of present moment awareness.


“Pain is weakness leaving the body” – The SEALs

One way to find our 20X is by joining the Navy, attending BUD/s and enduring Hell Week. However, that is not a reasonable path for most. The reason I developed Kokoro Camp is that I found through my own severe training in the SEALs that Kokoro is found in moments of intense challenge. In these moments we are forced to let go of the limited body and mind, and dig deeper. As Emerson stated so poignantly “when someone is beaten, tormented and defeated, he is ready to learn something.” The student starts out experiencing Kokoro Camp as a physical challenge…a long ass workout. I have been told by IronMan triathletes that the workload was akin to 3 back-to-back IronMan races. But soon, as physical limitations are reached during the experience, the student looks to their mind to maintain control and push through. This is the mental toughness phase. But through lack of sleep, cold, chaos and stress, the mind is soon proven an unworthy ally. It plays tricks – wanting to quit, to hallucinate, or to narrow its focus to animal level survival. We learn that we must move beyond the mind to tap into a source of energy that we sense will carry us through. In other words, we must go in, to get out.

A key premise of Kokoro Camp is that we can not only survive great challenges through mighty effort, but we can thrive during these extreme circumstances as well. To do so, the student must look beyond their limited body and the mind…to something deeper within. That something is their spirit.

The yoga tradition speaks of “tapas,” mighty effort, which burns off lethargy, impurities and propels us inward. “Pain is weakness leaving the body” is our tapas. The untrained body is soft and weak. Tapas, applied through a disciplined training program like SEALFIT, will shed weakness and forge strength, stamina, work capacity, durability and endurance. The heat and sweat produced by the training burns off toxicity and promotes vibrant health. The health we feel in our bodies then compels us to fuel this “new” body properly, so we are led to a primal diet, eating fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats (unless vegetarian), nuts, legumes and good fats. The upward spiral of health continues.

The tapas also burns off mental toxicity built up over the years through ingestion of poor brain food. The discipline and concentration required of the physical training, much like asana practice in Yoga, will purify the mind alongside the body, leading us to the third level, emotional purification. Tapa in the form of emotional cleansing comes next, as discussed in lesson 7. Finally, we are led inward further to the spirit. Our spirit does not need to be cleansed, or burned off. It needs the shells emplaced in front of it to be burned off so it can shine through. The rigorous physical asana practice of traditional Yoga was followed by long periods of breath control, meditation, concentration and contemplation. Tapas or mighty effort was required for a daily disciplined training practice in Yoga. Over time the layers of body, mind, and emotions were penetrated so the trainee could go deeper into higher stages of consciousness.

We can accelerate this process by increasing the heat of effort – such as with Kokoro Camp. An effort of the magnitude of Kokoro must be prepared for, and in this preparation we lay the seeds for success. Jump right into the frying pan from the bench and we will fail. Many early Kokoro students failed because they had no concept of the magnitude of challenge they faced. The word is out and now folks are preparing for up to a year or longer for the challenge. Through habituation of discipline, drive and determination, and the tapas of mighty effort, we can build the capacity for conquering any challenge by penetrating the depths of our very being and bringing that strength back to the surface into our actions. This is what I mean by “going in to get out” on our journey. We go deep within, so that we can then outwardly express a merging of heart and mind in our actions.

Course Discussion