In today’s NY Times, there is an article about Tiger Woods entitled, “It’s Great to Be Immortal.”
The author, Chip Brown, say that Woods demonstrates “the power to embody greatness...” and that he “bring greatness into the world when nothing short of it will suffice.”
“Greatness” is one of my favorite subjects, whether we’re talking about Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan or Jackie Joyner, Eric Clapton, Hendrix or Ella Fitzgerald, or Einstein, DaVinci or Marie Curie. Of course, the list of “greats” in any field can go on and on.
What makes someone great at what they do? Why are great people here on this lowly planet, and what do they have to do with us “regular” people? Why are we often so willing to pay them so much of our hard-earned money to do what they do? To me, these questions are all related.
We usually think of these super-achievers and performers as somehow apart from the rest of us in a significant way, yet, if we are all one, all connected, then... what’s the connection?
Brown says this in his Times article:
“There’s a kind of spiritual covenant in all sports that binds spectators and players...” and “offers so many uncanny parallels with the terms of conscious life.”
I have thought about this a lot, and here’s what I’ve come up with: people who manifest the highest levels of any particular talent or gift are here to remind of us of who we really are, what we can actually be, and what we can accomplish in any particular endeavor if we could find what has come to be called “The Zone.”
Here’s Chip Brown on Tiger:
“There are periods when Woods seems to be operating on a plane of platonic perfection… he is so focused, so there in some other world it seems he’s not even here anymore.” Brown goes on to describe Woods as “a self-described control freak” who yet “devotes his life to a game where so much is beyond a player’s control.”
This is from a most beautiful book and movie, “The Legend of Baggar Vance,” by Steven Pressfield, who also wrote “The War of Art”:
“There's a perfect shot out there tryin' to find each and every one of us... Now it's somewhere... in the harmony... of all that is... All that was... All that will be... All we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us.”
Exactly. The Zone is that place we enter when we “get ourselves out of the way,” or more specifically, when we get our ego, self-will and Resistance out of the way.
Here’s more from Brown on Tiger:
“He had said he sometimes had no memory of hitting a particular shot; he remembered getting ready to hit, having hit, but actually hitting — no, he didn’t remember. Maybe his ability to steal fire from the sky confounded him as much as it did the rapt faces in the gallery.”
Here’s a little more Baggar Vance:
“Inside each and every one of us is our one, true authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something that's ours and ours alone. Something that can't be learned... something that's got to be remembered. You got to seek that place with your soul... Seek it with your hands.. Don't think about it... Feel it... Your hands is wiser than your head ever gonna be...”
People ask me all the time, “What does it mean to let go of your ego?” My answer is a variation of what Baggar Vance is saying here, which is to get out of your head, out of your obsessive thinking mind, and follow your body, follow your five senses, your gut instincts, your first impulses. We all have them, but we have trained ourselves to ignore them, to hesitate, second guess, over-think, and so, we falter.
There is a great gift inside each of us waiting to come out. No one is without it. Some souls, like Tiger Woods, have chosen to give us a demonstration in one particular area, but examples are all around us... and within us. Seek it and you will find it. Try this: walk around and pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel, not to what you’re thinking, which is usually what you’re always thinking. Go ahead. Go out. It’s a beautiful day. Walk. Give yourself, and the world, your gift. We’re waiting for you!