What do I mean by state of mind? This is your emotional condition, your feelings, thoughts and mood. What state are you in now? Are you angry, upset, depressed, sad, lonely, calm, happy, excited, joyful, jovial, interested? The state you are in will have an immediate effect on your actions, the way other people perceive you, and the experiences you will have in life. This also affects how you see the world, and what results you will obtain. The world looks very different when you are feeling sad from when you are feeling happy, doesn’t it?
A lot of people I talk to, tell me they don’t know how to control how they feel. They are very surprised when I tell them it is possible to gain control of their states and to maintain that control all the time. it requires a couple of things. Would you like to know what those things are? Yes, I thought so. First, you have learned why you have not been able to control your states of mind. No one has ever taught you how your mind works. Your mother, father, school teachers never sat you down and said: “Now Gareth we are going to show you how your mind works?” Did they? Don’t blame them, they were not taught either!
You have been letting them run on automatic. Up until now, your mind has been like a spoilt puppy, doing what it wants, when it wants and messing things up. You now have to decide enough is enough and that you are going to take control. At first, it may be hard, but this is because you are changing a bad habit and making a new habit, with time and practice it becomes easy. Like when you first learn to drive, at first it seemed impossible, now you can drive and multitask several things with ease.
You put yourself into a state by the pictures you make in your head, and by your posture. This will have an impact on the ways you walk, sit, how you hold your head, and your spine, etc. It also has an immense impact on how you feel.
Play with me for a moment. Please stand up, slouch your shoulders, bow your head, look at your feet, and say “I feel happy!” How is that working for you? Not too good I bet!
Now stand up on your toes and slowly and gently let your heels come down to lightly rest on the floor. Your hands are resting at your sides, your head is up and you are looking ahead at your own eye level. Now say “I feel bad”. Do you really feel bad? If you are doing it correctly I don’t think you can feel bad.
Let me give you an example to help you get this more clearly. Let's say I have to play a basketball game with my friends at the park. I have a choice, I can see myself as being useless at basketball because I am 5 feet 7inches, my motor skills are not the greatest when it comes to handling a basketball, and I can’t jump high. Or I can see myself as being fast on my feet, excellent at dribbling, and have fantastic eye and hand coordination. I make every shot I take! Which is a better state to play in? Yes, you got it! The second way. Another way to put myself into a brilliant state for playing basketball would be to watch Michael Jordan play. I watch how he strides on the court, his relaxed cat-like movements, his confident grin, his total control of the ball and how he makes the jumps as easy as cutting through butter with a red hot knife. On his best day, nothing bothers him. A game is just a walk in the park. When you put yourself in this state, watch out! It's on! How cool is that! This will work for martial arts, any sport, any job, anything that requires you to perform.
If you change your posture, you change your feelings, if you change your thinking this will change your physiology and your behaviour. I will talk about states of mind again in the future. If you have any questions please contact me and I will do my best to help you. Until next time. I wish you peace, love and happiness.
Martin Acton sensei