SPIRIT AND SPORT
By Scott Ford
What I find fascinating about the transformational process is that transformation requires a letting go of the old in order for the new to emerge. For subject to become object one must "let go" of the subject, and that letting go process is inherent to integral consciousness and flowing presence. Flowing presence is the very definition of letting go, of non-attachment; a flowing present dimension does not cling to either past or future, but is touched by both, is surrounded by both, includes and transcends both.
That's a delicate balancing act to pull off, and yet with practice, a state of flowing presence becomes a state of choice, one that is stabilized over time and preferred over other states, mostly because it is more effective as a state of being. Relative time is ever-flowing, so it benefits us as human beings to enter into a one-to-one relationship with the flow of time. Transformational practices show us exactly how to do just that, and because these practices develop our ability to connect with the flowing present in a one-to-one interface, they are simultaneously practices that develop our ability to live a life of non-attachment. A life in which we do not cling to the past nor fear the future, but rather rest in the reality of all that is, right here, right now.
But that's not all that happens when we develop our ability to live a life of flowing presence. That life of presence in the relative domain of space and time allows us to recognize the ever-present nature of the absolute domain; the Eternal Presence of Spirit by whatever name we call it. And with that realization comes a deep sense of belonging, of oneness with the One, an understanding of our deepest nature, our deepest identity, our True Self.
Conscious flow in sports is a transformational practice that, over time, can become a spiritual practice that is very different from the traditional spiritual practices of organized religion. Traditional spiritual practices are appropriate for some, but sorely lacking for others, especially in an ever-growing secular society. But the immediacy of playing your sport in the zone is the immediacy of Spirit-in-Action, with or without a religious bent. Spend enough time "in the zone" and you begin to realize the simultaneity of relative and absolute. The flowing presence of the game takes place simultaneously with and within the Eternal Presence of Spirit. The game is Spirit. Spirit is the game. And being one with the flowing present opens us up to the recognition that we are simultaneously one with the Eternal Present. One with Spirit.
Simultaneity means "existing at the same time." Flowing presence exists at the same time as Eternal Presence. Eternal Presence exists at the same time as flowing presence. What that means in sport is that Spirit exists at the same time as the sport we are playing. Spirit and sport, Spirit and life, are simultaneous, and by entering into a state of oneness with the flowing present, it is easier to recognize that we are simultaneously in a state of oneness with Eternal Presence, a state of oneness with Spirit.
For many this will sound like spiritual babble. But to them I would suggest "don't knock it till you try it." How can you call playing in the zone spiritual babble until you get in the zone and experience it for yourself? It's intellectually tacky to condemn an experience until you have had the experience. If, after having the experience of playing in the zone, you still wish to call it spiritual babble – then fine. You've made your judgments on one experience of playing in the zone. Of course, the fact that you played so much better when you are in the zone will probably be reason enough for you to come back to the experience again and again, now that you’ve learned how to reproduce it. And by returning to a state of flowing presence again and again, you will eventually “let go” enough to come to the realization that something deeper lies beneath your experience of playing in the zone; something underneath it all, something always already there, a stillness, a calm, and emptiness in which and with which all that is form arises. Underneath is all is the simultaneity of Spirit.
You can ignore Spirit all you want, but you cannot avoid its ever-present simultaneity, and it is this simultaneity of flowing and Eternal Presence that is the simultaneity of form and emptiness, the simultaneity of relative and Absolute, of manifest and unmanifest. The simultaneity of sport and Spirit.
Sport is Spirit: Spirit is sport.
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