As we battle through life and the concrete jungle of city-living, it’s easy to get swept away in all the “chaos”. Here are three ways you can apply the wisdom of ancient Japan to help you win back your day.
Mokuso (黙想 mok'sō) is the Japanese word for meditation and has its origins in Japanese martial arts. Mokusō is performed by martial artists before the beginning of a training session in order to "focus" and "clear one's mind" (very similar to the zen concept of mushin). The purpose of the ritual is to channel one’s breath in order to prevent injury, maintain focus, and prepare for training.
Don't fall into the trap and thinking that you need to spend hours sitting cross-legged to meditate effectively. Instead use a one-minute micro-meditation to help you slow down, mentally prepare, and set the right intention. Try closing your eyes and then slowly repeating the word “mokuso” as you exhale before you begin a big task or step into an important meeting.
2. Develop mindful morning rituals
Ken Mogi, neuroscientist and author of Awakening Your Ikigai, explains that it’s important that our morning habits reflects our “ikigai” (i.e. purpose in life). While it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to our vocation but rather it’s more about finding out “what lights you up inside”. According to Mogi, our rituals should involve: starting small, accepting yourself, connecting with others and the planet, finding joy in little things, and being present.
A morning cup of matcha can help you reconnect with your Ikigai. The process of preparing matcha each morning has become a meditative ritual for us at HOM and has allowed us to take a moment each morning to be present and enjoy the moment.
(SIDE-NOTE FOR YOU, BIOHACKERS: Matcha contains an amino acid called L theanine which studies have show will help to positively Alter Your Brainwave State. It causes an increase in alpha activity — the brainwave state associated with relaxation and attention.This is the same brainwave state achieved during meditation and can be experienced within 30-45 minutes of taking a standard supplemental dose.) 1, 2.
3. Go with the Flow
There is an old Japanese proverb: “The Bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.” Certainly, work your way down that check list but also remember to bend like bamboo and roll with the punches when things don’t go exactly to plan. The only thing constant about life is change so control the things you can: your intention and your perspective.