The major lesson I gained from my journey into Zen was that I could gain control over my mind if I practiced. The key was to learn to be silent, truly, in your mind silent. When you are silent, you can then witness the mind in action. In doing so you begin to separate your identity from “the thoughts” and get acquainted with that part of you watching the thoughts. That space between the thought and the watcher—your witness—is where the magic is. Absent that space, efforts to develop concentration, confidence, creativity, and spirit fall short.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. —Sun Tzu
Step 1: The first step is to focus your mind and prevent it from running all over the place.
Step 2: As you discipline your monkey mind, you will begin to learn to connect with your internal witness. This is that part of you that is untethered from your ego. As you connect and identify with your witness, versus your ego, you will begin to protect your mind from negative and defeating influences. Those influences include fear-based thoughts, negative internal feelings, and negative external influences. Rooting out negative emotions, beliefs, and behaviors that will hold you back can take much time and effort.
Step 3: This step is to feed your unfettered mind with super-food for success. This food is in the form of powerful, positive imagery as well as positive emotions directed toward your desired future states, skills, and victories.
Step 4: In this step you activate a daily training plan to nurture your internal vision through repeated practice and to prepare for the fifth and final step, which is to…
Step 5: Take massive action, and recruit like-minded teammates to align with your vision and help you win your missions, every time.
Fish Bowl Guided Visualization
Find a comfortable place to sit in a chair, on a cushion, or on a stool. The key is to keep your spine straight and to avoid discomfort that will capture your mind. Begin the practice by closing your eyes and scanning your body from toes to head. This is a sensitivity awareness drill that can also be done as a stand-alone awareness deepening exercise. It will bring your mental attention to parts of your body one at a time.
Now you are ready to clear your mind completely using the fish bowl technique. In your mind, imagine your skull as a fish bowl and your thoughts are the cloudy, murky water (not too far from the truth, I might add!). Your breathing is the filter. Each deep breath you take in and out is a cleansing breath that begins to clear the murky water of your mind. You begin to sense the water of your mind getting cleaner and clearer as you breathe. After ten breaths it is mostly clean; after twenty it is as pure as a natural spring on a sunny day. As you imagine the clarity of your mind, you realize that what you are witnessing is a “no mind” state. In this state your mind is unspoiled by thinking. You maintain that state as long as you can. If you start thinking again, your fish bowl gets dirty and you can recommit to cleaning it.
Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level