Keeping Safe by Mireille Clark
Lately, I've been focusing my Martial Arts contemplation on these precepts. I have just returned from a 2 week Road Trip to Florida, and through this experience I gained insight on the 7th Precept " Accidents arise from negligence."
I had always assumed this to refer to negligence of attention, and focus. We have seen how distractions, and inattention can cause problems. In fact, I'd wager that most car accidents are caused by this fact.
I'd like to add a different slant on this concept. Deep within us is a quiet small voice that recognizes danger. It's like a sixth sense that whispers to us that something isn't right in the environment. We can't really place what is wrong, but that inner voice insists that we need to be on alert. I believe that we have to pay close attention to that part of us, and listen carefully.
I felt that sort of inner voice moment happening to me. My husband, and I were enjoying a walk around a tourist attraction in Florida, and all was smiles, and joy until deep within me I felt a sense of "danger". I couldn't tell you what was causing this alert. Nothing had seemed to change around me, but I could feel that same inner feeling as if I was being targeted by an opponent during sparring. I decided to listen to that quiet voice. I pulled on my husband's hand saying "I don't feel safe here.. let's go over there." The rest of the day went smoothly, and I set aside this strange moment. The next day, in the news, there was coverage of a tourist being stabbed 4 times in a parking lot by a drug addict. I had to ask myself if my sudden dangerous feeling, and quick change in direction had helped me avoid a similar fate? I can't prove that it had done so, but I can't prove that it didn't.
I found an article on the internet that speaks of Brain studies that have pointed to a "sixth sense" that helps us to avoid danger:
"Following the Asian tsunami, scientists struggled to explain reports that primitive aboriginal tribesmen had somehow sensed the impending danger in time to join wild animals in a life-saving flight to higher ground. A new theory suggests that the anterior cingulate cortex, described by some scientists as part of the brain’s “oops” center, may actually function as an early warning system — one that works at a subconscious level to help us recognize and avoid high-risk situations.
While some scientists discount the existence of a sixth sense for danger, new research from Washington University in St. Louis has identified a brain region that clearly acts as an early warning system — one that monitors environmental cues, weighs possible consequences and helps us adjust our behavior to avoid dangerous situations."
You can read more from this article here: http://scienceblog.com/cms/node/7036
According to this article, the more that you put your brain into moments where you activate this sixth sense, the better you can learn to recognize the signals that it gives. I would suggest that this would mean that experiencing sparring/kumite moments would be essential to developing a sensitivity to that part of your mind that recognizes dangerous cues. I believe that this sensitivity would help you avoid dangerous situations in the future.
-- Mireille Clark