It should come as no surprise that a top sports professional like Johnny Wilkinson should be extending his reading. The worlds of business, art and spirituality carries many philosophies that sports professionals can apply to improve their mentalities.
It is easy to see how the principles of Buddah can be effective in a sporting context. Especially the doctrine of learning to be in the moment. Being in the moment means not being subject to the failures of the past, or the possibilities of the future. It is about being fully in the here and now. Senses alive. Senses alert. Senses fully aware. Aware of what you see. What you hear. What you feel.
When your senses are fully active, it brings your instinct out to play. The instinct is directly connected to your senses. The instinct relies on them for it’s information. When your instinct is active, then you become fully in tune with the rhythms and patterns of the game. You find yourself in exactly the right position. At the right time. Making the right decisions. All without thought.
The moment you stop to quietly celebrate to yourself upon how well you are playing, then it’s gone. You lose it.
The trick is to not react to your own performance. To not get over excited. To simply stay committed to doing what you are doing. Watching. Hearing. Feeling. It will feel good. May be a little strange. May be it won’t feel like the you, you normally know. But this state of affairs will become the norm the more you practise it.
At some point, you will have an experience that is known as ‘deep play’. ‘Deep play’ is the state of affairs whereby the game plays the player. Not the other way round.
When the game plays the player, then you will find yourself doing things you weren’t even aware that you could do. Pulling off amazing saves; taking impossible catches; scoring audacious goals. Memorable moments. Moments you will remember forever. When the game played the player. That will keep you playing in search of more such experiences.
But remember – don’t go looking or pressing for them. Let them find you. Keep to the basics of staying in the moment. It takes patience. But the rewards are immeasurable.