Developing an unbeatable spirit is the holy grail of our training. I often tell our Academy classes that the 5th Mountain encompasses training in all of the previous four Mountains: physical, mental, emotional, and intuitive. We can not easily separate the training of the mind, body and spirit into nice little chunks and say, “I am now working the body…tomorrow I work the spirit.”
The unbeatable spirit is developed through life experiences and through crucible experiences, like surviving cancer, Hell Week, and Kokoro Camp.
It is also developed through the sum total of our daily work in the other four mountains.
How to Develop an Unbeatable Spirit
Though it is very difficult to carve out unbeatable spirit and train it separately, there are some ways that we can cultivate it.
The first is by practicing TOTAL PRESENCE – being 100% here, now.
The future and the past do not exist in the present. The past is a memory and the future is a notion. Simply by collapsing our time to the present, we eliminate uncertainty and analysis paralysis. We empower our unbeatable spirit. Sounds simple, but alas, not easy at all. Three tools we utilize to keep our minds focused on the NOW are: counting our breath, reciting a positive and powerful mantra (mine when I run is “feeling good, looking good, ought-a be in Hollywood!”), and practicing “wide-angle vision.” All of these will be discussed in more detail in a future post.
Next we seek to Eliminate FEAR.
Fear exists in the gap between what we know to be true, and what we know we don’t know to be true. The wider the gap, the larger our fear. We must seek to narrow, and then eliminate the gap between the known and unknown by narrowing our focus to the present (thus eliminating the possibility for the gap in the first place). We must also seek to close the gap by “closing our openings.” To close our openings means to overcome weaknesses that can open us up to critical failures. We don’t need to master everything in life, just the important things. This is why we teach Combat Defense and an Offensive Mind as part of our 5th Mountain training. We want to be certain that if our life or the lives of our loved ones are in danger, we can deal with the threat. Thus we do not walk in fear of loss of life or limb.
Non-attachment is another way to eliminate the gap. Having no attachments in life is the ultimate goal of many Eastern spiritual traditions. Practicing non-attachment with your physical belongings is a great way to start. If you are not attached to loss, then you need not fear it.
The third practice is Hyper-Focus.
Hyper Focus is focus to the exclusion of everything else. Once focused on an action, or goal, you place all of your emotional, cognitive, subconscious and action energy toward achieving that goal. There are no compromises. There is no quit. Using your eyes as a “laser beam” to focus, also called “spirit eyes” among certain eastern martial arts, is how we stay hyper-focused. It also requires us to de-clutter our minds and environments, and be very selective of what we allow in. Again, simple but not easy.
Finally and closely related to intense focus is Total Commitment! This practice (a warrior virtue) draws upon our values of discipline and courage and extends to both task and team.
Worthy pursuits are heady pursuits for the warrior. They are not taken on lightly with an air of “maybe!” I have seen many SEAL candidates fail on “maybe.” No, we will carefully lay the groundwork for success, and embark on the final journey to our worthy goals only after careful consideration and study. However, once the decision is made and the line crossed, you will have entered into the realm of total commitment to task and team – one that allows no room to even think about the quit or hesitate about the right action. There is no turning back.