Too Many Minds

A busy day at work, a rush to change, and then a brisk walk to the dojo.

Opening the door into the small hall with plain walls and a smooth clean floor of pale wooden planks, was like opening a door into another, much simpler, world.

Sensei – his long thick steely grey hair held neatly back from his face – would greet us warmly. Laugh lines around his dark eyes softening his expression, as his manner became serious and we all knelt in a row on the floor before him. Our crisp white karate gi almost crunching as it folded with the movement of our bodies.

Before reciting our dojo kun – a set of rules to be followed in our training hall, and to guide us in life – he would quietly request that we empty our minds in order to gain the most from our training, both physically and spiritually.

Upon rising to our feet, we would breathe deeply and begin our rigourous training.

There were occasions when our focus would falter. We might misjudge our blocking move in anticipation of a strike, resulting in a painful reminder of the importance of being “present” in the moment.

Sensei Endo-San, a man for whom I have great respect and hold in high esteem, would approach us and place his hand gently on our arm while looking directly into our eyes, then quietly say… “Too many minds”.

These three simple words, in the many years since I have seen him, have often echoed in my thoughts.

Whenever I sit down to write yet another lengthy “to do“ list, trying to fight off the sense of overwhelm that accompanies “too many minds”, I remind myself to “empty my mind” and focus my thoughts… The task at hand becomes much clearer. The sense of overwhelm begins to dissipate. It is easier to focus on the important and anticipate the best course of action.

Do you sometimes find yourself with “too many minds“?

5 thoughts on “Too Many Minds

  1. The Postman
    I have called this response to Anna’s Musing “Too Many Minds” The Postman in an effort to describe what happens when one is attracted to one’s mail box upon the sound of the postman’s motorbike.

    So the postman’s bike can be heard in the street with the stop start of the motorbike as he delivers the mail to each house in the street, dogs barking at the sound of his coming.

    Now here was I making my first coffee of the day. I had turned the coffee machine on and inserted a pod. Next I opened the fridge door to get the milk only to find that there was no milk and that I had to proceed to the second fridge in the garage to get more milk. I was on my way to the garage when I heard the postman’s motorbike.

    So now I headed for the front door and the mailbox, as I passed the garage door I spied a pile of recycling neatly bagged and resting near the door. Ahh must go take this out to the recycle bin and so I picked it up opened the front door and headed for the recycle bin. I could hear the postman; he was at the top of the street.

    I arrived at the recycling bin and proceeded to dump the bags of recycled waste in it. The sun was shining and the warmth of his rays heated the inner body to be sure it was a lovely day. I noticed the rain gauge located next to the bins had some water in it so it must have rained last night. I moved the waste bin and removed the rain gauge from its perch. The gauge read 16mm so I removed the top and emptied out the rain water. Then replaced the gauge back in its mount before returning the rubbish bin to its spot. The postman’s bike had gone quiet as he was delivering mail someplace. So no longer conscious of the postman I returned to the front door and back to the kitchen. Oh yes I was making a coffee and needed some milk. So I returned to the garage for the milk. On entry I noticed a pile of egg cartons had fallen on the floor so proceeded to pick them up and place them in a shopping bag. I then decided to place the empty cartons in the back of the car but couldn’t open the boot as the garage door was down. So went and pressed the door opener and raised the door. The car was locked and the keys were on the kitchen bench next to the coffee machine. So back to the kitchen picked up the car keys and then realised I was in the process of making a coffee, but needed milk. I returned to the garage and opened the boot of the car placing the egg cartons in the boot. I then heard the postman’s bike and he was delivering mail to my mail box. I walked out to greet him and received a fist full of flyers. He drove off and I went to the recycling bin dumping all the flyers into it. Then back to the kitchen where once again I see the coffee machine waiting patiently for its milk. This time I went straight to the garage fridge and retrieved a carton of milk. Returning to the kitchen and coffee machine now proceeding to throw out the cold coffee and to make a fresh brew.

    Ah that’s better now to ask what does today bring. It would appear that as we age so we become better at entertaining distractions don’t we?

    Anna writes: Whenever I sit down to write yet another lengthy “to do“ list, trying to fight off the sense of overwhelm that accompanies “too many minds”, I remind myself to “empty my mind” and focus my thoughts… The task at hand becomes much clearer. The sense of overwhelm begins to dissipate. It is easier to focus on the important and anticipate the best course of action.

    Very odd how one relates to this statement then one could easily be called a scatter brain and perhaps I am ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All so true, Rob, and so much like most of my mornings.

    If I’m not distracted by the sputtering of the postman’s motorbike and accompanying canine chorus, then it will be the beep of an appliance demanding to be emptied or refilled with clothes or dishes.

    Then, if I’m not enroute to continue with one of those unfinished tasks, a “reminder” set on my phone to tackle the “to do” list will prick my conscience… so I divert toward the computer before the heady and definitely distracting aroma of coffee draws me to the kitchen (and still beeping dishwasher) to prepare a delicious cup of procrastination… and the perfect opportunity for a Morning Coffee Musing!

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  3. Ah you have a way with words Anna just how appropriate are the words in you comment? Right on the mark I’d say? And yes we are surrounded by Beeps just to keep us on track. We have become slaves to our phones that were once used to connect family now used for everything plus the odd phone call. Suns up a rare event these days so so must enjoy it whilst it lasts have a great day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking too, that it is not just busy adults who become constantly distracted… Our youth, growing up with the smart devices, live in a state of constant distraction – notifications and advertising, combined with mindless “scrolling“ through feeds – I doubt they would even have much experience or understanding of a truly focused mind 😔

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