So much of what the PMP is about has to do with an awareness of a different performance reality. Yes, we call at the zone, or flow, or the peak performance state. But it’s so much more than “getting in the zone.” So much more than just playing better or winning more often – although that’s the main reason people want to learn how to intentionally get in the zone. Most people think of the zone as a means to an end. A process that will give them a better outcome. And they would be right. Playing in the zone often gives you a better outcome. But winning more often is only one of the reasons players want to get in the zone. There are other reasons: excellence, full potential, self-actualization, just to name a few. Perhaps it’s just curiosity; it doesn’t matter. What matters is that athletes want to see what this “zone thing” is all about.
So we show them, and the zone experience is magnetic. Once people experience it, they inevitably want more. But the deeper question is why – why do people always want more of this flow state experience? What is it about flow that always calls people back for more? Yes, they always play better when they are in the zone, and that might be the primary reason they come back for more, but there is a deeper reason that has to do with far more than just checks in the win column. Something so deep that unless you stand outside the whole flow process, you cannot see it working. Something that underlies the human capacity for co-creating a flow state, and that something is an evolutionary drive towards greater wholeness.
Flow is human wholeness in action, not just playing better, but playing whole. And in that wholeness, if even for the span of a few minutes, evolutionary tracks are laid down. Tracks that pave the way for creative advance at whatever our stage of development. One person “in the zone” doesn’t seem like much in the grand pattern of the cosmos. But that one person in a state of flow is also one person in a 1-to-1 relationship with that grand pattern itself. And those 1-to-1 tracks, however small and insignificant they might seem, are tracks of oneness with the cosmos; tracks of wholeness laid down in the present that will have momentous effect on the future.
What flow brings to the evolutionary picture is not just peak performance, but rather a higher-order reality in which everything is different; all that was is included in all that now is, but in order to live this higher-order reality, one must transcend their normal reality and all its limitations. Not an easy sell in this age of rampant narcissism and virtual reality. The higher-order reality of flow is about as far from virtual as you can get. It’s real, and it’s a reality that lies within the reach of all human beings, because it is a reality that already and always lies within all human beings. More exactly, a fully- potentiated reality that arises as this 1-to-1 interplay we call flow.
Part of what we do when we teach people to get in the zone is to introduce them to this 1-to-1 reality. But the deeper teach is to introduce them to their own 1-to-1 self; their own Authentic Self. And it is with the awakening of their Authentic Self that they come face-to-face with who they really are and who they can become if they choose to take this evolutionary ride towards greater wholeness.
Should they take this ride? That’s up to them. Many won’t, such is the vice-like grip of ego. But many will, and for them there awaits the ride of their life. We cannot take that ride for them, but we most certainly can take that ride with them. And it is a curious ride indeed!