Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mushin-What is it?

Last week I went for a Bowling session with some friends. After a couple of chances, I was scoring well and was racing ahead. While I was getting ready for the next game one of my friends was in awe, and mentioned that I was the only best performer amongst all who were playing and he also said he was sure I am going to win. With a big smile on my face, I rolled the ball. But to everyone’s surprise the ball rolled into the next lane. The next two chances hardly fetched me any points while others did well. I finished second. I lost a game I was winning.

Yesterday, in one of my Karate sessions, Sensei Jayesh was talking about Mushin which in Japanese literally means ‘No Mind’. Joe Hyams the celebrated Writer and a student of the immortal Bruce Lee also mentions about it in his book - Zen in the Martial Arts. Sensei said there are certain things that we do in our daily life without thinking much about it, for example when a fly sits on the nose, the hand automatically moves in that direction. The actions that we perform unknowingly are handled by the sub-conscious mind. After the session, I asked him about the experience I had at bowling. He smiled and said that while I was performing well at bowling, Mushin was working well for me. After the compliments I received from my friends, negative thoughts crept in my mind and I failed. According to him, you should allow your mind to flow freely. Practice is the key to make Mushin work for you.

Joe Hyams says keep your training vigorous which would make you act self-consciously rather than intellectually. Then it is automatic-it is Mushin. Well, this can be summarized by the ancient Zen saying “When you seek it, you cannot find it”.

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