Under pressure I can see things very clear?.. ?Once you find that peace, that place of peace and quiet, harmony and confidence, that?s when you start playing your best?? ?(1) ????Roger Federer
For years, decades, I congratulated myself on perfect 20/20 vision. ?Then at some point I discovered my vision, all these years, has been radically distorted, flawed, and blurred, by time.
As a maturing athlete, I am now learning to see.
On Sunday, July 16, 2017, Roger Federer stepped onto the world stage of the Wimbledon Finals, once again, in route to his record 8th Wimbledon Championship. ?One could encounter a poise, a peace and a depth that has been nurtured over many years. ?It was this interior posture that would, once again, carry him to victory. ?As Prince William and Princess Kate and Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and a world-wide audience of millions watched, Roger?s interior equanimity remained a constant to which, in a quiet interior place, he found a way to return again and again?in the midst of a titanic human battle.
How did he discover this path? ?Can I, at this advanced stage of life, find and practice this path? ?Can I find this deep place, for myself? ?Can I find it in the middle of my everyday life and the inevitable challenges?
A small yellow tennis ball hurling through the air at 120 miles per hour seems very urgent to me; it seems urgent to the viewing audience. ??It is why we watch.
It is urgent! ?
From what place does Roger Federer practice seeing this urgent event? ?How does he connect with a timeless place when squeezed by this battle within time? ?How does one develop the ability to see with the equanimity that emerges from a connection with timelessness? ?
How does one develop Flow Vision?
Some athletes today are discovering a path to a connection with timelessness the ascetics have traveled for centuries. ?They are discovering Flow Vision. ?They are discovering Flow Vision through a connection with the place where Time Does Not Flow. (2) ?
When we just be here, that means we stop thinking about the flow of the time and just being here, and be one, just be here?..We become one with the time that doesn?t flow. That means from the beginning-less beginning, and to the endless end, this one seamless moment, time flows only in our thinking, because of my memory about past and my hope about the future, it seems time flows. ?
If we don?t measure time – that means without human beings – from that moment of Big Bang until today, until now, this is one moment?. Before human beings appeared on this planet, there?s no such time flows. I call this eternity. Time that doesn?t flow. (3) ?Shohaku Okumura
And back to the reality of the court and my everyday life:
Some people think that they are just too slow to return a hard shot when they are at net. ?But time is a relative thing, and it really is possible to slow it down. ?Consider: there are 1000 milliseconds in every second. ?That?s a lot of milliseconds. ?Alertness is a measure of how many ?nows? you are alert to in a given period. ??(4) ?????????????????????Timothy Gallwey
One thing I am clear about is that Roger Federer did not discover the deep place, the source of his apparent equanimity, by simply sitting around peacefully, savoring the calm, breathing deeply, and thinking happy thoughts. ??He discovered the deep place by waging war and engaging a cosmic battle; first and last, within himself! ?His inner peace is a peace nurtured through many external and internal wounds. ??But during these battles, Roger stayed awake in the classroom of his body; as have ascetics throughout history. ?
Today there are lots of purveyors of joy juice providing motivational messages, giving talks, selling books, promoting ?self? help and the promise of a fulfilling life discovered by focusing primarily on one?s own belly button and the attainment of all of one?s ?personal needs. ?These ubiquitous teachers seduce us with the tempting promise of avoiding inner conflict and battle and simply taking a deep peaceful breath.
Beware of the false guides. ?
The yellow ball really is flying at 120 mph??at me!
(2) Okumura, Shohaku, Interior Mythos Journeys Interview, The Fiction of Time, Sanshin Zen Community, Bloomington, Indiana, Friday, April 28, 2017.
(3) Okumura, Shohaku, Interior Mythos Journeys Interview, Sanshin Zen Community, The Fiction of Time, Bloomington, Indiana, Friday, April 28, 2017.
(4) Gallwey, W. Timothy, The Inner Game of Tennis, Random House, Inc., New York, NY, 1974: p 84-85.