I was at Starbucks, getting the a quadruple espresso. I was watching a man buy four of those blended drinks. He skips the cardboard carrier they offer and walks out balancing one cup atop another in each hand. It is interesting to watch and so I keep an eye on him as I sip my high octane.
He walks up to the passenger side of an SUV and hands one stack to the female passenger. It is at that point that he loses control of the other stack and one Frappucino begins to topple toward the pavement. But very quickly, the man lowers his body and hand, reaches down and catches the falling cup before it spills of hits the deck.
What a save!
I did not stop to interview him, but I suspect he did not think too much about what he would do, nor is it a move that he has practiced countless times either. Yet there it was...perfect execution and timing.
Action without thought.
Later in the day, I was driving home with the "Shield Maiden". The Prescott area is notorious for MDs and ODs - Meth Drivers and Octagenarian Drivers, neither of which belong on the road.
We had just turned onto HWY 69 approaching Mayer, driving at about 65 mph...OK...75 mph, when a big Van pulled out onto traffic. You know the kind...just like the Hillside Strangler used to drive, complete with blacked out windows and rust. It had been, and still was, raining so the surface was a bit slippery.
But when the van pulled into traffic, it cut across straight to the number one lane...the lane I was in.
Without any active thought, I gassed it and drove onto the center median. Being wet, the Tahoe lost traction and swerved slightly. Again, without actively thinking about it, I turned into the slide, righted the SUV, and cut in front of him as I sped off.
A side note is that immediately afterwards, I noted a slight increase in heart rate, but it was back to normal before I realized.
Had I not had the event I saw earlier in the day I might not have given this a second thought, but there it was again...quick mindless action unhampered by active thought,or fear of failing, or analysis. I will tell you that I do not train vehicle maneuvers regularly and while I did many years ago, never in a Tahoe.
The Japanese have a saying - mushin no shin or "mind without mind" and is also referred to as the state of "no-mindness". That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. There is an absence of analytical thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react without hesitation and without disturbance from such thoughts.
At this point, a person relies what is felt intuitively. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intention, plan or direction. In other words, it is not concentration or focus, rather a relaxed mind (the ancients would say "spirit") and a relaxed body that can physically adapt quickly and respond to changing situations almost as fast as they occur, whether to catch a coffee cup, avoid a stupid driver. or kill an adversary.
Perhaps something we should discuss more.