by Urban Samurai on April 1, 2012
The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day, when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day, without fail, one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai.
My first meditation ever, I counted my breaths. I read that is the way everyone should start. Because meditation, just like anything else, is a learned skill. And at first it is very difficult to keep your attention on any one thing, other than counting. It’s still not easy, at least it wasn’t for me. But I got better.
The samurai meditated on their own death. Every morning. Every night. They envisioned themselves being killed by their enemies. Or dying in some way.
This makes complete sense to me. If a samurai was already dead, then why would he be afraid of death? They would be fearless in battle. And more importantly, this would make them live every moment to its fullest. To perfection. This is a simple yet genius way to get yourself to realize that moments in life are precious.
There was one day, when I naturally just shifted over to meditating on my own death. I had known about this samurai way for a long time. And one day, I felt ready, and just started. I use swords and spears. And samurai attacking. There is something that feels the opposite of glorious about dying by a modern day gun or smart bomb. And with the history associated with what I am trying to do, the ancient samurai ways of dying, just fit better.
So there is me fighting. Every day, against samurai. I am brave until the end. My sword pierces one on occasion. But each time, I get killed. I’ll spare you the details. But sometimes in pretty brutal fashion.
This has helped me become fearless. I just got attacked and killed this morning by four attacking samurai, and now I have to present in front of a group of people in the office, and I’m supposed to be nervous?
What is there that is worse than death? For me…nothing. So if I’m not scared of that…what else is there to be afraid of?
I meditated again this morning. Three samurai came in to the room in which I was sitting. They circled me slowly. Their masks decorated to intimidate. But I am no longer intimidated. They came closer and I drew both my swords. Ready. I have been training for this. Miyamoto Musashi tells me that killing one men or ten men is virtually the same. I know I can handle them. I’ll take them one at a time. The first came at me from the left. Our swords met. It was loud. Violent. Aggressive.
I found something inside of me today. This felt different. A rage that needed to be let out.
I was efficient. I handled them one at a time, but at the same time. Their bodies dropped one by one. I cleaned my sword of their blood. And walked over their dead bodies on my way to work. Not looking back.
Not today. I’m better than them today. I am not dying today.
I know they will send more at me tomorrow. And I will die again. But this…this victory felt good.