In the Zone, that place where only the present exists and life seems easy, connected, and abundant. It is a phrase often associated with sports, as in a player is IN THE ZONE. Think of Michael Jordan, unconscious on the court, every shot goes in as if guided from above. He shrugs his shoulders almost in disbelief. Every athlete has felt this, this zone where everything clicks, and the mind is fully present in the NOW away from any thought of fear, doubt, or failure.
I have felt this. I have felt this on a mountain as my steps synchronize with my breath and the aches in my body disappear. My mind is hyper alert noticing minute details and activity that I normally wouldn’t see. I have no thoughts of the way things should be or the way things have been before. I lose every thought of doubt, every thought that makes me small and insignificant on this planet. I am connected to every breath, one in and one out. I am connected to everything. This body, this shell no longer exists. I am the Sun, I am the rain. I am a child. I am everything.
Living In the Zone is not just about climbing mountains, or shooting baskets. It is life. The Universe has presented this opportunity for every living being. The opportunity to choose. The opportunity to LIVE, truly live IN THE ZONE at all times. This presence, this meticulous presence in every moment. The presence of truly listening to another human being without thoughts in your head in what you will say or what is on your mind. It is breathing in another’s thoughts, feelings and emotions and fully getting this. Living In the Zone is about presence in everything you do.
This is the practice of Zen. This presence is instilled into everything. It is being present while you clean, or cook, or walk. This is why in the East it is common not to read or watch TV while one eats. To fully experience every bite, every breath. This is the experience of putting away your phone or laptop when you talk to someone and BEING PRESENT with them. This is meditation while we are awake, a singular thought for each singular moment. One breath, one exhalation, one moment at a time as if time itself stops.
Zen monks practice this singular awareness in every activity they do. Many things will open for you when you become present. The level of integrity that you have in your tasks will increase as you will notice details that never existed before. The multitasking mind played the game with you that your way of being was good enough. As you open to the awareness of NOW and full presence your world will expand. You will hear and see an expanded world. No longer will you accept a chaotic mind that only partially gives to another or to the task in front of you. You will become fully present with every living being and you will become impeccable. Because this is who you are, an impeccable being, full of love and presence on this planet.
As the fear and doubt dissipate within you, your existing world will seem small. You will have an itch to explore and expand your footprint. You will have an itch to enrich the lives of those around you. You will hear it and see it. You will definitely feel it. The world will search you out. You are this impeccable, powerful force filled with love committed to making a difference on this planet. The world is thirsty for you. The world is thirsty for the authentic you living IN THE ZONE.
This is you. Fully present, life seems easy. You feel warm and you smile. You smile because you know how powerful of a force that you are on this planet and you are connected, you are one. You are me, I am you.
Call to Action:
- Play the game that every breath, every moment on this planet is RIGHT NOW. Nothing else exists.
- Whenever you find thoughts that arise of fear and doubt or that are NOT in the present moment, push these aside, and focus on your breath. Every moment, every act, every living being is that of grace. Treat it this way.
- Be LOVE.
Namaste, and blessings…
Thomas D. Craig
Author of A Cup of Buddha
Seeker. Adventurer. Warrior