So far, we've explored four other concepts in our 'Art of' series:
Mushin: The Art of Flow
Zanshin: The Art of Focus
Shoshin: The Art of Learning
Lastly, we will take a look at Fudoshin, or 'Immovable Mind' - the Art of Stability.
Fudoshin encompasses the ability to be unwaveringly calm in the face of friction. The warrior who has mastered Fudoshin has reached a state of equanimity.
Fear can debilitate us like a deer frozen by the oncoming headlights of a vehicle. Worse than the existence of fear is the reactive tendency that follows it.
When we give in to fear, we're always a step behind, never able to fully predict or prepare thoughtfully for risk.
Mastering the art of stability means we become unfettered from the unpredictability of the world. Sounds great, but how would we reach this proverbial confidence? How do we respond thoughtfully to the inevitable woes of life, rather than react without control?
1. Live (And die) by a code
What is your code? What principles do you live by? If we don't set a foundation with how we think, experience and act in the world, we will risk being controlled by the events around us. When you live by a code, you set a standard for who you are, not when things are easy, but when they aren't.
A code may be "I don't let others decide my emotions for me." In this sense, if an angry stranger were to start yelling at you, do you immediately become angry as well? Why give that power to someone who cares little for your world? If you embraced the principle of having power over your emotions, you would consciously remember 'I don't let others decide my emotions for me.'
Codes and principles are best utilized when they are kept simple and easy to remember. They should be relevant to your daily life experiences, and repeated often.
2. Step into fear often
If something is unfamiliar, we can do little to prepare for it. Repetition breaks down the shackles of unpredictability. If we step into our fear daily, we become more comfortable with the thoughts and feelings that accompany it. Most often on the other side of fear is great exhilaration. Where we may look at something and say 'What if it goes bad?' we can work to counter that thought process with more positive what-ifs - 'What if it goes well?'
Another tactic is to reengineer what you define as fear. When you feel afraid, simply saying "I am excited" may help to re-hardwire your thought process and embrace the physiological response to unpredictability, vs "I am afraid". The pit in your stomach may just become harmless butterflies.
To embrace Fudoshin is to work towards a healthy relationship with fear. Where others may tip-toe through life reacting to unpredictability, we can learn to say 'So what?' and move on nonetheless. That is the Art of Stability.