The term “Mind Like Water” was used in the teachings of the ancient karate masters. It refers to the ideal state of mind whilst practicing karate. If your mind is relaxed and calm like a still lake, you will be able to react appropriately to whatever comes your way. If however your mind is more like the raging rapids of the river you are not in the right state to react in the way that you should.
David Allen in his book “Getting Things Done” reminds us that in order to work in our most productive state we should try for a mind like water. A calm mind that is not overloaded with tasks and plans and responsibilities will be a more productive mind, able to react and respond to inputs in the appropriate way.
The Raging Rapids & The Monkey Mind
The reality is that few of us possess this calm lake. We race around with the turbulent water close to overflow. Often missing or forgetting to do things we have to do or overreacting to minor incident when a minor reaction was required.
I possess one of these minds, the ones they liken to the active monkey in the tree. One whose circuits are overworked. I think too much, I forget too many things. I want to do everything and I want to do it now. This is why I never achieved much in my younger years, the ideas were there, the dreams were big but I allowed myself to jump from plan to plan, from idea to opportunity never allowing my mind nor myself to sit long enough to follow it through.
That was of course until I found productivity. Some find religion, I found productivity. The day I did was the day my life started over. I saw the truth and understood that I was never going to become successful until I calmed those raging rapids.
And this is what I learnt to do
Once a week I download it all from my mind. The thoughts, the dreams, the ideas, the plans, the tasks and the stresses. By doing this it calms my mind. Putting it on paper captures everything that I need or want to do. I then organise it into my calendar or into Evernote. Nothing will be forgotten about and it will all get done. I do this exercise whenever I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed or if I wake in the middle of the night. It gives me the opportunity to get whatever is bothering me off my mind so that I can sleep peacefully.
I use meditation to disconnect and calm my mind. Over the years I have learnt to relax my mind and allow my thoughts to come and go like the tides. I sit and breathe, I sometimes focus on a mantra and sometimes just on my breathing. It teaches me to let go, to accept and to breathe. I also find the more I meditate, the more creative I become.
Exercise is the answer to everything. Better health, better moods, better relationships, greater focus, more success and happiness. Every time I feel stressed, overwhelmed, angry or unhappy I can link it to lack of exercise. When I argue with my husband or shout at my kids I know it is time to get out and get active. Exercise makes me a happier and calmer person.
These three simple steps have made a radical change to my life, becoming aware of when and how I get stressed and having a way to deal with it avoids the raging rapids taking control. We have to constantly aim towards the mind like water to achieve happy calm control.
Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any tactics to maintain a calm mind?
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