The power to succeed, fail, grow and change is within you. We all have it within us. Extraordinary acts are accomplished every day by ordinary people just like you and me. What sets apart the ordinary from the extraordinary? Is our DNA code different? Are we genetically determined to be above average? What factors determine who will be the next great inventor, physician, artist, or philosopher? Will we ever see another Nikola Tesla, Jonas Salk, George Washington Carver, or Socrates in our lifetime?
What is it that drives us to succeed? Friends, we may not have the mind of Albert Einstein, the creative genius of Leonardo DaVinci, or the focus and physical prowess of Miyamoto Musashi; however, we have the greatest force in our world that drives us to persevere, failure after failure, until we achieve our goals. Nothing is greater than the absolute power of the mind. Within our mind lies the power of in/yo (yin/yang) or positive and negative. Our minds can allow us to achieve things that are seemingly impossible by driving us to continue, even as our bodies are ready to give up.
Conversely, our minds can deal a crushing blow to our aspirations of success by allowing doubt and fear to set in. Our minds can become a breeding ground for the poison of negativity. Our minds become weak and allow us to create excuses to quit instead creating reasons to persevere, fight harder, and achieve.
How then do we control what direction our mind will lead us? The answer is simple, the act is not. We control what we allow into our minds. Refrain from negativity; do not allow it into your ears or your mind, and especially, do not allow negativity to come out of your mouth. We are mere humans, yet we continually shock and amaze ourselves as a species when we constantly crash through our walls of impossibilities. Do something great for yourself today: set your goal and achieve it. You can do it, for within you lies the absolute power of your mind.
Shoshin: Beginner’s Mind
Zanshin: Remaining Mind
Mushin: Empty Mind
Mushin. Mu is void, not in the sense of being empty of all thought, but in the sense of being void of conscious distraction. Mushin embodies the very essence of the warrior. Mushin enables us to overcome fear, doubt, uncertainty, and distraction in order to focus fully on the task at hand. Mushin isn’t living in the moment. Mushin is becoming the moment.
Mushin—the empty mind, or clear mind—is a mental and emotional state in which we can see clearly. A mind void of the clutter of our busy lives and void of the distractions around us. Mushin is not empty, as in void of all thought; on the contrary, this state of mind allows us to see clearly everything around us, allowing us to focus one hundred percent of our effort with no distractions.
Think of your mind as a pool of water. When the water is still, it clearly reflects everything around it: the blue sky above, rustling tree branches, swaying grass, and gently falling leaves. Drop the smallest pebble in the water and it ripples—small at first and increasingly larger until the entire pool of water is rippled. Everything becomes distorted and blends in the reflection of the water. The trees, the sky, the grass, and the leaf; everything from the wide open to the smallest detail has distorted into a rippling mass of confusion and chaos.
We have control of our minds and what goes in and stays in. Let your pond remain clear and still. This is mushin, and it will effectively enhance your personal growth in the dojo and in life.
If you enjoyed that insightful piece, you must read Garry Parker’s critically-acclaimed book, Chanpuru.
“Anyone who is looking for more in a martial art than just kicking and punching, should read Chanpuru and will enjoy it as much as I did.” —Jaredd Wilson, Martial Thoughts
“I enjoyed this book very much. The importance of respect, friendship and gratitude in cultivating long lasting relationships… is a message that comes through strongly in Garry Parker’s stories.” —DOJO Bar, Okinawa
“Chanpuru… is a wonderful recounting of a young man’s journey through traditional Okinawan Karate-do… A perfect book.” —Jake Burroughs, The Ground Never Misses
“Fascinating and important lessons from a man who lived and trained in a place most people only every dream about.” —Joe Swift, Tokyo Mushinkan Dojo (Japan)
“As a glimpse into the cultures, training, methods, and daily life from the perspective of an American student in Okinawa it’s a great opportunity to see how all the parts actually connect.” —Wade Chroninger, Meibukan Okinawa Dojo (Okinawa)
“Parker is kind enough to give those of us who have only dreamed of actually living in Okinawa and dedicating ourselves to our training, a chance to live it through his eyes, his sweat, and his relationships.” —Russ Smith, Burinkan Dojo