I recently started going to a small Muay Thai kickboxing school here in Amsterdam. It has been a new experience for me in many ways — my first time engaging in a competitive sport since high school, my first exposure to Muay Thai, and a language immersion as the classes are mostly in Dutch.
The founders of the school trained in Japan, and every class begins with the students kneeling in a straight line across from the teacher. The teacher says the word “mokuso” and everyone exhales deeply and closes their eyes.
For about a minute, the room is silent.
For weeks, I assumed that mokuso (pronounced "mohk-sou") was a Dutch word that I didn’t know. Finally, I Googled it and learned that mokuso is actually a Japanese word, which roughly means, “to prepare one’s mind”.
Indeed, this one-minute micro-meditation at the start of each class had helped slow me down, mentally prepare, and help me set my intention for what I am about to do. The teachers’ purpose is to ground the class and each individual student so that we can bring our full awareness to the training about to begin.
It’s a tradition that I have taken with me outside of the class as well. Before I begin a big task, a presentation, or a meeting, I close my eyes and say to myself slowly, “mokuso” and exhale. It’s a way of preparing my mind and setting my intention for what’s about to begin.
Always start with intention,
P.S. Speaking of awesome words in other languages, our artwork for the theme of Intention was inspired by the word Arete — which you may remember from this Reflections post shared a few months ago.
P.P.S. Have you resolved to dive deeper into meditation this year? I just started using an app called Oak and love its simplicity. Mike uses Insight Timer because he appreciates the variety. Jennifer enjoys the fun characters on Headspace. And Massiel, who lives on a Caribbean island, loves getting into a meditative state while watching the waves (sorry no app for that!). Meditation has been a powerful practice for us, and we hope 2018 brings you many moments of peace and reflection.