Our over-intellectualized modern culture has tended to forget connections between mind and body. We are nevertheless more likely to believe what we feel as a physical experience than what we think. And when we are in danger, or under pressure, or anxious, we often experience what Daniel Goleman calls an “amygdala hi-jack” where suddenly our emotions tend to crowd out rational thought.
That’s why fighter pilots, for example, have such intensive training – so that the right thing to do becomes instinctive when the body is suffused with fear. As one instructor puts it: “when you climb inside the cockpit your IQ rolls back to that of an ape.” But we can learn to maintain our equilibrium, even when under threat. The way of the warrior, or the martial artist, throughout the ages has been both a physical and a spiritual discipline: developed over time in order to maintain full capacity, in the moment, whatever the circumstances. Many persons of tomorrow turn out to pursue some kind of mindfulness practice or discipline, and keep themselves in good physical shape. They are aware of their bodies. They are in control of their emotions – able to vary their range at will, and to maintain an even temper. They typically display grace under pressure, a quality that brings out the best in others.
– Dancing at the Edge: Competence, Culture and Organization in the 21st Century