We train hard, we train the body to do some extraordinary things and we often train the mind only through the rigorous training of the body and that is good but how do we train the mind for things that have nothing to do with the body? On my way to work today and event occurred that inspired me to post on training the mind outside the training hall.
I catch a BART train to work every day. It's convenient and provides me all sorts of inspiring thoughts as I ride and observe all the goings on around me from my start point to my final stop. Today I got on the train and all the seats were taken except one. The person in the second seat had a bike with him and by positioning had blocked out that one remaining seat.
My first thought upon observing this was, "what an asshole, taking up space and not allowing anyone to sit down." Then I started to think about what I just thought. I said to self, wait a minute. Did you ask this guy to let you sit in that spot? Did he refuse? Does he look like the type that would refuse? What made you think he would refuse? If you asked him isn't it possible that he would move the bike to let you sit? Isn't it possible that he may be thinking or be relaxed so that he just doesn't realize that he might move the bike to allow any one of the group that got on the car with me to sit especially the women? Haven't you seen others who are asked suddenly realize they were being distracted and jump up with enthusiasm to allow another person a seat? What would happen if you asked, he just might say "sorry" and move or get up to allow you or someone else to sit?
I was making an assumption, an assumption that might have resulted in a mind-set that could have caused me, in my youth it would have, to confront this person vs. simply and politely asking and what would, could or might have occurred? He might have taken my confrontation as an attack and did a monkey dance response that could have resulted in escalation and possibly physical altercation.
This is a simplistic example compared to most monkey dances that end in a fight. It doesn't exactly address a predatory attack but in a more or less social situation predatory attacks are not a large threat simply because social situations mean lots of people but then again .... This simplistic example shows us a method of mind training.
Mind training is first self-examination with questioning things similar to my example to find those things that get under your skin, that make you a bit miffed and tend to make you respond in an emotionally ego pride driven monkey dance way - both simplistic such as my example then complex as a social encounter that is a conflict not yet physical (you still have time to avoid and deescalate).
Remember that in deescalation you are the main component, i.e. you have to deescalate yourself first then focus on deescalation of the other guy. Often, as the experts write, it is your monkey dance ego driven pride responses that usually get you into trouble to begin with so deescalate yourself. Use my simplistic example above to recognize your reaction to stimuli, ask yourself why you are thinking that way and then find out better ways to react to that stimuli.
I decided that it would be best to do one of two things. First, simply ignore the guy and his bike. I don't have any clue as to what he is thinking or why he is positioning his bike over his and the empty seat. I don't have a clue as to how he might react. If I take the second thing I could approach the guy in a proper positive mind-set and ask him respectfully if he would allow me to sit. I would be ready for either a positive or negative response. If positive I would thank him after I sit, if negative I would simply sorry to bother you and turn aside and stand until I get to my destination or a seat becomes available. I would then not look or give him any reason to think that this was anything other than a respectful request he denied and give it no reason other than it didn't work out like I hoped but what the hey. As one person said once, take the high road and leave the low road alone.
This is what I am trying to convey as to mind training for martial systems. It is a method you should use every moment that you encounter another human being in society. To take a moment to assume the best in everyone but keep an awareness in case the best in them is not present. Think about what your thinking and consider the options, i.e. is this a monkey dance ego pride thing or are you giving the benefit to the others and responding respectfully or not at all, etc. depending on the situation and stimuli encountered.
We all to often just react without first considering things and mind training in every day life events such as my simplistic example gives us the mindful moment to consider options before we act - called deescalating ourselves. If we do this in as many mundane things that might trigger our resentment, anger, fear, etc. when we still have a lot of control then when things really get hinkey it just might allow us to act in a more positive manner to avoid and deescalate.
The next time you encounter a stimuli that makes you feel irritable take the moment to recognize it and then think about it and see if maybe it is you and not the other person. If you find it is the other person then decide how to act or react without projecting your irritation, etc. toward them that will result in escalation and conflict.
Does any of this make sense?