If stress, mental health, and well-being were not already major health issues in the world prior to the pandemic, they certainly are now.
The uncertainty that has developed in all our lives has created a huge spike in anxiety and anguish all around the world. Not knowing what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month and even next year has had a major impact personally, socially, and financially.
One of the drivers of our emotional needs is certainty, through which, we control our environment and life for ourselves and our family. Certainty reduces stress and increases the ability to focus on being calm and reclaim our awareness.
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Being aware of the present with no other thought except in the moment allows the mind to relax, eliminate anxiety and increase well-being. This is of course the challenge of today for us all with the constant pressures and demand for our attention and our time.
Numerous studies have been conducted especially over the last decade about the benefits that Mindfulness, and of course Meditation, provide in improving and enriching our lives.
The constant question that our experts have been asked in teaching, coaching, and consulting over the last 30 years is how to do it. Most people know what they are supposed to do and struggle in achieving results they are after. This is where martial arts provides the experiential learnings on how to develop and use what we call Martial Mindfulness for today.
We all suffer from having the constant noise in our minds, that stops us from being able to stay on track, focus and be calm. This for many people causes sleeping issues, hypertension, cognitive challenges, and dis-ease.
An important element in mindfulness and meditation is developing the skill of having ‘no thoughts or no mind’. Taking away the mind chatter and replacing it with peaceful silence, switches the Central Nervous System response from Sympathetic (fight, flight, or freeze) to a Parasympathetic (rest, relax, recharge) nervous response.
Martial artists train to respond to attacks without over thinking the situation, to not freeze when confronted with a potential threat. This is often referred to as the Mushin or No Mind Method, which allows the body to respond naturally and without conscious thought.
Our aim as a modern Samurai warrior is to use this knowledge and practice to achieve balance, health, and well-being in our lives. Having the discipline to be able to focus, concentrate and take the necessary action to achieve our wants, goals and desires.
To be able to understand how to properly use Mushin, we first need to look at what exactly it is. Read more about the history and modern practice of mushin here.
And to try it out yourself, see our step-by-step guide to”No Mind” meditation here.