Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Benefits of Invisibility

People find out that I teach ninjutsu and they often ask, "Can you show me how to be invisible?" The answer, of course, is yes! The person will then likely delve into a host of questions about camo paint, outfits, sneaky movement, and scent control. The hardest part to teach, however, is the most important aspect - stillness. Eustace once found me hiding in the woods between base camp and the parking lot. Later he remarked, "Not moving is the most important part of staying hidden." I have thought on this at length and have come to observe this to be true in the natural world. Jon Young talks about the mythical Buck whose antlers are covered with green moss and growth from his weeks of still living during the late season. The rattlesnake can become little more than a rock as he seeks his prey, hours at a time if necessary. A person can sit next to a trail and watch people pass all day, unaware, without even wearing green and brown - if they are still. Stilling the body, however, is only a first step. Stilling the mind is a bit more challenging. But the neat trick is that if we make our body still, the mind soon follows, and a still mind becomes quite invisible in the forest. As you apply this on your own strange things begin to happen. Birds will land nearby, squirrels and critters will run across your feet. Little birds will chirp just over your shoulder and the forest seems to come alive around you! A great happiness fills your heart and a love for the Earth seems to permeate your being. In the world of today when we are overloaded with cell phone calls, texts, Facebook, TV, quick food, and a thousand things to be done in a day, being 'invisible' might be just what the doctor ordered. Many diseases known and unknown are caused by stress; praciticing invisibility is an interactive meditation with the natural world. When we get to the point where the body has calmed, and the mind is still, then perhaps, something really neat happens in our spirit. So you see it becomes so much more than a person dressed in green, covered in paint, carrying a blowgun! It becomes a person who is serene, in love with their world, happy for the gift of life, alert to the miracles all around them, and thankful to the Creator for this wonderful Earth. Maybe that's why real ninjas are always smiling!