Q is for Quiet mind, Quiet body
During the black belt test (see T) there are several times when it feels as though one's body can't possibly go on. Your heart is beating out of your chest, your muscles ache, the sheen of sweat cocoons your body in a seemingly impenetrable casing of heat. During these times your mind will tell you all sorts of things in order to make you quit. Things like "you're going to pass out" or "that leg's gonna give out any second" or "you can't do this".
This is where one's meditation practice comes into play.
The breathe comes in, the breath comes out. Again and again and again. You concentrate on lowering your heart rate, trying to make it match the calming breath. You visualize a blue light spreading throughout your entire body, cooling your skin as it goes, soothing your tired muscles, healing you. You forget all about where you're at, what impossible things you have to do and you focus on your body- calm, rested and ready.
And then, inevitably, the short break you were given ends and you have to get up and move on to the next physically taxing exercise. But you do so with a slow, steady heart beat, relaxed muscles and a lower core body temperature. This is what enables you to finish the test, no matter how tired or achy or spent you were- you go on, and you win.
We never know how many meditation breaks we're going to get during the test, or how long they will last. But it doesn't matter- all that matters is that internal process. Not letting your thoughts run away from you, concentrating on the breathe and on calming the body. Quieting yourself.
Which is why a big part of my training for my test coming up in June is mental. If I believe I will rock the test, then I will rock the test. If I can slow down my heart rate after a heavy workout just by breathing, then i'll be able to do that again when the time comes. Quiet mind, quiet body. It's that simple.