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Mushin No Shin

Have you heard of the phrase “Mushin No Shin” (Moo-shin no shin)? I hadn’t either until my teammate Chelsey let me in on this knowledge. Chelsey is a 3rd-degree black belt in Karate, and she uses the concept of Mushin No Shin when practicing combat and in regular life.

“Mushin No Shin” means “No-mindedness.” It is a Zen expression built on the concept that the mind is not occupied by thought or emotion and is thus open to everything. You may have heard modern athletes call it a “flow-state.”

Essentially, when you surrender yourself to this state, your movements become effortless and flow from one to the next, without worry or distraction about what has been done or what needs to be done next.

Chelsey explained that when she enters her dojo, she works hard to enter the state of Mushin No Shin. That way, when she bows into her training, she leaves behind the worries of the day or the plans for after class and is solely focused on experiencing, learning from, and appreciating what is happening right that second.

It allows her to be a better martial artist because she can open her mind and be in total concentration of her training.

This was so interesting because so many thought leaders in the positive psychology space also think flow is so important for happiness. What’s curious, thought provoking, and insightful is that there are so many ways we can achieve this flow and so many cultures know and teach the benefits of it.

For one, it might be the act of martial arts to find that flow, for another it might be a quiet meditation. I was watching an interview of Kevin Durant, a super famous basketball player and he said he could find flow in playing the game, where he was in a zone, there was nothing else on his mind.

So, this doesn’t apply just to martial artists like Chelsey. Chelsey said that she uses this concept inside and out of class. While she never claimed to be perfect about it, she said it helps her when she needs to focus on the here and now.

I think happiness often comes from being present in the here and the now. I invite you to think about how often you are present and how that shows up for you.

Until next time, remember kindness is contagious, go out and be kind. And, our brand new kindness cards are in the shop over at so go check them out.

Inspired by this article in by The Ninja Gypsy

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