When one is bleeding, it is easy to notice how the viscous red liquid colors the clothes, the hands and essentially the entire moment. Very few people in the world bleed that profusely in today’s day and age. But by the standards of historical soldiers, survivors and martial artists, blood was not an unwelcome sight. It was a sign of courage as much as sweat was for effort and tears were for grief.
Our analogy here, however, is not causing physical pain to oneself or others but to compare and understand how certain of our own choices color our lives every bit as much as real blood does.
Some of us make life choices with every bit the same dedication as warriors of the past. Dancers dance, singers sing, painters paint. However, you’d like to see it. Some of us give our lives to the arts, sciences, and histories. Mostly the endeavors of mind cause that much consumption. Our bodies have been designed with built-in safeguards against overtraining, self-injury and over consumption.
We may be able to override them with sheer willpower and a sense of purpose but even that requires intense and complete immersion of the mind.
Whatever art one practices, to succeed one must be one with it completely, it has to become their entire world.
But the very same single-mindedness can be a major handicap. Wild animals have a single-minded purpose, it is survival. But it swallows them whole. Many times you come across some true geniuses in their fields and you notice it. IT experts with social anxiety, Writers with sleeping disorders, fighters with constant fight or flight reflex, painters, and musicians with obsessive compulsive disorder. Their focus bleeds across the entirety of their lives.
To let one’s art consume you, to let it color your every judgment and perception, to become enslaved to one’s skill and power so much that one can never think or even act without it, is called the bleeding effect.
To counter the bleeding effect, warriors and artists have left us enough clues to achieve what today’s performers and professional sorely miss. They can either kiss their social and personal life goodbye to win in their lives or they can strive to achieve what we call a natural balance. And there are ways to achieve that but you will never find them in the bottom of a bottle, prescription medicine, or some exotic vacation. It is in your spirit.
Super performers of ages past had a deep indulgence of their spiritual side as well as their art. Samurais and Shaolin monks meditated, Knights served their churches, The Marathas of India fervently worshiped Shiva, The Sikhs laid down their lives for their spiritual preceptors, The Rajput risked lives and limbs for their promises, There are so many examples.
Even modern day Rock musicians like Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain showed a deep understanding of themselves in their quotations and lyrics.
It might take a few minutes daily, like a daily cup of coffee or a treadmill run, but they did it every day. They kept feeding their spirits.
A few sincere prayers, meditation, faith, devotion, even love can deeply calm your senses and give you an instant edge in the worst of circumstances. But the amazing thing it does to a mind that is undergoing the bleeding effect is phenomenal. Deep students of music and symphonies discover patterns and rhythms unheard of, dancers can transform every imbalance and misstep into a spectacular new move, fighters can see their opponents move in slow motion.
To the truly gifted, it seems like a 300% increase in their productivity. To the average joes, it seems like divine help.
The point in case is to not be solely a creature of the mind. Carry your spirit with you as you enter in your world of skill, knowledge, and creation. Care for the center of your being. Get closer to it. Your life has so many sides it’s basically a perfect circle. Step anywhere too close and you might fall off with your own weight. So get to the center. Get to your spirit. That is where all the balance will ever happen. There will be no deficiency or lack or overdose. And your mind will reach places that you never thought existed.