One of my favorite books is “Zen Body Being” by Peter Ralston and in this book he presents an enlightened approach to physical skill, grace, and power and who of us doesn’t need a little bit of all of that right now? If I could I would quote the whole book but there is just one part I want to focus on… being calm. I feel like in todays world everything is practically moving at lightning speed. There is so much going on around us that we may feel like we must always “be on our toes” in order to respond appropriately, but with so much stuff going on we may find ourselves jumbled, distracted and stressed. We all know that stress can kill you… literally. Practicing a state of being calm can not only help reduce stress but give us the ability to make choices and actions from a clear mind, not a reactive mind. I’m sure we all have heard it before… “you’re over reacting!”, most likely we are. Finding clarity frees us from being reactive… or in most cases… over reacting.
The following excerpt explains the power of being calm… one of my favorite parts from the book, I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.
“When your body is engaged, so is your mind. No action, state, or development will occur in the body without mental direction. What you think and how you think will dominate and direct whatever occurs in your body. Your adopted disposition in relation to any physical endeavor will make a huge difference in your success or failure to accomplish what you want. Having a calm mind gives you the clarity needed to make sound decisions, and from which appropriate action can take place.
Countless factors influence our mental and emotional state. Sometimes this influence detracts from our ability to preform as we would like. Perhaps we are trying to show off and, in so doing, we hurt ourselves. Maybe social or competitive pressure influences us to ignore common sense, and we do harm to the body trying to live up to or attain some “image” or reputation. Perhaps we are nervous or upset or confused, and perform poorly because we’re not fully present and aware of what we are doing. Being calm is not a state which we willfully ignore disturbing influences. It is a state that allows influences to just “be,” without reaction or resistance. In any kind of game, we can be rattled by the opposition or distracted by the pressures of competition. Like being relaxed, being calm provides an open and neutral position from which we can act more clearly and quickly.
Calm is being motionless in motion.
How you feel about your body, and what you think others see, will influence what you wear, how you move, and even the tension you may hold within. Are these things done because they help you develop an effortless and effective body, or for some other reason? Forces contrary to healthy goals impede your progress toward those goals.Developing a calmness and freedom of mind helps in getting back on track and staying on track.
The difference between being calm and being reactive is found in our disposition toward whatever we are encountering. Influential forces are flying at us constantly. We are usually pushed and pulled around by these conditions through our reactions to them – avoidance, upset, fear, desire, self-doubt, greed, anger, smugness, timidity, and so on. Being calm and clear is not like building a fortress that disturbance cannot penetrate; rather it is more like knowing how to sail the seas in stormy weather. Sensitivity to changing circumstance is a valuable awareness. Trying to remain calm or in control by ignoring what’s occurring is the wrong way to go. Instead, embrace what’s there, but let it be. Don’t react to it. In this way, your awareness encompasses the disturbance rather than being trapped in it. From this open position, you will have the presence of mind to use your body well.”
Is that not great! So good. If you are interested in more, please pick up a copy of the book… really good stuff. From a place of calmness… wishing you all a happy day!