When I was a teenager I bought Ashida Kim’s book, “Secrets of the Ninja,” and devoured it.
Actually, I skimmed or skipped over the sketchy parts—stuff about Eastern meditation and how to kill people with one blow. But the sections on “ninja invisibility” were amazing, in part because they’re based on good science.
The human eye, he explains, recognizes motion first, shape second, and colour third.
In that order. So if you move without being noticed, if your shape doesn’t stand out, and your colour doesn’t draw attention, you’re invisible. As in, you will go unnoticed.
Ancient ninjas learned to move painfully slowly, training themselves to shift their weight across awkward angles and gyrations in such a way that they appeared virtually motionless.
They wore baggy clothing (not the “snake-eyes” spandex jumpsuits G.I. Joe has become famous for). Why? So they could pull it into the shape of the shadows they were hiding in. Shapes that didn’t register as human.
Third, they wore black and moved at night, so no one would notice a difference in colour.
No one saw them move. No one recognized their silhouette. No one saw their colour. They were invisible.
Once, as a teen, I was playing hide and seek with some friends after dark in my old neighbourhood. Seeing that they were conducting a sweep of the side of the street I was hidden on, I decided to make a break for the other side. The problem was, I had to pass under the revealing glow of a nearby street light. Seeing them turn their backs, I made a break for it.
The moment I hit the street, fully illuminated by the light overhead, they started to turn around. Dressed in black, I stood out like a… a… wannabe ninja stuck under a street lamp. But there was a giant puddle beneath my feet. I dropped to the ground and lay flush with the puddle. Their eyes scanned across the street, and missed me. Really. But how?
Because I was invisible.
Invisible, because I wasn’t moving. Because my body shape meshed with the puddle. And because my black clothing matched the blackish hue of the water after dark. Invisible!
Now, you may be wondering what the spiritual take-away is going to be for this little lesson.
There isn’t one. Yet.
See, I’d like you guys to come up with that. Use this info and my story to come up with a life analogy.