Every day, there are more studies about how we as humans use our brains, our mind and our body. These studies can help us to see the productive and counterproductive ways we have learned, and help us to “fix the scratched LP” of bad habits in our minds. They provide us with many opportunities for learning how to use our body/mind as it is meant to be used.
I found this BBC article about Serena Williams very interesting, because it confirms a thought I have had for a quite some time, that those who practice something which requires refined concentration, develop a “quiet spot” in which to function at high capacity. It shows visibly in highly competitive sports, but also shows in music and the arts, or any other mind focusing skill (mainly ones which require the mind to flow moment by moment, and not “get stuck”) ….. Most Zen masters also refine a practice such as calligraphy, flower arrangement, or archery, as a means of “expressing their mind” through their body.
There is a reason why Bodhidharma, who brought dyana (Chan, Zen meditation) to China, and is considered the first patriarch of Chinese Chan Buddhism, is also known in China as the father of gong fu (Kung Fu). I believe he was teaching the practice of moving chan…. movement, free of analytical considerations, which actually slow a person down in high action situations. This is also what Bruce Lee realized, practiced, and taught in his Jeet Kun Do.
Yogi Berra quote “How can you think and hit a baseball at the same time?”
I also noted a book : Basketball and Philosophy by Jerry Walls and Gregory Bassham, where basketball players were urged by their coach, Phil Jackson (raised a Pentecostal) the coach of the L.A. Lakers, to read Zen Mind Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki , and to learn how to practice zazen.
Here is a quote from that book:
I remember a quote about Shunryu Suzuki, when one of his sangha members took him to a baseball game, and he noted how one of the players was “very much present in his body”…… noting that he could see it from the way the baseball player walked out onto the field. I thought it was an interesting comment for a Zen master to make……
This is pretty interesting stuff! 🙂
When one peels the layers off, this is all about how to use our body/mind, and how to live free to focus, and free from “binding fixations”.
This topic also brings up the question of what practices can we do to rid ourselves of the minds tendency to be unsatisfied and do the monkey mind (jumping all over the place).
I do believe that these things are all tied together, and can be peeled off layer by layer, for a more healthy body/mind, and a more satisfying life.