Updated: May 28
In Eastern schools of practice, the mind is known to have two different characteristics we label as the "Yi" and the "Xin". While the names are less important, once you understand their differences, you can observe more clearly what is going on inside your mind and begin to change its behavior, to shape it with your own intention and will. Through practice and training over time, you can become your own mental mechanic and use the power of your mind to explore your unique potential.
The Yi is the mind related to wisdom and judgement, symbolic of a horse. When the Yi has an idea, it strives to make it a reality in the physical world and is made strong by your will. The Xin also has ideas but are much weaker than the Yi and are generated from and affected by the emotions, which is why this mind is symbolic of a monkey or ape. This mind is also passive versus active like the Yi is. For example, if you know you need to get up at a certain time that is the Yi talking, but if you decide to snooze your alarm because "its not a big deal, you can be a little late" that is the Xin hijacking your intention. Most of us have a much stronger emotional mind than wisdom mind and we act according to how we feel, instead of what we think. This is why the phrase "You're your own worst enemy" rings so true for many as the emotional mind is the source of our laziness, bad temper, frustrations and so on.
Our goal then should be not only to understand the two minds influence on our lives day to day, but also to begin reshaping which of the two commands the most attention and cultivation from us. We use martial arts training as a powerful tool to refine our mental focus and to discipline ourselves to show up and do the work, even when the Xin is trying to find a way out of what's best for us. Each time we take action toward what we know to be in our best interest, we support our own growth, will and endurance to becoming who we desire to be.