"A good surfer is happy to get a good ride. A great surfer creates a great ride." - Don Sharp
My workout partner Don and I were sitting around today after the time of physical exercise, and we ended up talking about surfing, tennis, basketball, woodcarving, and what it takes to get into The Zone in any activity.
When you first learn a new sport, or any new activity, your head is full of the rules, and the techniques and tips you've learned. They guide you into the new performance. But, as long as they're consciously in your head, they also inhibit your performance. You focus on them, and on whatever they direct you to notice and do. That process can get you from the level of beginner to a higher plane. But it can't take you all the way to mastery.
The master is no longer rehearsing and consulting rules and tips. He or she is picking up details in a mostly unconscious way, and adapting, adjusting, and using those details to create something new. A surfer who is advanced can let go of the self conscious mental chatter that the beginner needs. He or she becomes one with the wave and with the ride.
Don tells me that after a great couple of hours in the surf, he sometimes has trouble remembering the details. It's almost as if all the conscious processes of noticing and remembering were turned off. Thinking gives way to being. The unconscious takes over. And then, great things happen.
How do you get to this point? Practice. Experience. Immersion. Doing. And then, eventually, you'll enter the promised land of being.
May you have the great blessing to do something where you can just be.