The Zen of No Mind (or How to Live Happily in the Present)

The Zen of No Mind (or How to Live Happily in the Present)

I once blew an all expense paid for overseas vacation. Because while physically on vacation, I was worried about my work and a thousand other things. My mind was jammed. Back then, I knew nothing about the Zen of No Mind.

 

Do you live in the present or ruminate about what’s past?  

 

How often are you in a state of stillness and calm?

 

Or are you often in a state of worrying about the future?

 

 

The Zen of No Mind

Are often overwhelmed by errant thoughts? You will find that instead of undertaking thoughts in awareness you let those errant thoughts control you. Do you think about that dream vacation while at work? And when you finally on your dream vacation, you begin to fret about the documents piling up in your “IN” tray.  

 

You may find yourself stuck too deep in the rat race to have time to audit your thoughts. Most of the time, it is your wandering minds that distract you, create worries and put you into numerous sticky situations. All these incessant chatter inside your mind are known as monkey chatter.  

 

An effective way for you to get rid of all the monkey chatter from your mind is the practice of Mushin no shin [無心の心]. Zen Practitioners call it “mind without mind”. I call it The Zen of No Mind.  

 

 

The State of No Mind

You can make the choice of not being stuck and overwhelmed and you can increase your effectiveness in your daily life by practicing the Zen of No Mind. It is also the key to personal growth, health and your ability to relate well with others and your environment.  

 

When you are in the state of no mind, you are not fixated on one thought or emotion. You are in a state of mind where you “think without thinking”. The practice of no mind means developing flow, keeping the mind serene, blocking out distractions.

 

You can compare your state of no mind to a pond which merely reflects its environment and the trees around it. When your mind is presented with a distraction, it is similar to the distortion of the pond’s reflections by waves and ripples.

 

When your mind is free from conscious thought, judgments, ideas, negative emotions (anger and fear or ego) and concerns of past or the future, that is the moment where you attain the state of no mind. In this instance, your mind exists purely in the moment. And you experience a state of mental clarity, awareness and enhanced perception.

 

 

So, How Do You Achieve the State of No Mind?

Martial artists are the most fervent practitioners of Mushin no shin. Martial artists practice moves until it can be performed without thinking. This is the state of no mind.

 

Your thinking inhibits action. When you concentrate on the here and the now, concentrate with an empty mind rather than thinking about here and now. Do not let the words “no mind” confuse you. It does not mean empty mind like an empty shell. It means letting go of your fears, worries and distractions. Let your mind be fully present, aware and free.

 

A good way of practicing no mind is being in a relaxed meditative state while doing mundane daily activities like washing dishes, mowing the lawn or doing the laundry. Physical and mental tasks will seem like a breeze. Your mind becomes intuitive and react naturally to whatever comes along instead of thinking of what is happening next.

 

Takuan Sōhō, a priest in feudal Japan who applied Zen principles to swordsmanship wrote:

 

Takuan Soho

 

In my practice of no mind, I always keep in my mind what my sensei had taught me about sparring with an opponent during Kendo practices: go into combat with the mindset that you are already dead.

 

Within the Way of the Warrior tradition of ancient Japanese is the mindset that a samurai warrior must always be prepared to die. This is a samurai’s best chance of attaining Mushin no shin, for his life depends on it.

 

Embrace the Zen of No Mind and live happily ever after. In the present moment . . .

Lessons from the Myth of Sisyphus

Lessons from the Myth of Sisyphus

As Greek mythology have it, King Sisyphus of Ephyra (the modern day Corinth) was cursed to perform the menial task of rolling a huge rock up a steep hill that will only ALMOST reach the top only to roll downhill so that Sisyphus have to push it uphill again for all of eternity.

 

Well, it all started when Death came to claim Sisyphus at the end of his life but the cunning king tricked Death (Hades) into putting the chains of death on himself. Hades realized too late that he was tricked as Sisyphus fled the underworld. With the God of Death being chained, humans enjoyed a brief age of immortality. This ticked off Zeus, who condemned Sisyphus to pushing a huge rock up a steep hill for eternity.

 

What Can We Learn From the Myth of Sisyphus?

Aren’t we all Sisyphus? Condemned to being born to roll our rocks up a hill? How can our life be more than just monotonous repetitive days strung together leading to our death?

 

Albert Camus 1942 essay on Sisyphus gives some indication that our lives are not merely one of futile and hopeless labor.

 

Lesson 1:  Find Your Own Meaning in Your Life and Pursue Happiness

Camus equates the Myth of Sisyphus to life’s endless struggle to achieve goals and dreams that are essentially meaningless because the ultimate outcome of life is death.

 

Perhaps the inevitability of the rock rolling downhill symbolizes death as a foregone conclusion. Yet, like Sisyphus we continue our struggles through life – to make ends meet, to collect accolades and to make meaning of life – before it all ends.

 

And, like Sisyphus, we somehow manage to find meaning and joy in pushing our “rock” uphill over and over again. If you have not found the joy and meaning in your life or your daily tasks, you will have to find it. On your own.

 

Joy and meaning only resides in your mind. You will not find it out there in the universe. You can only find it within you. Camus proposes that we can only truly be happy once we accept our life and fate as entirely our own. Thus, finding joy in your struggles is the best way to live.

 

 

Lesson 2:  We Are Ultimately Responsible for Our Own Happiness

We assume that Sisyphus having to return to the bottom of the hill to start pushing the rock up all over again is executed in agony and pain. Who knows? Maybe he found joy in his task.

 

Turn your labors into a labor of love. Find passion in what you do or do something you are passionate about.

 

Then pushing the rock uphill will turn from burden to joy. You know the rock will roll down again and again but it will not supplant your joy. If you are able to find joy and passion in your labors, you will find that, as Camus puts it, “the struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart”.

 

 

Lesson 3:  What You Do with Your Time Here is Completely Up To You

The rock is Sisyphus’ responsibility. His calling. There’s no way he will abandon it. No matter the pain and agony, he has taken up the challenge to roll it uphill again and again. He has all the time in the world to perform his task. He has decided to stick to it.

 

“One must imagine Sisyphus happy,” Camus says. Because he has found joy and meaning in his task and decided to dedicate all his time to his task.

 

If you have identified your calling, passion or whatever you choose to call it, then fervently work at it. Pursue it. You are free to choose what you want to do with your time here. Do choose wisely.

8 Conversational Strategies to Create Intense Attraction with Women

8 Conversational Strategies to Create Intense Attraction with Women

You have mustered the courage to introduce yourself to an attractive woman or have successfully asked her out on a date.   Now, everything hinges on your conversational prowess. Here are 8 proven conversational strategies to help you to create intense attraction with women:

 

 

Preparation: Getting Ready for a Good Conversation

1.  Walk into any situation prepared and confident

This sounds easier said than done. Confidence is the knowingness of how good you are. What if you don’t think you are good enough?

Hone your confidence by doing a 10 point analysis of all your positive traits. It could be anything from physical attributes (“I have a good smile”) to a skill (I am a handy at bike repair).

Every day, before you step out of your home, tell yourself “today is the best day of my life”.  In your daily interactions with people – from the newsagent to the waitress at the diner to your local grocer – make small talk and try to make pleasant conversation whenever you can. Make them feel glad that they have interacted with you for the day.

The daily preparation will come in handy when you meet an attractive woman and engage her in a conversation.

 

2.   Create a mystical aura 

Being well read will broaden the scope of your conversational topics and makes you stand out from the crowd. Increase your knowledge beyond the realm of world affairs, politics, fashion and entertainment. Always be ready to delve into a variety of topics.

The deeper you can delve in a conversation with a woman, the further you will be able to progress in creating intense attraction. Not to mention creating a greater separation between you and your closest competitor. There’s nothing sweeter than crushing the competition and destroying their morale.  😆 

If you have the skills to read body language and subtle signs in people, it will give you an edge in scoring with a woman.  Create a mystical yet emotional aura about you and begin by structuring the conversation based on something you have observed about her.

 

 

Pacing: Control the Flow of the Conversation

3.   Intersperse your questioning with statements

If you are one of those nervous types who try to impress a girl by keeping the conversation going with a barrage of “getting acquainted” questions, you are running the risk of taking her to the kingdom of boredom. You will also risk sabotaging interrupting the flow of the conversation.

Intersperse your questioning in this format:

You question – she answers – you make a statement based on her answer – ask another question (and repeat the loop). This technique will demonstrate to her that you are a skilled conversationalist and able to shift the flow of the conversation to make it an interesting one.

Listen with intent and not be preoccupied with waiting for your turn to speak. Speak only when necessary and instead aim to be a good listener. Display finesse by withholding your thoughts and ideas out of the conversation and use them only when necessary. Instead, make use of statements to validate her thoughts and opinions.

 

4.  Choose your passion as a topic of conversation

With reference to #3 above, instead of making her feel bored with the run-of-the-mill “getting acquainted” questions, aim for a conversation that can keep her excited and engrossed. In your bid to create an interesting conversation, nothing beats talking about your passion. Women are attracted to men with passion as it symbolizes drive – the side of men that know what they want and go after it.

When you talk about your passion, you can be fully involved and energized about the topic. This is a time when you can engage her in a conversation where you can just speak from your heart and conjure up words that are multi-sensory.

Please do not brag. Unless you want to be branded as a jerk who is full of himself.

8 conversational

 5. Feed her words back to her . . . subtly

Another key to listening intently when she speaks is to be aware of her use of “value words”. These words are an embodiment of her core likes and dislikes.

Supposing she speaks admirably about an adventurous person who is caring and understanding, her value words are “adventure”, “care” and understand”. Throughout the course of the conversation, try to embed these words into the conversation and subtly associate them to you.

You can form a sentence like:

“I feel that life is like a big and exciting adventure” and sporadically throughout the course of your conversation, affirm her statements with the words “I understand”.

 

6.  Make your conversational tone emotion-based

Women are more emotionally inclined than men and therefore, any emotions that arise from her conversation may be linked to you. Thus, it would be a good strategy to evoke positive emotions in her as she will associate those feelings with her.

In your questions, aim for her to answer with specific feelings – preferably positive ones (eg. “How did you feel during the river cruise you took last summer?”). Then make remarks and statements (#3 above) in relation to those positive emotions.

Try to steer clear from fact-based questions or statements. Your objective is to associate ALL her positive emotions to you.

 

 

Performance: Conversing with Finesse 

7.  Use non-verbal cues to create instant rapport

The golden rule when demonstrating the skills of a good listener is to smile and have a pleasant eye contact.  Then, accentuate that smile with a slight tilt of your head as a display of trust and comfort.

According to the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, we are attracted to people who resemble our parents or ourselves. To gain rapport and trust, match your communication style with hers. Observe her sitting position and gestures, then try to mirror them. Do your mirroring subtly and be careful not to mirror like a chimp or you’ll be perceived as weird or psychotic.

 

8.  Have fun and let the good times roll

Focus on having a meaningful conversation instead of on the end result.

Lock in a mindset of having fun, being in the moment and enjoying the conversation. This will allow you to be in a state of flow and the conversation will take on a life of its own. It will even allay your fear of not knowing what to say or being too preoccupied with trying to create the perfect thing to say.

When you are having fun, you will come across as a fun person and the mirror effect will cause her to relax and have fun as well. Just imagine where this can all lead to.

Is He Thinking Long Term Commitment?

Is He Thinking Long Term Commitment?

Many women still face the conundrum of trying to figure out what a man wants from a relationship. Even though most would agree that a man’s mind is not as perplexing as a woman when it pertains to relationship matters.  long term commitment

 

Here are three seemingly insurmountable relationship challenges that most women face.

 

 

Men’s Fear of Long Term Commitment

In a survey of 12000 men and women between the age of 15-44, 66% of the men opted for marriage versus staying single. Only 51% of women chose marriage as an option.

 

The underlying reason for men’s fear of commitment is the fear of losing their freedom, of losing sexual excitement and their prerogative to pursue their dreams. If you can allay these fears, it would encourage the man to look into the option of a long term commitment. If you show any signs of desperation or ‘clingy-ness’, it will trigger his “fight or flight” response. In most cases, it would be flight.

 

Convince him that you are multi-faceted woman and have a balanced social, work and lifestyle. That is the key to getting a long term commitment from a man. This will assure him that you WANT to be with him and not NEED to be with him.  

 

If a man is in the process of getting his act together it may also keep his focus away from being committed. When striving to establish certain social or financial status, his mind will be geared towards self-development or building a career instead of sustaining a relationship.

 

Men Are Emotionally Suppressed long term commitment

Most men suppress their feelings for lack of a socially acceptable emotional outlet. This may prove to be a challenge especially for women in a relationship where men is perceived as insensitive, unemotional, and oblivious to feelings. Evolutionary demands have not been kind to men in terms of being emotionally expressive. For as long as we can remember, the “strong silent” type is the ultimate role model.

 

Women’s readiness to confide on relationship issues with their friends make them more able to resolve emotional challenges. For men, it’s a societal norm to bottle up failed relationships and turn them into rage.

 

Men may be more emotional than women. It’s just that they have been conditioned to keep it hidden and under control. Thus, the display of emotions is considered by men as weakness and vulnerability. And risk being ridiculed in the presence of other men.

 

Be encouraging and patient if the man you are in a relationship is in one of those “emotional funnels”. Your constant encouragement will slowly increase his comfort level to openly express his emotions. Give him time and space to process his emotions. Do your best to avoid all forms of criticisms or ridicule as he may channel his emotions into anger and frustrations and become confrontational.

 

Offer compassion and support and give assurance that you will be there for him when he needs you. However, do not “talk about it” unless you sensed that he’s ready. If he’s ever ready.

 

 

Men Are Ego Driven

The male ego.

 

Where do I begin?

 

Picture a Mimosa Pudica, the perennial herb known as “touch-me-not”. You can liken a man’s ego to this little plant with compound leaves that retracts when touched. In short, if you hurt a man’s ego, he withdraws and you lose his trust or you may lose him completely. You must understand that man will let his ego control his emotions than allow his heart to control it.

 

If you can “manage” a man’s ego, you will enjoy a fulfilling relationship for the longest time. All men have egos. His ego is the brick wall between his mind and his emotions. You can’t bring it down by force. You need to soften it reach his emotions.

 

To keep your relationship fresh and healthy, bolster his self-esteem with a dose of appreciation. Let him know how you feel about his intelligence, physical appearance, sexual performance and things that matters to him. Tip: Do it in a positive tone. Because it works all the time.

 

Praise, acknowledge and make him feel adequate. It is a good start towards a long lasting relationship. Or else, some other woman may just come along make him feel that way.

What is the True Meaning of Wealth?

What is the True Meaning of Wealth?

The word wealth is derived from the old English word “weal”, which meant “well-being” or “welfare“. Wealth exists in many forms. The most common of which is economic abundance. In the everyday sense, it is usually referred to as money. I would like to use the word prosperity because money and wealth in its truest sense must ultimately translate into prosperity. But what really is the true meaning of wealth?

 


Wealth Is A Mind Game

In order to grasp the concept of prosperity, you must first accept that prosperity is first and foremost a mind game. It is a consciousness, a set of invisible beliefs that you carry with you. Like self-image, this set of beliefs may have been implanted in you from a very early age. In Real Magic: Creating Miracles in Everyday Life, Dr. Wayne Dyer shares a beautiful illustration of this concept:

 

A downtrodden and ragged man approached the boss of a construction company and said, “I need work.”

 

“Fine, take that large boulder over there and roll it up and down the hill. If you need work, that will fulfill your need” the boss replied. The man said, “You don’t understand, what I really need is money.”

 

The boss replied, “Ahh, if it is money that you need, here’s fifty bucks. But you can’t spend it.” The man is now in a very perplexed state. “What I really need is food and clothing, not just money.”

 

“If this is what you really need, spend the money on food and clothing but don’t eat the food and don’t wear the clothing.”

 

The man finally saw what he really needed, security, peace and inner satisfaction. In actual fact, what the man needed is already in his possession. All he needed to do was ‘go within’ and create it in his mind.

 

 

The True Meaning of Wealth

A person trained in prosperity consciousness will exercise caution on his thoughts of prosperity. The mind moves in the direction of its most dominant thoughts. Once you develop this inner belief and use it to manifest the desires of your physical reality, then you will be able to enjoy wealth in its true sense.

 

Imagine if we can move away from a mental state of scarcity where thoughts are all about lack.

 

“I don’t have enough money”

 

“There is not enough to go around”

 

“Grab it before someone else does”

 

When you operate from this state of mind, you will NEVER experience real prosperity. YOU make the choices. Just because all those around you choose to be in competition with each other does not mean you have to conform to that behavior.


 

The True Meaning of Wealth: Expecting Abundance

Money is dependent upon your attitude towards it. Treat it like a master and it will exercise dominance over you. Treat it like a servant and it will serve you well. You must constantly remind yourself of the relationship between your thoughts and money.

 

Expect abundance everyday. Whether its health, wealth, economic well being, relationships or spirituality, it is all within you. You just need to put your mind to it. The true meaning of wealth is simply what you associate money with. 

Do Not Aim At Success – Redefine It On Your Own Terms

Do Not Aim At Success – Redefine It On Your Own Terms

Being present. Letting the ego go. These are prerequisites. Now, you are ready to redefine success. In your own ways, in your own terms.

redefine sucess

Success on your own terms may not translate to a Beemer, a bungalow, a golf membership and rubbing shoulders with the so-called ‘high society’.

do not aim at success

Redefine your own success.

 

One of my definitions is being complete. The realization that there is playful, boundless and joyous energy in everything I do. A deeper sense of self free from the worldly definitions of success and happiness.

redefine success

In closing, I would like to leave you with some gems from Professor Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor during the Second World War and author of Man’s Search for Meaning:

 

“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.

 

Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run  success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

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