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“?