I was watching Indian captain MS Dhoni's eyes when he hit the sixer that catapulted India to victory at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 on Saturday night. Only someone with numbing focus and meditative concentration, oblivious to the utter mayhem and cacophony all around, can play a shot like that. It was the definitive, you-guys-can-take-this stroke from a cricketer wanting to leave a permanent stamp on the game.
To be fair, many such definitive shots have been played, match winning and otherwise. But it was one of the few I would categorize as belonging to The Zone. Spiritual expert Jaya Row who once defined the Zone to me. "Its your ability to disconnect totally from the world outside and be in total control of your mind and body for that moment," she had told me.
I have always wondered about the role of spirituality (secular) in our lives. Ms Row, a Vedanta expert, defined ita appropriately. "Think of Sachin Tendulkar when he is facing a bowler. Look at his face," she said. She didn't have to explain further. The question is do you need a do-or-die sporting event to achieve this state of total concentration ? World class sportsmen get there most of the time because they are trained to. Conversely, they make mistakes when they slip out of the Zone.
Can I Do It
Interestingly, this phase of inner silence and external concentration is something that we all aspire for. We slip in and out frequently but usually find it difficult to stay put for longer periods. Some of us find it easier to hit the Zone early morning, some late evening. Most successful and happy people spend more time in the Zone. Note, the two are not mutually exclusive.
The Zone is not an agressive place, as I understood it. The motivation might be agression, like in a sporting event. But it might also be an attempt to find a peaceful interlude. The destination is the same. There are many things to take away from a sporting victory. One is to become a cricketer and enjoy a nation's adulation. The other is to learn from them and find your Zone. And enjoy it !