In Zen the “no mind” (Mushin) is the state of complete awareness. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by ego, thoughts or emotions and thus open to everything.
The term is shortened from “mushin no shin”, an expression meaning the “mind without mind” and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. Mushin is the essence of Zen and translates as the “mind without mind”, and it is also called “the state of no-mindness”.
Mushin is identical to the Japanese metaphorical expression “mizu no kokoro” or “mind like water”. This state refers to a ego-less mind that is in harmony with the all. It (ego-less mind) resembles a still pond of water without any ripples. A pond where the surface reflects a clear and perfectly undistorted image of the surroundings. Be it like a mirror.
Mushin can be archived when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego. There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react without disturbance from thoughts. It’s a mind in a state off flowing, full awareness and not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness.
The mind must always be in the state of ‘flowing,’ for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-being of the mind.
This pure state of mind, the state of flowing can only be experienced by the absence of the ego or limited self. A mushin mind, is not an empty mind like an empty shell, on the contrary is a mind fully present, fully aware and free from disturbances.
“Mu” or “emptiness” in mushin refers to an empty mind in the sense that distractions, preoccupations, fears, worries, are absent and thus no more an issue for the mind. Mushin cannot be grasped with the intellect; it must be experienced. A Mushin mind has no Ego and no substance; it is pure Enlightenment and is the perfect realization of the self.
Mushin – Run without mind
I like to reflect on the concept of Mu in my running practise; run without mind or ego. A way to experience the state of non-mind and non thought, without loosing contact with reality. In awareness, experiencing the relation between my inner self and the universe. Still free of any formal religious or secular moral precept.
Running with the Buddha mind or the mind of a cow: Mu.