I think I’ve mentioned in the past my interest in pursuing a state that I call “flow.” (I’m also interested in pursuing Flo, the Progressive Insurance girl, through as many states as necessary.) To my thinking, in this flow state you’re operating almost unconsciously. You’re doing things, performing actions etc. but you’re doing it without thinking about it; there is no mental effort. You’re not running down a mental to-do list in your head; in fact, your mind may be 1,000,000 miles away.
This kind of state is, of course, more and more difficult in the modern age with its litany of beeping, screeching distractions. But I think that with practice, one can achieve a certain flow.
As I think I’ve also mentioned, we need look no further than the ninja to understand flow. When the ninja is about to do what he does best — kill people — he doesn’t think, “oh boy, so now I’m gonna kill someone. I guess I’ll use my ninja sword… well, wait, maybe some ninja throwing stars… no, that’s not right… maybe some nunchucks? Oh, I don’t know!” No, he simply calmly and methodically kills someone, without really thinking about it. Some guy walks up to him and says, “say, Mr. Ninja, would you mind signing this…” and whammo! That guy’s head is cleanly sliced off his shoulders.
It sounds like a very peaceful way of existing.