The art of resting the mind, with the power to dismiss from it all care and worry, is one of the secrets of great men and women.
Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation and action.
Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.
In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “mind like water/” Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriate to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or under react.
The power in a karate punch comes from speed, not muscle; it comes from a focused “pop” at the end of the whip. That’s why petite people can learn to break boards and bricks with their hands: it doesn’t take calluses or brute strength, just the ability to generate a focused thrust with speed. But a tense muscle is a slow one.
So the high levels of training in the martial arts teach and demand balance and relaxation as much as anything else. Clearing the mind and being flexible are the keys.
Anything that causes you to overreact or under react can control you, and often does.
Responding inappropriately to your e-mail, your co-workers, your projects, your unread magazines, your thoughts about what you need to do, your children, your boss, or your significant other will lead to less effective results than you’d like. Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve, simply because they don’t operate with a “mind like water.”
If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything.
A calm mind releases the most precious capacity a human being can have: the capacity to turn anger into compassion, fear into fearlessness and hatred into love.
Here is a wonderful video of the incredible Bruce Lee discussing the concept and then doing some incredible things: for example, playing ping pong with nunchaku.
He is simply demonstrating what happens when you can make your “mind like water.”