The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, March 05, 2012

Sport and Spirit


Last Saturday's Diamond Hour radio show was just fabulous. I interviewed former NFL linebacker David Meggyesy, founder of the Esalen Sports Institute, who teaches extensively on the connection between sport and spirituality, or higher consciousness.

This is yet another instance of high-level performance being linked to non-ordinary states of consciousness. One of the lovely things about David's work is that he has demonstrated BOTH that high performers operate in these odd mental realms, and that if you teach ordinary athletes to access these states, their performance improves.

David also said that if you "scratch an athlete, you find a mystic." That almost all these guys have experiences they are not comfortable talking about in the media, but that in quiet conversations they will discuss time distortion, perceptions of "unity" with opponents, ability to control pain and energy that has nothing to do with their ordinary, external lives...and that they rarely discuss publicly. David, bless his heart, is trying to push beyond that!

A couple of critical things that David believes help to access these states:

1) Taking responsibility for your personal experience. You are not controlled by external actions. YOU decide how you are going to feel on a daily basis.

2) A commitment to something larger than yourself. Team, society, God...something.

Further, he considers that these two things are actually two sides of the same coin. It was a great conversation! He mentioned that dealing with fear was one of the most important things to handle. I've mentioned the perspective that fear and love compete for control of your heart. Reduce--or reinterpret--the fear, and you leave more room for the positive emotions.

A specific tactic he suggested is having a "conversation" with the fear. Asking it what it wants, what it represents. Ask what would happen if you "felt the fear and did it anyway." And then take that conversation to the end of the line.

"What would happen if I did go skiing?

You might break your leg.

"And if I broke my leg, then what?"

Well, you might lose your job.

"And if I lost my job, then what?"

You'd be out on the street.

"And if I was out on the street, then what?"
You'd be humiliated and starving...

Really follow it down, see if it makes sense. Give your fear a voice, and youmight learn something valuable and liberating!


No comments: