One of the strangest concepts student encounter in the Warrior’s Way clinics is the concept of “not thinking.” Many students believe our minds think all the time, therefore, we must think during climbing. They don’t initially understand the difference between thinking and awareness. Yet, this is the critical shift that is needed to begin developing awareness and improving mental fitness.

Thinking is important when we stop, to gather information, assess risks, and make a decision. Once this is accomplished we need to stop thinking. It can be challenging to stop thoughts. In fact, we don’t stop thoughts from entering our minds. Thoughts occur constantly in the mind. Thinking is what our mind does. Rather, we focus attention on engagement with our bodies.

Attention is focused on bodily, somatic processes such as breathing, relaxing, and moving. This will be a continual process. As stress increases, our attention will drift back to thinking, which will create many thoughts (doubts) to stop our commitment. Simply notice the thoughts and immediately redirect attention to breathing, relaxing, and moving. This noticing is awareness. The important point here is that we DON’T stop thoughts, we redirect attention. With attention on breathing, relaxing, and moving, thoughts diminish.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jeff

    Thanks for the reminder Arno!
    It’s a good one.

  2. Marta Reece

    Martial artists have a similar concept. I heard it called “mu shin” (not sure of spelling or even pronunciation) and translated “no thought” or “no mind.” The idea was that in order to allow instinctive responses to flow at a speed faster than a conscious thought is capable of, and to stop the stress of the situation from interfering, one needed to suspend conscious thinking.

  3. Tony Hawkins

    Awesome…and so true. Something I constantly have to struggle with and work on…turning my mind to “awareness” and not being consumed by thoughts which often produce my fears and doubts.

  4. Mel

    Thanks, Arno. The e-lessons are really helpful in reminding me of the lessons I learned during one of your espresso workshops.
    In kung-fu we were taught to “eliminate extraneous thoughts” as this is harmful to the spirit. We would maintain low stances for 30 to 45 minutes in order to learn that pain can be an illusion that the mind uses to make us quit doing something uncomfortable. However, it was not until I attended your workshop and read your books that I had a better understanding of the process by which we can actually acheive this. You are a master at what you do!

    1. Arno

      Thanks for your comments Mel. I do my best to make the Warrior’s Way material practical and tangible. One important way of doing that is to focus on HOW to achieve certain goals, such as your example of dealing with discomfort. Arno

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