Mind monkeys

One of the things I always work on with my MFD clients, is mindset.

Usually when the symptoms of MFD first appears, it demands attention, and soon the symptom is the only thing we can think about when we’re approaching the instrument. The MFD symptom causes fear, frustration, tension, and all kinds of negative emotions, which obviously don’t help to solve the problem.

But this focus on the problem is a natural reaction: we have a problem, so we need to focus on it in order to solve it.

This is how we deal with day to day problems, don’t we? If we need to find a job, we scan the offers on the internet, write a resume, apply for the jobs we like and go to interviews etc. Or an even easier example: if the car needs to be cleaned, we grab a bucket, car shampoo and a sponge, and focus on the dirt on the car.

A different approach

The retraining process however needs a completely different approach. If we keep focusing on the problem – the fingers or the embouchure – the only thing we achieve strengthening the process of creating the symptom. The intense focus on a small group of muscles increases tension, and more tension leads to more symptoms.

Try to following exercise: pick up the object closest to you, and put it down. Try to remember the sensation. Now repeat the same movement, but this time try to be aware of, and control all the small movements in all of the muscles you are using for picking up the object. It feels different, doesn’t it?

The right mindset is the one which you had when you picked up the object for the first time, without thinking about it. You gave an order to the body to pick it up, and let the body take care of the task.

But how do we avoid focusing on the problem? You can’t turn off the brain, or tell it not to do something. However, you can give it a different task, like focusing on the breath, or posture, or any other thing. Watch the following video, in which a Buddhist monk gives advice about how to deal with your “mind monkeys”, thereby reaching a meditative mindset – the best starting point to solving MFD.


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