Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Power of Music


We all enjoy it to some extent, do we not? There are so many different kinds, and so many different tastes.  Some like only one or two genres, others enjoy a wide variety.  Some believe certain styles to be sinful, others believe anything is fine.

One thing is certain: Music is powerful.

It can make us cry, or at least make us sad.  It can make us happy, but more than than, different sorts of happy or sad.  You have noticed there is more than one kind of happy or sad, I presume.
There is hyper, calm, content, bittersweet, determined, restless, depressed, despairing... The list goes on, and music assists in all of these.  Listen to a bouncy, uplifting songs, and chances are, your state of mind will change to match it.  I can think of no better example of this sort of song than Caramelldansen--Which doesn't have particularly intelligent lyrics, but reminds one of an insane hound dog hyped up on coffee.

At the moment I am listening to "Phos Hilaron"  by the David Crowder Band.  One of my favorite bands, and this song has a mysterious, empowering feel about it that I love.  We could all use some more empowerment I believe.

Another song I admire is "You Won't Relent"  by Misty Edwards.  I can't say I love much of her stuff, but this song gave me shivers the first time I heard it.  It also has a mysterious sound to it, and a feeling of almost melancholy.  And, determination.
These two songs I will listen to over and over, because I love the feeling I get from them, and I love the sound.  And, though I love the lyrics also, they are not what caught my attention at first for these songs.

I hope you relate to this sensitivity to music, or else you won't get the point of this post...

If music is this powerful, should we not be careful what we listen to?
If you like a song, what do you do?  Listen to it over and over.  If you listen to a song over and over, what does it do?  It effects you, whether you know or admit it, or not.  You're hearing the same words every time you listen to the song, your mind is becoming used to them.  If you listen to songs with cussing, or negative elements such as suicide or murder or drunkenness, yet claim it makes no difference, explain to me how you can be uneffected by it.  If anything, it is desensitizing you to, in many cases, serious issues.
Not only are lyrics to worry about, but the mood of a song.  If you listen to depressing songs all the time, what do you expect to be but depressed?  If you listen to angry songs all the time, what do you expect to be but angry?

Now, don't go thinking I'm telling everyone that you should never listen to songs that have a minor key to them, or are loud and full of attitude.  That is not what I'm saying.  What I am saying is this, that songs of those sort should be listened to in moderation.  As for songs with language or negative elements, they could all disappear off the face of the planet without me caring a blade of grass.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's This About?

Now, if you've been following this blog, you may be wondering why I'm posting a new "About" post.  The simple reason is this:
Over this period I have already been active, I have done more research and study on this matter, and feel the need to update some things.  So instead of just making the changes in the former posts, which I don't think I would have been able to do anyways, I am making this new post.  Hopefully it will not be too repetitive or boring to those who read my previous "Principles" and "About" posts.
But, it is very likely you have not seen those posts already.  I don't know if I even have anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis.  So I am not worrying over this new post.

First off, I am not posting a "Code" at this point.  I believe my own personal code will take time to properly develop.
But, I can give you, the reader of this blog, an idea of where I am going with this.
You may have already guessed, by the title of this blog, that I am striving to be a ninja, or shinobi as I prefer to call myself, of the modern day.  Not one of the rogues, who pillaged, plundered, and did things for selfish causes, but one of the true shinobi, who were prepared to protect themselves and others, and did not call attention to themselves publicly.
Now, the fact that shinobi did not call attention to themselves has given me some pause in how I would go about putting shinobi principles to work in a modern culture.  I looked at those attempting to be modern day knights and modern day samurai, and just couldn't figure out how I could pull it off.  But then, I realized I was going about it the wrong way.
For knight and samurai, they have some inward things, but a lot of the things that set them apart are outward.  Knights are chivalrous, which is partly an inside thing, but people will notice if you are chivalrous.  For samurai, they follow the Bushido, which again is partly inside, but people will notice.  For shinobi, what sets them apart is not being noticed.  They are proficient in the martial arts and in weaponry, but people won't notice that unless you get into a fight.  For many of them, being spiritual is important, which people won't notice unless you strut around being "spiritual", which shinobi didn't do.  There are other points to them also- Shrewdness, preparedness, watchfulness... All of which would only be noticed by the most observant, or if the shinobi was being overdramatic and noticeable.  Being a shinobi is about a lifestyle, and inward changes.

So this is what this blog is about.  Changes, spiritually,mentally, and physically, for a lifestyle that will be beneficial both for myself and for others.
Eventually I may post a list of principles that I follow, but for now, I will simply use this as a log of my findings, struggles, and otherwise.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Word on History

Well, thus far I have spoken of what the shinobi are and are not, but I have gone little into our history.

It is hard to pin down a particular place and time of where and when we emerged, but we know it was in Japan, during a time of oppression.
The way of the shinobi was created for the shinobi to protect themselves.  Using sickles, staffs, and other common items that would not be incriminating as weapons, and of course, lots of training in martial arts, strategy, concealment, and fortification.  The shinobi were flexible, using whatever they could.  They did not, as commonly believed, go around in black outfits with only their eyes showing.  During daylight hours, they dressed to blend in.  During night hours, their outfits were dark blue rather than black.

They fought for peace, when they were oppressed, rather than for money and fame.  At times they would go on missions, when it was necessary and beneficial to their community as a whole, but they didn't operate for self gain.
There were three main influences in the ninjutsu.
Shinto - Which focused around the way of the kami.  Kami means god or deity, but they believed more in a sort of force rather than a being.  Of course, I do not hold those beliefs, instead I substitute my own spiritual beliefs.  I did say these were "influences" only, remember?

Mikkyo - Which focused on enhancing personal power with secret words and symbols to focus energy and intents on the goal.  This I do not incorporate into my shinobi beliefs, but I wish to show the shinobi roots here, and so that is what I am doing.
Shugenja - Focused on self discovery by exposing themselves to harsh weather and circumstances to alleviate fear and become closer to nature.  Self discovery is a good thing, though I do not agree fully with this method.  Exposing ones self to some fears to become less fearful of them can be a good thing, however.  If one is afraid of the dark, they can expose themselves to it in small areas at first, gradually growing as they learn the dark is not something to fear.  Getting over fears is beneficial to both ones mental and physical health.

When you look at these three influences, you can see where ninjutsu got some of its traits:
- Close to nature, being able to adapt to it easily and respecting it.  By respecting it I am not saying it should be worshiped, but it should be treated well.  I am not a "tree hugger", but I do not believe in the necessity of destroying fields of perfectly good grass or beautifully made forests simply to add a new fast food restaurant, shop, gas station, or subdivision when there is one just down the road.  When it is necessary, it is necessary, when it isn't, it should not be done.

- Very spiritual.  In different ways than I am, but it is still there.  I am close to the true God, and I incorporate that into my lifestyle.  It is important to have something true to believe in.

The Japanese word for ninja, translated "nin" or "shinobi", has meanings that include "perseverance" and "endurance".  They don't give up when it gets hard, thus, ninjutsu does not happen within a short period of time.  It happens over years, through the course of a lifetime.

There you are.  A brief history lesson on the shinobi.
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi