The zone, as it’s called. The warm satisfaction of finding the right key and making it hum. We know it immediately, an alignment of will, intent and purpose that resonates as if a string were plucked on a musical instrument.
Unfortunately this can be a fleeting experience, so how can we foster and maintain this highly creative state?
Zen Buddhism has practical applications which can help us here. It recognises the inherent paradox in ‘trying not to try’ and creates a space between the doer and the action that enables a mindfulness of context to balance a singular focus. Kyudo is one of these.
Essentially what happens is a merging or coalescence of the archer, the bow and arrow with the target in a conscious sense. This requires the mind to be empty of all other thought and may only exist for a split second but it is then that the arrow is released.
Surfers know this feeling well when they choose the moment to ride a wave, in fact most action sports require this fusion to achieve a goal and there is an electric tension in the air when teamwork takes over and similar to a flock of birds in flight, group movements can be performed that would not be possible by an individual. A certain type of energy seems to take over.
Even Zen gardens cultivate a meditative space by the simplicity of contextual juxtaposition such as bonsai, rocks and water. Zen painting also illustrates by what it doesn’t show, literally forcing us to ‘read between the lines’. The meaning is transmitted through the space created by the form.
We have a tendency to ‘get in our own way’ with our overuse of the conscious mind. The old adage of ‘sleeping on it’ recognises this, allowing the subsconcious and superconscious minds to balance the equation. Meditation also depends on emptying the mind of conscious thought to reach a state of equanimity and identification with the inner instead of the outer.
The synergy of mind, body and action are also at the heart of Tai Chi, the health benefits being well documented and widely understood. It is as though we are musical instruments that thrive on producing harmonic energy.
Each one of us are able to find our own ‘sweet spot’ by doing that which we love. The degree of benefit increases the more one merges into that space.
Extreme Sports participants could well agree with the Master in the Kung Fu television series:
‘Grasshopper, for he who has no fear, there is no place for the arrow to enter’.
Now that’s getting your mojo back.