The Elusive Zen Mind

Cliff Diver , Acapulco, Mexico.

The cliff divers of Acapulco Mexico have nerves of steel and are extremely focused when performing their extraordinary aerobatic dives off the edge of the mountain, into the sea below. Yes, they have done an enormous amount of practice to reach their current state of diving perfection, but mentally they must also have prepared themselves for the death defying challenge.

Embarrassment, fear, anxiety, apprehension, condemnation, and failure keep us back from accomplishing our goals and living life to the fullest. We can overcome these negative traits by having mental focus on the situation at hand or being in the moment and having a constant clear state of concentration.

Mental toughness can be developed at an early age. The mind is essentially clear, open to many new possibilities and not holding onto thoughts of past experiences as someone older. As we age, we may embrace baggage that creates cobwebs, restraint, and negativity, in our minds. It can become more difficult to take risks and we have more of a tendency to hold back from trying new things or make changes in life. Further, because of all the mileage traveled, it is sometimes very difficult to clear our heads of thoughts popping in and out. On the other hand, it is also extremely beneficial to have had decades of experience to use in the form of wisdom to help make better strategic decisions regarding important matters in our life.

In Zen, there is a statement called no mind. This could also be interpreted as also having a childlike mind. A child that enters into the world and begins to grow has no bias or predispositions on life. The mind is essentially like a blank slate. Animosity, hatred, bitterness, regret, and other forms of negativity have not taken a hold of the very young mind. A child is also like a sponge picking up everything coming their way with no predetermined judgments.  Children are open to all new possibilities and their senses are clear to pick up with precision sights, sounds, and tastes with complete openness.

Meditation will assist in turning everything off while sitting still and allowing the mind to peacefully rest. Breathing is deep and slow. There is no rush, just the relaxed mind that becomes totally at ease. I feel cleansed mentally after finishing a session of deep meditation. When I meditate, my mind is rejuvenated and a complete spring cleaning of my attitude is done. Negative feelings are vacuumed away and clarity of my thoughts is greatly enhanced. I’m more relaxed and comfortable with my abilities as a person. I find that mediation smooths out the rough edges and counter balances the objective side of my brain and opens up the more subjective side; which gives me the clarity to be focused in my life.

 

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