Many factors define performance and yet perception is perhaps the master key. Human experience is a cocktail of thought, feeling and action and our level of perception correlates with our access to the now. The best baseball players decide where the ball will go before the ball leaves the pitchers glove. The best footballers know which way the goalkeeper will dive by the subtle observation of their hip position. Perception is the level of awareness of our external and internal environments. Our level of perception increases when our focus is the present moment.
When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises. You become more conscious of what’s around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.
Many of the greatest athletes on the planet relish their sport because it demands their focus in the present moment. The present moment ensures freedom from the hindrances of the mind. Any thought takes one away from presence and fixates attention on the illusory self. A great deal of our behaviour is mechanical and we use attention in well defined patterns.
I noticed a pattern of attention while driving in my car this afternoon. As I met the familiar heavy traffic on my least favourite motorway, my heart literally sank. I noticed my attention going within and fixating on this feeling within. My perception became small and the external world became extinct. I then decided to focus my attention on the present. I remembered a different state I experience in sitting, which I have labelled meditation, and the perception opened up. I became aware of the sounds around me and a sense of alertness flooded the being.
Simply notice where your attention is right now.
Where is the awareness drawn naturally and what pattern do you notice?
What happens when you open up perception? Allow all of the senses to open up to your environment.
Meditation is a popular hobby in this fast paced world and science is providing a lot of evidence for its power. It has been a faithful ally for much of my life and it is only when this is applied in the activity of life that I feel any sense of achievement. Opening up our wavelength and perception in the daily activities of life, moment by moment is the modern life of a yogi. Whatever your pursuit, opening up your senses to the here and now in the heat of battle is the challenge. Are we able to palpate a deep sense of peace within the cauldron of life? This is the challenge I set myself and open the gauntlet to you.
Our bodies are extremely sensitive to the moment. Awareness has a natural flow and responds to the most subtle of changes in the environment. Every word creates a feeling in the body. The words that we say and hear impact our system. Every space we enter influences us deeply. Our thoughts affect our experience of life deeply. Think about an activity that you absolutely love to do. Just imagine yourself doing this activity. And feel how this impacts your physiology. Your body feels instantly different. The patterns that we cultivate in our system impact our whole experience of life. Life itself is neutral. It is our filters that colour and shape our experience.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha
Cultivate a connection to the present in your activity of choice. Simply notice the response of the body in the moment. Allow the mind to be silent in the background and the senses are fully engaged in the reality of now. Every action done with full attention cultivates this pattern and we gradually slip out of the tyranny of the mind. We use a fraction of the perception available. As the Buddha says, be here fully now with your whole being and experience deep peace your chosen arena.