This means many things, all of them very important.
The first is the attention of the martial artist. Being inattentive means you are dead. You can’t have your mind wander when facing a man with a three foot razor blade who has been practicing since he was five, and is ready to die.
You might think it easy to pay attention at such a time, but you would be wrong. If you practice a martial art, play golf or tennis, you know there are many times when a stray thought or evaluation has crossed your mind at the wrong time.
This can be reminding yourself to try hard, or reminding yourself of some correction in your technique.
Thinking is the enemy of motion, and if infants could talk, it might take them years longer to walk.
So our first item is concentration.
Again those who practice any of the three activities mentioned above, or play any sport, will have had many experiences when not being relaxed cost them dearly. Again, you might think that facing the three foot razor blade makes it difficult to relax, but if you don’t, you are dead.
The parts of the brain that lead to excellence in performance will not work without the mind state of relaxed concentration. It is in you to do this. All of your ancestors had this ability or they wouldn’t have passed on their genes.
It makes sense to practice this mind state as much as possible, but most people live their lives in a fog of inner dialogue and preoccupation. To the extent that you develop the mind state of relaxed concentration your life will be more vivid, and you more alive. Think of the times when you have been most aware and alive. Being intimate for the first time with someone new and special, jumping from an airplane, or the crucial moments in some contests.
The point of this book is to develop this mind state and practice it all the time.
And if you learn to control this mind state, and to practice it frequently, will it not be useful all the time and in all things? This is the mind-state of excellence. This is the mind-state where you are the hero, and not just a spear carrier.