Buzzing from the caffeine, nervous, full of adrenaline and excitement.
The crowd of 40,000 is pumping, yelling, singing. All I can smell is beer coming from the famous south stand at Hong Kong Stadium, home to the biggest Sevens Rugby event in the world.
So many thoughts are flickering through my head during the warmup:
“Wow, this is absolutely amazing.”
“Man, it’s hot.”
“The opposition are freaks. How will I stop them?”
“I’m worn out already, and it’s only the warmup. I am not fit enough for this!”
“My fiancee and family is watching; I want to do well and make them proud.”
“Don’t stuff this up!”
“Shit, the ball is slippery. Don’t drop it!”
“I can’t believe I’m here!”
Truth is I cannot control what thoughts I have, and even if I tried to, it would take a shitload more effort than it is worth. Trying to control thought = more thinking and a cluttered head. Knowing all thought is neutral = clarity.
One thing allows me to flow through every moment, every up and down of thought and feeling, with an underlying ease beyond the surface of my nerves, fears, and excitement.
I KNOW that, as real as it all seems, what I am feeling is NOT coming from the things outside of me. The actual fact is all I am feeling is the creative energy of thought flowing through me. This universal energy of thought is absolutely 100% neutral.
Every single result I’m concerned about or every instance in that game that my thinking is projecting on in the future is not a reality. And there is one thing my personal thinking cannot predict about the future—the invisible power we all possess only in the moment to just show up and play.
I feel a deep peace inside myself. No matter what happens, my life is great and things will keep unfolding exactly as they are meant to.
Show up and just play. That’s all you can ever do!
Some moments my mind is almost completely quiet, and some moments I have thoughts flickering away, but it is so powerful knowing they don’t matter. Either way I know I have the capacity to show up and just go for it.
I am so thankful that I have seen past the common misconception that many people have: that we need to be in a particular state of mind to perform at our best. Innocently believing that the feelings we are having come from the game we are about to play or some other life situation. Then believing that we have to get our unruly mind under control in order to perform otherwise we will have a shocker. This is simply not true. Understanding the nature of thought is enough.
State of Mind = Variable.
Capacity to Perform = Constant.
People (myself included in the past) often revert to mental techniques handed down by coaches and sports psychologists to try and quieten the mind. But why? Our best performances tend to happen when our head is clear. Trying to clear our mind takes a lot of energy and only tends to lead to more clutter.
Our freedom to perform at our absolute best in life and on the sports field expands when we let the system (in this case our mind) play out as it is designed to do. By letting it be and understanding that it’s not what we are thinking that matters but that we are only feeling our thinking and that’s okay, we leave ourselves open to showing up in the moment for whatever life throws at us.
I relax into the experience that I am having and I am okay with every part of it—both the insecurities and the confidence.
This game is fun; it’s the same one I have been playing since I was a little kid in the backyard with my dad and brother. The opposition aren’t scary; they are just like me. The crowd can’t cause me anxiety; that’s impossible. Some moments I feel absolutely comfortable; some moments I’m shitting myself—not because of the crowd or the results that are on the line but because that is simply the way thought works.
Everything is perfect. I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
The game comes and goes; the scoreboard goes back and forth, as do my feelings.
We lose the game. I’m disappointed with the result, but I’m still buzzing with life and being In this moment. It was tough out there, but I loved it.
The ball was slippery, the opposition were freaks, my lungs were going to explode, and my legs felt as if they were in quicksand. But, out there, in the moment, that was the only way it could be, and it was all great.
We head back to the changing rooms. For a moment, I forget that my feelings only come from thought, not circumstance, and I start to tell myself:
“Phew, that’s over; I can relax now.”
Then an insecure feeling comes.
I remember I am playing a Sevens tournament—six games over two days. The next game is in three hours against another bunch of athletic freaks of nature with the same huge crowd screaming, the loved ones supporting, the keyboard warriors criticizing. This time my body is hurting; my legs are tired; the caffeine has worn off.
How do I do that all over again?
Then a comfort and ease flows through me. It’s impossible to feel anything outside of me ever. I know that whatever task is at hand I can always show up and play, no matter what my state of mind may be in the moment.
I am only ever experiencing the universal energy of thought that flows through every single one of us.
The same ebb and flow of thought and feeling is what follows, some insecure thinking and some clear easy flow. Some feeling states I enjoy; others not so much, but I know it’s all good.
The same underlying love for life is the constant within me throughout every single moment.
The weekend comes to an end.
We won some; we lost some. I made some blunders and had some nice touches. I felt broken and small at times and felt on top of the world at times. Sometimes, I felt lonely, and other times, I felt the brotherhood of my team.
Truth is, all I experienced was the spiritual energy of thought in the moment that flows throw us all via an invisible intelligence far greater than we can ever imagine.
The more I understand this, the more I see that beyond my own personal judgment everything is unfolding as it is meant to be.
And all of it is perfect.
Now, I am curious: Where is it you believe your feelings are coming from moment to moment in all different experiences in life? When sitting at home, feeling anxious, and thinking about the future. When going into a big business presentation feeling nervous. When feeling annoyed with the behaviour of your partner.
What difference would it make for you and how you would approach things if you knew for a fact that all you are ever feeling comes from within you via the energy of thought and depending on the state of mind you are currently in has a direct effect on how you percieve a situation?
You + Misunderstanding = Feeling stuck.
You – Misunderstanding = Insight, freedom, creativity, love, problem solving, flow, inner peace.
New thought means new perspective, which means experiencing the same circumstance through new eyes. How might this change things for you?