Nowadays we tend to live in a stressful way, home-work, commitments, worries, irregular schedules, phone always with us, workouts that are not always effective due to fatigue or other factors; all this leads us to imbalances of our body and mind.
In this article I will try to briefly explain what balance of body and mind consists of, its importance, and how to try to find and maintain it.
Balance of body and mind, as a principle, has distant origins in India; legend has it that Bodhidharma, an Indian prince master and founder of Buddhist Zen, handed down the Buddha's teachings in China, at the Shaolin Temple, where he educated monks in proper Zen meditation and combat and energy techniques to restore proper mind-body balance.
Monks, given difficult times due in part to anti-Buddhist persecution, applied these teachings as self-defense. As they spread later, several schools with their own characteristics emerged, whose different techniques were codified into different styles of martial arts throughout China, later Japan and the world.
Ken (body/fist), Zen (spirit/mind), Ichinyo (union), is still one of the foundations of some martial arts such as the Shorinji Kempo and the Karate, without going into the different facets, this principle indicates that body and mind are one and the same and must be balanced with each other.
Fulfilling oneself and being happy always involves the culture of spirit and body, of action and thought, the spirit is very important and we need to nourish it without stopping at superficialities, our body helps us in actions and we should not neglect it.
This foundation is adaptable to any time in our lives.
"Martial art practice comes through everyday life" (Hei Jo Shin).
Many people are inclined to think that body and mind are separate things but are inseparable to the point that one thing conditions the other, to give a trivial example, when we are happy we feel the body active, when we are sad we feel it tired.
Finding this balance is not an easy thing especially today, for everything in our lives, for example, work and sports, we must always remember that each of us must bring out our potential, we must reflect on this and improve without getting discouraged if we have not reached the goal, we will succeed another time, working more on the body through sports in general and on the mind and spirit through sitting meditations (Zazen), but without this becoming an obsession.
Miamoto Musashi said, "Allen the mind to be quiet but not soft, focused but without thinking only about one thing, we must try to bring our thought to the center of our body without thinking about it, and this will lead the mind to be free to direct itself to where it needs to go to action."
" Action whose thought stops nowhere but is free to direct itself wherever necessary can be effective at any time. The mind must develop for all parts of the body.".
We then try to do introspective and body work to achieve and maintain a good balance.
The following practices could help us in this and much more:
- The first thing to have a rested and ready body and mind is sleeping the right hours at the right times; a lot of our health and thus also the implementation of our projects;
- We limit the use of television, light sources and various electronic devices in the day and especially before bedtime;
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the right times, avoiding junk food and preferring fresh foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and supplementing your diet with the right supplements;
- Breathing, breathing is very important whether we are doing sports, meditation or anything else, we try to oxygenate our body and brain well at all times, sometimes we don't realize it but we are in apnea, without good breathing we will feel body and mind in breathlessness even standing still.
- Concentration should not be confused with a fixation as mentioned above, concentration helps us to think with the whole mind, to act with the body and to feel what is around us, to go beyond it, a fixed thought on the other hand prevents you from having a good view of everything and will send you into a tailspin;
- Let us carve out time to do meditation (we will discuss Zen/Zazen in a future article), even a few minutes a day initially, this will allow us to have many benefits and achieve our balance more easily;
- We try to maintain good posture in any situation;
- Let us avoid falling into superficiality, always ask questions about what is important to us, always try to have a good critical sense about everything;
- Doing sports regularly but not sporadically by exaggerating greatly helps our health and mind in general, in fact, sports in addition to the physical benefits can help us fight anxiety and depression and will help us clear our mind and recharge it but let's remember not to just do it mechanically, let's try to enjoy the moment, observe, clear our mind of thoughts, breathe correctly and concentrate, and always do better, beware though that even sports can be harmful if we exaggerate our physique, thus giving way to free radicals and cardiovascular stress.
Finding a good balance is very important, it will help us cope better with everything, let's remember that mind and body go in unison, let's respect them both, let's cultivate them without neglecting one or the other and with much perseverance we will definitely see improvements in any aspect of our lives.
"The only Zen you find at the top of the mountains is the Zen you bring there." - Robert M. Pirziq0
To aid peaceful and restful sleep:
To help you face the day with serenity and joy:
To stimulate endorphins and hormones that give feelings of happiness and euphoria:
For physical and mental energy:
Philosophy and practice for a happy life