The Mushin Way

Do you use your cell phone as an alarm clock?  I used to.  Here was my morning routine for years — see if this sounds familiar:  My iPhone alarm goes off, I reach over to turn it off, and immediately start looking at emails, text messages, social media posts, and a million other alerts that have popped up overnight.  My heart rate increases, my stress levels spike, and I start worrying about all the things I have to do.  I quickly jump in the shower and eat breakfast (sometimes) and rush to get in front of my laptop.  Then it is off to the races — a hamster on that “laptop wheel” — spinning, running, working.  Going nowhere.  Getting nothing accomplished.  Panic sets in…

We live in a hyper-connected, 24/7/365 information-overloaded distracted world.  Can you believe that a recent study shows that we look at our smartphones, on average, 110 times per day?  Some users look at their phone a whopping 900 times per day.  60% of adult professionals with a smartphone are connected to work 13.5 hours per day — texting, emailing, talking, exchanging voice mail, using other specialized work apps.  That is a 72-hour work week.  At least.  This leads to very little presence.  Very little joy.  No time off.

So how do we unplug from this addiction to distraction?  How do we gain the clarity and calm awareness we need to make the right decision at the right time, all the time?  This is the practice of Mushin — the Mushin Way.  Mushin is a Japanese word that means “no mind”.  It is a concept that evolved hundreds of years ago on the feudal Japanese battlefields.  You see, when the samurai warriors entered into combat with razor sharp swords, life and death was decided in milliseconds.  These warriors couldn’t afford to be distracted — their life depended on it.   The Mushin Way is a practice of chiseling away at the fear and ego that lead to distraction.  It is a practice that allows you to filter out the noise, distractions, guilt and obligation in everyday work and life.  It is a state where, like still water, your mind reflects a clear, objective picture of your surroundings.  Time slows down.  Becomes abundant even.  You clearly see that, no matter what the situation, you always have a choice.  And from this state of calm awareness, choosing the right decision at the right time allllll the time, becomes very easy.

Now I hope none of you are entering into combat with razor sharp samurai swords.  However, I bet you do mortal combat with your email inbox everyday.  I know you are fending off multiple attacks from text messages, voice mails, and redundant meetings.  You are pressured to save more for retirement, pay down your accumulating debt, spend more time with your family.  What a great opportunity to practice the Mushin Way — to embrace “no mind” and gain clarity in your life.  Who wouldn’t want that?

So I no longer use my iPhone as an alarm in the morning — I have a 10-month old baby that usually does that now.  I practice the Mushin Way from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep.  I have more presence, joy, and time off then I ever could have imagined.  I can’t wait to tell you exactly how I do it.  So what is holding you back preventing you from the clarity you need?