4 Japanese Concepts that are not in the English Dictionary

4 Japanese Concepts that are not in the English Dictionary

You don’t have to study in a dojo to adopt these ideas, although that might help.

We don’t realize it, but we are limited in our concepts by language. The English language sometimes just doesn’t have the right words or phrases. Strength of mind is ingrained in the culture, teachings, and language of the Japanese people. 

Most of us often allow our minds to float, forcing us into an emotional and reactive state. Adopting the following concepts, along with practice and discipline, can completely shift us to a more mindful, present mindset. 

“Mushin no shin” — Mind without Mind. Similar to “flow state” or being in “the zone,” the idea here is that your inner voice becomes silent and you act purely off instinct and feel. This is usually achieved while doing a task; anything from knitting to surfing. Once you identify the activity and adopt the concept, the task will become an oasis for you throughout your day or week. 

“Fudoshin” — Immovable Mind. An intense and all-encompassing state of determination and focus. A refusal to entertain the possibility that you will fail. Think of an ancient samurai warrior; disciplined, focused, calm. “Fudoshin” can be applied to many different areas of life; promises you make to others or yourself, setting and accomplishing goals, recognizing and controlling urges. 

“Zanshin” — Remaining Mind. The final push through. Finishing what you started. Zanshin is the idea that when everything is going well you do not allow the mind to relax. Your focus only ends when the task is complete. This doesn’t only apply to work or physical activity; it is the art of ruthless attention. If you are out to dinner with friends, be out to dinner with friends, until it’s over. Do not allow yourself to zone out and worry about tomorrow. 

“Shoshin” — Beginner’s mind. How often do we enter a conversation aiming to prove the other person wrong; especially on social media? Practicing “Shoshin” is accepting the role of the novice; recognizing you can be wrong, you can grow, and you can adapt. It is attempting to understand why a person has a conflicting point to yours.