Tennis is a game that requires moving from one moment to another at lightning speed. To win most of the points, you need to let go of each moment as it passes by. It is common to hear players saying to themselves "play one point at a time and don't give up until the last point of the match has ended." This implies that in order to win, the player needs to be able to stay focused on what is happening on every point without getting caught on the experience of the previous point.
The way to do this is by training the mind to remain present with each moment as it unfolds. This doesn't mean to fight the mind from thinking about the past. It means being able to remain present with the reality of the present moment without getting caught in the wishes of what could've been or what you would have liked to happen. It means getting out of your own way by training the mind to flow according to what is taking place right now.
We all have had this sense of complete connection with what we are doing. Whether it has been while we are painting, making love, reading, dancing, or watching the sunset, we all have had this sense of deep immersion where we seem one with the world. In tennis, the player can get into a zone where it is impossible to miss and the ball seems to go exactly where the player wants it to go. Everything seems to flow and there is an effortlessness that is intoxicating. This type of "effortless oneness" with the world can be experienced by anybody in the most unexpected moments and without the slightest idea of how one gets there.
I have spent a big chunk of my life studying this type of experience. My interest emerged out my own experience as a tennis player, noticing that during times when I was playing my best tennis, I had a deep connection with my surroundings. It seemed as if nothing could go wrong and there were no limits to how good I could play. About 4 years after I retired from tennis competition, I began to understand the meaning of this deep connection through the practice of meditation.
I was invited by a tri-athlete friend of mine to a San Diego Zen Temple to meditate. It was a Saturday morning at about 6:30 AM and I was meditating with about another 100 people in this temple. At the beginning it seemed crazy. I was sitting on the floor on top of a cushion with my eyes slightly opened and facing this white wall, simply observing my experience of breathing. A half an hour of meditation had gone by, however, when I realized that I was re-experiencing what I had experienced during my best moments as a tennis player…
I was completely focused on the present moment, being able to hear even the breathing of a fly near by.
The moment I realized that the deep connection I experienced at the top of my game could be experienced in meditation, I had differing thoughts.
On one hand, I wished I would have known about awareness meditation back when I was competing in professional tennis. It would have been invaluable to me and I know I would have been able to raise my game to unforeseen levels of success. On the other hand, I was grateful and thrilled to discover how to quiet my mind and raise my level of focus regardless of the task I may be doing in any given moment.
How about you…
Would you like to have the ability to become completely focused and accomplish results in your life with effortlessness and precise attention?
We may all have different talents to potentially accomplish great things in life but one of the skills we need to develop is our ability to remain focused both during mundane tasks and tasks that require great attention.
This is the kind of skill that Phil Jackson developed with the Bulls to win 6 NBA championships and now three other ones with the Lakers. Would you like to set unprecedented standards in your field and shatter all expectations beyond belief? If you are at all interested in optimizing your potential, you must not get caught in the fantasy world of your mind and lose touch with reality. You must wake up from your dream-like state and be grounded in the real world.
To realize your potential, you must stay focused, and to stay focused you must be aware. And to be aware you must regularly train your mind to stay out of your own way.
The great difference between living a mediocre life and one that transcends the norm is awareness, awareness, awareness.
Although there are many ways to do it, one of the most efficient ways to awaken your awareness is through the regular practice of meditation. Regardless of the way you do it, commit yourself to a regular practice of self-awareness and watch your life transform from just living to living extraordinarily happen right in front of your eyes.
See you in the making!!! Have a beautiful moment-to-moment discovery!!!
Ruben Perczek, Ph.D
Guiding business leaders accelerate the pace by which they