samurai mind

Masculinemindset.com has focused a lot on the topic of mindset. 

More specifically I discussed the ideas of the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

For those of you who dont know what those ideas are a Fixed mindset is people who believe they are born in a certain way and they can't change or improve.

And the growth mindset is a dynamic mindset where people believe that they have great potential for improvement and getting better in all areas of life.

Japanese 5 elements

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour

water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a

bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot,

it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash.

Become like water my friend.”

-Bruce Lee

A lot of people who embrace the growth mindset make the mistake of improving themselves but staying one dimensional in the way in which they approach life.

But in order to get the most out of life, we need to develop ourselves in a more holistic way. 

Sometimes we need to look at more esoteric ideas to understand life better and to make ourselves better.

“There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which

a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the

eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to

approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting

or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study

of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other.

Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as

Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any

“Way.”… A person should study as they see fit.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

Enter the Japanese philosophy of 5 elements. 

The Japanese Philosophy of Five Elements.

“The important thing is to polish wisdom and the mind in great

detail. If you sharpen wisdom, you will understand what is just

and unjust in society and also the good and the evil of this world;

then you will come to know all kinds of arts and you will tread

different ways. In this manner, no one in this world will succeed

in deceiving you. It is after this stage that you will arrive at the

wisdom of strategy. The wisdom of strategy is entirely distinct.

Even right in the middle of a battle where everything is in rapid

movement, it is necessary to attain the most profound principle

of strategy, which assures you an immovable mind. You must

examine this well.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Complete Book of Five Rings

I first learned about the 5 elements when I read “The Book Of 5 Rings” by the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi. 

This philosophy of five elements originated from Zen Buddhism and adopted by many others like the Samurai because of the ancient wisdom found in these principles.

The philosophy of 5 elements says that everything in the universe is perceived to be a manifestation of these five great elemental “building blocks”.

samurai mind

Nothing that exists in the universe is seen as solely one element or another, but rather a complex combination of degrees of all five.

Musashi describes the art of war in five books/volumes, systematically arranged under titles corresponding to the elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void.

Mushasi's book can be seen as a warrior's strategy to life.

By adopting the 5 elements of Japanese philosophy(Godai)in our own lives we can get a greater spiritual understanding about who we are and where our strengths and weaknesses are. 

Ancient Ninja and Samurai warriors used to study the relationships of these elements in nature and learned how to become more balanced human beings, more conscious of their personal power and responsibilities in the stream of life. 

To these ancient warriors, these elements also represent human life.

But let's take a closer look at the 5 elements:

チChi -Earth

“Being like a rock wall” is when a master of martial arts suddenly

becomes like a rock wall, inaccessible to anything at all,

immovable.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

The earth element is associated with solidity and stability.

The earth element is associated with resisting change and being solid and unmovable.

Stability gives substance to life.

Earth is symbolized in art by mountains or rocks. 

Musashi describes Earth as the general way of the warrior. 

Or a general warrior way to approach life.

The Book of Earth describes the general framework of bushidō,

monk

水 Sui Water 

All man are the same except for their belief in their own selves,

regardless of what others may think of them”

― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

Under water's influence, we are conscious of our own emotions and the fluid parts of the body. 

Water is characterized by reactions to physical changes and adaptability to our surroundings. 

The water part of our personalities reacts to our environment.

Musashi describes water as the warrior’s spirit, his attitude, and his expression as a foundation.

 The Book of Water explains the theory of the swordsmanship at the book’s core.

mental toughness

火 Ka Fire

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to

get better , stronger ,richer, quicker , or smarter. Quicker , or

smarter . Everything is within . Everything exists . Seek nothing

outside of yourself .”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

Fire is an aggressive element. 

Fire is experienced when we take direct control over our environment and get things done. 

Its also experienced when we experience emotions like warmth and enjoyment. 

Fire is also associate with using our logical and argumentative abilities.

Musashi describes the fire element as the theory of war. 

The Book of Fire discusses the theory of war.

mind

風 Fu Air/Wind

“It may seem difficult at first, but all things are difficult at first.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

The wind element is our ability to use our intellect, magnanimity, and feelings of wisdom and love.

On our planet, humans have the greatest ability of contemplation, understanding, and love. 

Mushasi encourages his readers to always pursue universal principles. Do what works.

Do what is right. 

The Book of Wind criticizes the error of other teachings and confirms the correct way.

void ninja

空 Ku Void

“In the void is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom exists, principle exists,

the way exists. Spirit is Void.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

“What I call the void is where nothing exists. It is about things

outside man's knowledge. Of course the void does not exist. By

knowing what exist, you can know that which does not exist.

That is the void.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

If you see the other 4 elements as an orchestra then the void can be seen as the master conductor.

The void can be experienced when you are at your best in some aspect of life.

The void emptiness brings about creative abilities, and the capability to direct any of the four lower elements. 

In the Book of Void Mushasi describes the way of discipline and the ideal way for the warrior to live.

grit

Why The 5 Elements is Valuable Philosophy To Use.

The 5 elements philosophy is a way of life.

Its a philosophy for those with a warrior spirit. 

It is a way for those seeking to discover universal truth.

Think of the 5 elements and think about your life as a whole. 

What elements are do you think are your strengths?

And what elements are weaknesses?

Becoming a more rounded individual will improve all areas of life.

For example, my nature is to resist change (earth) when something is working well. 

So I have to remind myself that I need to adapt(water) more as situations change.

Using the 5 elements to water as a filter to evaluate our lives and our existence is a wise way to work on weaknesses and identify strengths we didn't know existed. 

Conclusion

I also recommend you read Mushasi's book even if you are not a martial artist. 

It's a great book on strategy and loaded with universal wisdom.

So find knowledge in the elements that makes life on this planet possible.

Until next time.

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