We’ve all been told about the importance of body-mind unification to the peak performance experience, but what we haven’t been told is how the body and the mind are actually unified, much less how that unification process works to create a higher level of performance. So while body-mind unification is critical to peak performance, there still remains an equally critical question: how do you do it? How do you unify your body and your mind?
One process for unifying body and mind is to unify them in time and space, more exactly, the temporal and spatial dimension of moment-to-moment “flowing presence.” The idea being that the body, the sensorimotor operating system, is always in the flowing present dimension, so if the mind can be brought into the same temporal dimension, then you will have an overall state of body-mind unification in time and space – the time and space of flowing presence.
What this means is that not only would your body and mind be unified in time and space but the time and space in which they are being unified is the time and space of your moment-to-moment athletic environment. So what you actually get is your body, your mind, and the athletic environment being unified with and within the flowing present dimension.
In other words, you’re not just unifying your body and your mind, but you are unifying them with the athletic environment itself, which is why you play so much better when you are in a state of body-mind unity. It’s not just your body and your mind that are being unified with the flowing present dimension of the athletic environment, but the flowing present dimension of the athletic environment is returning the favor by being unified with your body and your mind. It’s a three in one package deal: body, mind, and athletic environment, all three unified in one spatiotemporal dimension – the dimension of moment-to-moment flowing presence. You and your athletic environment are one in space and time. It doesn’t get any better than that. We’ve even given that experience of spatiotemporal oneness a name; we call it playing in the zone, flow, the peak performance state, or the ideal performance state, but whatever we call it, it is the three-in-one experience of body-mind unification with and within the flowing present dimension of your athletic environment.
Will you play better when your body and mind are unified with the game you are playing? Of course you will! Unfortunately, this state of body-mind unification is not your normal performance state. Your normal performance state is a state of body-mind separation rather than body-mind unity, and that separation is the separation that occurs when your body, which is always in the flowing present dimension, gets hijacked by your mind, which is always flip-flopping back and forth between past and future. So the problem with body-mind unification is not that your body is in the wrong temporal dimension; it’s that your mind is in the wrong temporal dimension. And by wrong temporal dimension, I mean your mind is in the past or in the future while your body is in the present.
That’s not body-mind unification. Rather, it’s your body and your mind being separated in both space and time. Your body in one spatiotemporal dimension, your mind in another, and this spatiotemporal separation between body and mind never results in a fully potentiated performance. Body-mind separation never creates the peak performance experience of playing in the zone. Body-mind separation never creates flow. Instead, it creates the ups and downs of your ordinary performance reality. Some days you play a little better, other days a little worse, but never do you feel you’re playing as well as you can really play – like that time you were in the zone and everything suddenly came together and you played the game with effortless ease and abandon. That time when it felt like you were into the game at a much deeper level than ever before. That time when it felt like you and the game were one.
Your normal performance state never feels like that. And it never can be like that for the simple reason that in your normal performance state, your body and your mind are not unified with the flowing present dimension of the game, so how can you expect to be “one with the game” when the game is taking place in the flowing present and your mind is jumping back and forth from past to future? At best, only half of your body-mind continuum is in the flowing presents while the other half is in a different temporal dimension altogether, and that temporal dynamic does not result in the creation of a flow state performance. For a flow state performance to occur, you need a radically different temporal dynamic. One in which both your body and your mind are unified in time and space with the flowing present dimension of the game. That’s when you play the game in the zone, whether that game is being played on the field or off.
Join us at the SEC Sports Festival on the weekend of June 23-25 at Dominican University in San Rafael California, where one of the themes of the weekend is body-mind unification. Not just what it is, but also processes you can learn to make it happen. Click here for more info on the Sports Festival.