Sunday, May 23, 2010

Being in the zone

We have all felt it at least for a moment. Time becomes irrelevant and there is a sense of being connected with a magical flow. You become so immersed in your activity that there is no separation and it feels effortless. Thinking and feeling come together in a sublime dance. Instead of questions there is a deep sense of knowing. Being in the zone is when the mind, body, and spirit are in perfect balance.

Once we have experienced the zone we want to return. What does it take to be in the zone? It takes discipline. loving what you do and the ability to let go. Being is the zone is a gift but it also has to be earned. When you see someone doing something that looks effortless, it is the result of hard work, focus and dedication. Being in the zone is the reward for all these efforts.

The observer can feel and easily see when someone else is in the zone. There is a sense of peace, a touch of euphoria, a feeling of being relaxed and the appearance of being connected with something beyond that individual. It is inspiring and exciting to witness.

Many athletes experience being in the zone from time to time. Surfers must have a keen sensitivity to the power of the ocean. They need to connect with that power to ride the wave. The smoothest rides happen after years of practice building the proper muscles, learning how to catch the swell and having a calm mind. As Laird Hamilton, one of the surfing legends describes it, "It's almost like the twilight zone where time stops for a moment and you're in a place where there is no beginning and no end. It's probably one of the truest forms of living in the moment that we have on this earthly plane -- before we go."

Yoga is about union and balance. Many yoga poses are difficult and take practice and skill to accomplish. But even a basic pose can be challenging when you focus on it completely and use your breath to go deeply into the pose. We can experience being in the zone in yoga when your body and mind work together to find balance and equanimity. No ego is involved. No matter what pose you are doing, it feels open and free. Meditation can bring us the feeling of being in the zone. Sitting with a quiet mind is one of life's biggest challenges.

We can't predict or control when we will arrive "in the zone". Once we become aware of it, it's gone. When we are in the zone we can lose our egos without feeling lost. But we find ourselves in a place where our inner and outer worlds come together in seamless harmony.

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