Mind Prophylaxis

The Muddy Road

The Muddy Road


Two monks were travelling down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl”, said the first monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

The second monk did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple.

Then he could no longer restrain himself.

“We monks don’t go near females”, he said. “It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” the first monk said. “Are you still carrying her?”

-Hara Tanzan

The pull of some of our thoughts can be so strong that we find ourselves caught up in them long after the event has happened. This can be very disabling if we allow these thoughts to choose our actions and the way we lead our lives.

We are often unaware when we are caught in the web of our unhelpful, life limiting thoughts and beliefs. Our world shrinks before we realise what is going on and these thoughts dictate how our day goes and how we interact with others in our world.   

I came up with this term – Mind Prophylaxis. Prophylaxis is a medical term that means – measures designed to preserve health and prevent the spread of disease protective or preventive treatment.  In Greek, phylax means “guard”, so prophylactic measures guard against disease by taking action ahead of time.

The first step in mind prophylaxis is stopping then noticing. During the course of the day, choose a moment where you can stop, check in on yourself and ask, “Where is my mind at?” This simple exercise is a helpful tool in getting to know the landscape of our thoughts and internal experiences.

We cannot attempt to take action if we have no awareness of what is going on. The first of the 3 “R”s in changing our relationship with our thoughts is to recognise. Recognise, means to know again. Don’t be a stranger to your thoughts, especially to the thoughts that may impact the way you live your life.

Try daily mind prophylaxis at least three times a day? It’s the best 2 minutes you can gift yourself for a better mental health.


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