Sensei Joseph Hurtsellers: Hi this Joe Hurtsellers from ohiomartialarts.com and welcome to my podcast. Most people think of martial arts as something that going to be really difficult and hard, and that they’re concerned if they’ll be able to do it. Well, we’ve made our passion making martial arts techniques simple, enjoyable, and easy for the average person.
Most people know that there’s an internal mental part of the martial arts too, but so often those things that been made complicated, and difficult, and hard to understand. The purpose of this show is to take complex mental aspects of the martial arts and break them down so that they’re so simple and enjoyable that the average person can put them to use in everyday life. Welcome to Mindpower. I hope you enjoy.
Sensei Joseph Hurtsellers: A few things I want to talk about. I want to talk about why meditate. Two, when you should meditate. And three, when you should not meditate. So, we’ll go through all three things very briefly.
So, the purpose of meditation is to think about this idea of the law of momentum, and the way of the law of momentum works, it means that whatever direction you’re mentally leaning, you’ll have the tendency to accumulate more thoughts that sort of match that. So winners almost always feel like winners. Have you ever seen somebody, “I lose at everything. I lose at everything. I’m no good, I’m just no good.” Have you ever seen that person win ever? Never, right?
It’s because there’s a mindset, so a lot of times people will say, “Well where does my mindset come from? Where do those beliefs come from, that I’m a loser? Or I’m not very good? Or I’m not good with money? Or I’m not athletic enough? Or I’m not smart enough?” Or whatever those negative beliefs are. Most of the time they come from experiences that we’ve had.
So you have an experience, something happened, just came kind of out of the blue, and a person ended up failing a couple of times. But this important statement and you can kind of remember this statement forever and ever is—everybody say that was then.
Students: That was then.
Sensei Joseph Hurtsellers: This is now.
Students: This is now.
Sensei Joseph Hurtsellers: It’s kind of like every experience that we have is taking a picture of something. It’s like taking a photograph of something. You go to the doctor, and the doctor says, “Wow, you’re not as healthy as you need to be. I’m going to diagnose you with something.”
But that picture doesn’t have to stay that way. Now you’ve got to go out and take that feedback and do something about it to change it. But the moment that I have a belief, what I’m doing with that the belief is I’m just looking at that picture again and again and again. Somebody says, “Hey, you want to go for a run?”
“Well, look what the doctor said. Look what he said! There it is!” And I stay right in that one position.
So what law of momentum means is—it means also though—if have beliefs that support me, that move me in a positive direction, I’ll have a tendency to get better and better and better in that direction as well. So then, a bright-eyed student raises their hand and says, “Sensei, this is great stuff. How do I begin to change my beliefs?” Well, the fact of the matter is you can’t, not very easily. And the reason that you can’t change your belief is because whatever side you’re on, whether it be negative or whether it be positive, the very moment you put your attention on that side, what are you focused on? You’re focused on that belief
So somebody says—let’s say you have a belief in your lack of abundance. That’s a good one, because it’s measurable. Everybody can see it.—“I’m not good with money. I’ve never been good with money.” And then somebody says, “Well, you’ve got to change that belief.”
You try and think: “Okay, I am good with money: but your inner voice says “you liar!”
You try and think: “I’ve got a lot in my bank account.” but your inner voice says “No, you don’t.”
And the more you try and change it, it’s like trying to get out of—when you’re really deep inside of somebody’s full mount, and they’ve climbed up real real real high. At that point, just tap. You’re not going to get out if they’re really good. You’re just not going to get out, just tap.
So the point of all of is then, why do we meditate? Well, when you learn how to meditate what you literally do it shut down all beliefs, because you’ve shut down all thought. So you cannot change a negative belief to a positive belief, but what you can do is you can stop thinking. You can start focusing on just the breath, or just the sound of the air conditioner, or just count, or just raking some sand. And when you shut down all thought, what happens is you move your mind to a neutral place. From that neutral place, anytime you deviate in a negative direction—or a positive direction for that matter—but any time you deviate in a negative direction you’ll instantly feel it, and you can usually start that forward momentum from learning to meditate. So that’s the reason that we learn to meditate, and we say that’s the heart of martial art practice.
So then the next question that people will ask is they’ll say, “When’s a good time to meditate?” Well, you’re trying to stop thought. So when thought is really active, it’s a really tough time to meditate. If maybe—I’m trying to think of maybe a day when I’ve been on vacation, or you’ve been on vacation. You drive all the way there, and you’re in the mountains. You’re so excited, and you can’t wait. You’re getting ready to go for a hike, and you’re getting ready to go out see all this stuff. Man, you’re so enthused. You’re so fired up. You’re ready to go, and then somebody says hey, “Hey, hey, hey! Let’s not go! Let’s all sit for 20 minutes and meditate.” That’s probably a bad time to meditate, because you’re already in a pretty good mood. You’re already on the right side of momentum. You’re already enthusiastic. You’re already feeling good.
Now conversely, somebody says, “Well, what happens if I go in at work, and the guy that’s at work is unfair to me? Then I get reprimanded, and I get a notice that I might even, in fact, lose my job. I feel so frustrated. Should I meditate then?” And the answer is, probably not either, because now you’re already going in such momentum that’s like the guy’s got you in full mount. You might as well just tap. Just ride out that day.
But there is sort of a magical time that you can meditate that almost always everybody experiences, and that is when you go to bed. Because when you go to bed at night, you’re going to sleep. When you sleep, all of your momentum stops. So you’re not thinking positive, you’re not thinking negatively. You might have a few dreams or whatever based on your experiences of the previous day, but the most of the time when we wake up during that first 30 minutes, 40 minutes, I’m sort of in a still place. And that’s a great place to start my day with meditation. Make sense?
Students: Yes, sir.
Sensei Joseph Hurtsellers: So then, the final point of the whole talk is I remember many years ago, I was working on a lot of base leg sweeps. They’re kind of dangerous. You have to be very careful about it, but I would work to trap a guy, catch the leg, and step in and do this reap, and take the leg. That was something we working, and me and a friend of mine, Sensei Linder from Chicago, we practiced it real real real real hard. And he got really good at it, to the point where— you’d get to this point where a kick would come, and you’d catch the guy. But if you did everything right with the straight arm, you’d take the guy down before you got the guy in position to sweep him. So what we started finding ourselves doing—it was ridiculous—you’d catch the leg, the guy would start to fall, which is what you wanted to happen anyway, and you’d hold him up. You’d keep him in balance just so you could get the perfect throw.
My point is that’s not the way we want to be when it comes to meditation. What we want to do with meditation is when there’s forward movement, when we’re getting what we want, you don’t need to stop your day and meditate. When there’s negative movement, when things are going bad, you don’t need to stop your day and meditate. It’s better just to give up, but the best time to meditate to learn to meditate and do it in the morning.