Playing your sport in the zone is playing your sport in a higher conscious state, and playing in this higher conscious state can turn sport into a transformative practice. It means playing the game in a state of flow, and a flow state is first and foremost a higher state of consciousness, not just because of the difference in brain activity, but because of a difference in the whole interface between your body-mind and its environment. Everything in the environment takes an upward leap – and in the case of your consciousness, that upward leap is the leap of inclusion and expansion of awareness that is integral consciousness.
The sense of oneness you get when you are in a flow state is caused by your body-mind connecting to the whole of the athletic environment, not just serially connecting to the environment’s sequential parts, which is our normal mode of connecting, but when you are in a state of flow, that connection changes from serial to parallel, and with that radically fundamental change in the very core of your functional interface comes a radically fundamental change in your awareness of the environment and the part you play in its co-creation. It’s no longer stepping into a pre-existing reality; it is you as co-creator of the presently-arising reality.
That’s a whole new ballgame, literally, and when you realize that you are the co-creator of your own moment-to-moment reality, it motivates you to take a closer look at the state of consciousness in which you are doing the co-creating. Are you co-creating a partially potentiated reality as your body-mind interfaces with only a portion of what’s available in the environment? Or are you co-creating a fully potentiated reality in which your body-mind is interfacing with the whole of what the environment has to offer?
You probably won’t ask these types of questions until you spend a little time outside your normal performance state with its gross consciousness and serial mode of operation. Your ego could give a rip about questions like these. In fact, your ego will tell you these questions are ridiculous and not worth answering. But with a little time spent in a state of flow, a little time spent with your Authentic Self, you will start to understand that these are the questions of deepest regard for you as a human being. The questions that ask “who am I, really?” and “why am I really here?” Transformational practices make it impossible to avoid these questions.
One of the things that playing tennis in the zone has given me is a sense of oneness with everything. Not just oneness with the game of tennis, but oneness with the whole of the manifest realm as it arises in the flowing present. I know how crazy that sounds. It used a sound crazy to me too, until it started to happen again, and again, and again. Then it wasn’t so crazy after all. It was real, very real. More real than the partial game I had been struggling with my whole life. The partial game that gave me an ulcer at age fourteen. The partial game that never felt complete, never felt whole, and because it never felt whole, neither did I.
Only when I started intentionally playing tennis in the zone did the game feel complete. Only then did I feel complete. And through years of practicing this transformational process, I have come to feel a sense of oneness both on the court and off. And that oneness comes not only from a more natural connection to the flowing present, but from something even deeper, a deeper connection to the Timeless Presence of Spirit. That connection, too, is very real, and it’s the connection that completes me as a human being; the oneness with Presence that is the True Me.