When we concentrate and meditate, outwardly we are statues of the Buddha: all calm, poise and serenity.

Yet inwardly we must be samurai warriors: all focus, vigilance and intensity.

Here is an exercise for next time you sit to concentrate and meditate…

Imagine you are a samurai. Your duty is to protect your master, your daimyo as he sleeps through the night. You are the solitary guard of the castle, your post its only entrance.

A thousand ninja warriors are eager to capture or kill your master. They are poised to attack, likely to appear from any angle and in any guise.

You are expert in all the martial arts and weaponry. The ninjas know and respect this, and they will not attack as long as they see you are fully alert and on guard. So they wait. But the moment you let your guard down, the moment you are distracted, lose focus or nod off, they will pounce from any and all directions… your master’s fate sealed, you would either be killed directly or live a life of shame.

Your master is your silence-heart of meditation, which you must guard and protect with all your being, capacity and will.

The thousand ninjas are all the thoughts, ideas, plans, desires, regrets, grievances, distractions, disturbances, temptations and impulses that lie in wait to attack, disrupt, capture or destroy your heart’s peace, poise and bliss.

These ninjas work together to distract or disturb you by flattery, trickery or treachery. Yet as long as your focus is absolute, you are invincible, you are more powerful than the entire ninja army.

Never fear, doubt or waver. You are only for your daimyo’s safety and protection – nothing else matters.

When the light of dawn breaks, all the ninjas fade and evaporate.

You are victorious.