Most tennis players, footballers or in fact all sports people, have experienced the strong influence the mind has on their play. One day everything goes right and the next nothing seems to work, even though physically there has been no change. The body knows how to play the sport but the nervous mind creates tension that constrains the body. In the sports world players are encouraged to develop “mental toughness.” I believe the change has to be made in peace of mind through awareness and watchfulness, and in finding the place of silence where sport meets meditation.
I find it easiest to watch my mind when I compete in a challenging situation. When I play any sport I usually catch myself somewhere other than on the game, whatever it is I play. When I work with sportsmen and women their body knows exactly what do they just need to be fully present. The mind creates all kinds of doubts and frustrations, and often these are projected onto the game sport or individual. Taking responsibility in this instance requires sharing, and I often ask sportsmen and women to share what is going on for them after a few minutes of play. Admitting what is really going on creates space for relaxation and change. I always discover that our life patterns reappear in our game. The solution required is unlearning through awareness and letting go. I noticed my anger transform to joy as I gave myself the freedom to get it wrong.
As a child whenever I expressed frustration and anger I punished my-self and things became worse. I learned to suppress these emotions in life, and this was reinforced whenever I play sports. Today I value the ability that at times I remain cool and non-judgemental. I notice that some days I have an emotional response to almost every challenge, be it “good” or “bad.” And I know that if I always breathe, fully and consciously exhaling this makes an enormous difference in feeling connected and present in my body. I am now allowing my childhood passion, Horses to come back with a completely different mindset. My creativity can flow when I am aware and watching my body mind and emotions. And most importantly for me accept the happiness they give me.
If every sports person put awareness, meditation and sport together – can you imagine!!!! No words to describe this phenomenon.