Trading is akin to a high performance sport: The intensity of day trading in particular demands from us that we deal with the information in front of us in an efficient, fast and unemotional manner. We all know the ideal scenario for consistent trading success: The master trader’s mind is supposed to be clear, focused, disciplined and non-judgemental, enabling one to sort relevant information from what is irrelevant to one’s trading decisions, often in seconds, while acting with Zen like calm and confidence in one’s trading signals. If only… The reality of course is very different for most traders: There is information overload, self doubt, and monkey mind chatter covering up many internal value conflicts as we are pushing against our thresholds in the pursuit of trading mastery. Now we are getting to the reality of trading… I bet what I described above sounds only too familiar to many of you. Most traders think that once they have their trading system down, that’s it. Job done and the profits will keep rolling in from now on. The shock is big when they realize this is not so, and they become aware that the path to mastery is an ongoing thing. It is no different than flying from A to B, you know where you are going, but you still have to be on the correct course and maintain it. If you belong to that group of traders who realize this you have indeed come a long, long way. To help you speed up the journey to lasting trading success, let’s highlight the biggest hurdle traders have to overcome. It is not what you think it is, because it has nothing to do with your trading system. Your biggest challenge by far is that you have reality back to front. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter and why Buddhist teachings can be of immense benefit to your trading and your life in general. Your reality, and this includes everything you perceive outside of you, is not the result of some force separate from you that is creating circumstances outside of you, over which you have no control, rather what you observe outside of you originates from within you. In other words: Everything, and this of course includes your trading results, has been created by you. Now, I know that this idea might sound pretty unpalatable. We are so used to blaming market conditions, the Fed, Obama and the weather for our lacklustre states of mind and performance. I also call it the victim hood attitude. Our society has been built on the victim hood attitude. We are so immersed in the idea that we are at the mercy of life that we have forgotten about the essence of our being. This is exactly were Buddhist teachings come in. Buddhism teaches us about our inherent powers and that we are the essence of the universe, not living in this universe as a separate entity. Once you get this core wisdom you can liberate yourself from the false concepts and illusions that keep you imprisoned in a world of subconscious inner conflict and helplessness. Without your conscious knowledge you are constantly going against your intrinsic nature. You are on a confrontational course with everything that exists, causing you pain and suffering which can be avoided, if only you understood yourself better. It took me many years to embody this piece and translate into a formula that can improve our (trading) lives. From those insights my first book on the psychology of trading, “The Buddhist Trader” was born. Buddhism teaches us about our true nature: It teaches us how we create our reality from within. It teaches us the art of mindfulness through self observation. Buddhism teaches us how we can discover the unseen, eternal and absolute truths of the world by becoming still and going within. Scientists and many great thinkers are paving the new path of of discovery: Quantum physics is proving to us what the wisdom traditions have talked about in the language of their time for thousands of years. The recent discoveries in the field of quantum physics are paradigm changing and are beginning to shift the entire matrix of our existence as more and more people are beginning to wake up to the falsehoods of old beliefs. Can all this assist you to improve your trading? Absolutely. Traditionally trading has been thought to be a linear pursuit. The idea of strict discipline and rule abiding, no matter what, has been the underpinnings of trading success. Emotions are the enemy of the efficient trader who is excepted to operate like a machine… There are only two problems with this approach: 1) Nothing in the universe operates in a linear fashion. There is one law that underpins reality and that is the law of infinite possibilities. In the strictest sense of the word, there are no laws in the universe. We are the ones that are creating the laws. 2) We believe our conditioned parts are reality, when in fact the part in us which is still, and open to all possibility is the essence of our being. Most traders have no idea where to find that part of themselves, since it is completely covered up by their conditioned selves. And this leads me to another vital point directly related to point 2: Emotions are a vital part of our human energetic matrix. However they need to be understood and this requires us to differentiate between our conditioned emotional responses and reading the energetic frequency that runs on the grid of the emotion without the content we have assigned to it. How we create stories through which we see our world is a subject entirely on its own, which I will address in another article. Buddhism teaches us to see the world for what it is, free from content, free from judgement. When the shackles of illusion are dropped you will not only be able to see so much more of what is “hiding” on your charts, but you will become calmer and able to respond to the flow of the markets, and that means the universe, without being constantly distracted by the inner back and forth of the monkey mind. Learning to detach from outward results is the core of the journey, and well worth your effort. When you stop identifying with your trades and realise that your trading, good, bad, or indifferent has nothing to do with your authentic self, but is just a mirror of the conditioned aspect of your being, you are setting yourself free well and truly. Why? Because you can change your conditioning. It is manmade, we created it. I learnt all the above on the path to trading with consistency and know it to be true. Does it stop me from losing? No, losing is part of the trading game. However, living the above principles has enabled me to stay out of my own way and react to myself and the markets in a much more compassionate manner. Trading, the markets are simply an aspect of oneness of this universe. The markets are a reflection of you, you are a reflection of the markets. Intelligent energy flows through everything we observe. When you learn to tune into this energy and activate your intuitive senses you have a trading edge second to none. This to me is by far the greatest benefit traders get from immersing themselves into the study of Buddhist wisdom. Are you ready to join me? By Mercedes Oestermann van Essen Mercedes Oestermann van Essen is a trader, author and trading psychologist. She has written several books on the psychology of trading. Her 8 module on-line course offers traders a chance to create a live transformational shift over 8 weeks, which goes beyond improving their trading.