Falling Flowers of Fear

恐怖!! photo By *嘟嘟嘟*
How do we overcome fear in combat? Fear can be crippling. It can make us avoid taking actions that need to be taken. It becomes an invisible obstacle to reaching a goal. It can turn our taijutsu into hesitation and clumsiness. It even causes involuntary tension in our muscles so that they will not respond the way they were trained.

I had a teacher in college who defined F.E.A.R. as False Evidence Appearing Real. The idea here is that fear is a construct of our own minds. And since our minds create it, our minds can also release it.

What is this false evidence? In combat, the false evidence is death. You don't want to die so you fear being killed. But while you are fearing, you are not dead. So the evidence is a death that has not occurred and might never occur.

Hatsumi Sensei describes it this way: "If it seems that the blade is not yet positioned at your heart, then both life or death are stopping your heart… You must immediately cast out this mind. Essentially have nothing."

There is a famous section from the science fiction novel, Dune:
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
A commonality can be observed here. The power of nothingness. This is what we speak of as Mu. Or a power we can actually harness to our favor with the 空間 kukan. I personally can attest to this power. When you learn to connect to this emptiness there is strength and power beyond any training or physical prowess. But you must discard what you consider to be "empty space."

What do you think Kukan is made of? This very question already takes us away from an answer. Groping about in the darkness of space, we are caught in a fight with our own subjectivity.

Hatsumi Sensei says if you wish to understand the 空間 kukan, then you must ask one of the ten great disciples of the Buddha, Subhūti, who understands the importance of Ku.

Subhūti shows us the potency of emptiness in this story:
"One day Subhūti, in a mood of sublime emptiness was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall about him.

'We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness,' the gods whispered to him.

‘But I have not spoken of emptiness,' said Subhūti.

'You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness,' responded the gods. This is the true emptiness.' And blossoms showered upon Subhūti as rain."
Let your fear fall softly as flowers showering down in the Kukan.


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