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Thursday, April 5, 2012

THE ZONE



        Poets, mystics and players of professional sports all seek out the same flow experience.

It's something that's experienced in the mind, when the body is pumping at peak efficiency.

It's an experience of incredible clarity, when there is no time for thought.

        If you think, your reflexes are slowed. When the full flow of freely associating words

passes through you like a river of pristine water, you can't think, all you can do is scribble

down what is happening, what you're hearing and seeing.

       When you're at the net in tennis, it's best when there's nothing in your mind

but pure attention in the moment. If you start doubting yourself, say in your head, "I can't

do this," then you're not paying attention and you'll miss the quick ball, and you won't

be able to respond because you've prevented the body from responding fast and

naturally.

        It's the same for the ultimate endeavour, the hunting of the mystic for that

timeless secret moment when you know the answer to all the questions you've been

plaguing yourself about. Rationality leads the old grey rat into the dead-end alley,

but reason will never get him past the impossible situation, the brick wall at the end

of the alley, the paradox to which all analytical thinking leads.

         To me this is the true sport, the ultimate experience of pursuit, the miraculous moment

of Discovery we all know in our genes is the purpose of our birth. In the east it's called

"kensho",  "satori",  "enlightenment".  In the west, we describe this moment we seek

by such mysterious phrases as "the Grail", "the philosopher's stone" that alchemical moment when

the lead within you turns to the gold, when the 'great doubt' turns to the great knowing

experience, when finally we may thankfully say: "It is enough."

          Words will not get you there, to that pure land where you need to go.  Thinking

sure will not get you there. Thinking can only lead you to that place where you

must stop thinking.  And images we use as signposts along the way to realization,

these images must dissolve into that formless place where there are no images.

           In the west we call that place by names such as "the plenum void" or  "paradise"

"heaven", or that place from which all definitions come. The meaning of this place we describe

is what the early Christians used to refer to as "eternal life," and the place the zen people refer to

as the foundation,  your original name.

           These are things that are said when you are in that place: "Before Abraham was, I am."

            Or, "Between heaven and earth, I alone exist."


            Through us the earth comes to know itself.

             Through us, the universe realizes its own Mind.


              Names don't matter.  What matters is that all great explorers and searchers, those who

risk death, and step beyond the village gates, all of us seek the same place that is beyond time

and place. All of us, whatever the religion, we all seek the same thing, call it  divine,

if you wish. Call it home.

              This place is found in the zone.

               Space is not the final frontier. The inner ocean of the human mind is the final frontier.                                                          


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