doesn't mean anything because you can see the court as anything you like. I
don't think it has much meaning. But if you take it very far, then sooner or
later you have to see the court as a mandala. Sooner or later."
I began to think
that while my consciousness might indeed expand, my tennis was not necessarily
going to improve.
exciting?" Murphy said. I asked him why Esalen was getting involved in
athletics. "Sport anticipates what the Divine Essence is," he said.
"Sport is a Western yoga. The Dance of Shiva. Pure play. Non-utilitarian,
the delight in the moment, the Now. We need a more balanced and evolutionary
culture. We already have physical mobility. Why shouldn't we have psychic
mobility, too, the ability to move psychically into different states? The whole
movement of life is to a higher consciousness."
We had two yoga
tennis instructors, both recently teachers at John Gardiner's Tennis Ranches.
Tim Gallwey was dark and slender and had been on the Harvard tennis team; he
had been involved in Moral Re-Armament and had a flash of enlightenment with
the 15-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji. Rick Champion had been on the Michigan State
freshman tennis team and then was a salesman of business forms and a teaching
pro: unlike Gallwey, who was conventionally dressed, Champion wore a beard and
a turban. He had been influenced by some of the precepts of Yogi Bhajan Singh
and is now called Baba Rick.
tennis element by element," Gallwey said. "If we learned it as
totality, we could learn it in one hundredth the time. Our biggest problem is
Ego, is trying too hard. We know how to play tennis. Perfect tennis is in us
all. We are not learning something outside and bringing it in, we are
discovering the tennis we already know. Everyone knows how to ride a bicycle,
and just before we really ride for the first time, we know we know. The problem
with Ego is that it has to achieve; we are not sure who we are until by
achieving we become. So we hit the ball out and the Ego says, 'Ugh, out.' Then
it starts to give commands, 'Do it right.' We shouldn't have a judgment. The
ball goes there, not out. Ninety percent of the bad things students do are
intentional corrections of something else they are doing. We have to let the
body experiment and bypass the mind. The mind acts like a sergeant with the
body a private. How can anybody play as a duality?"
Since I have a
mind that is constantly going, "Watch the ball" and, "Move your
feet, dummy," I recognized the sergeant's voice right away. What do you do
about the sergeant?
"You have to
check the mind, to preoccupy it, stop it from fretting. Look at the ball. Look
at the seams on the ball, watch the pattern, get preoccupied so the mind can't
judge. In between points put your mind on your breathing. In, out. In, out. A
quiet mind is the secret of yoga tennis. Most people think concentration is
fierce effort. Watch your facial muscles after you hit the ball. Are they
tensed or relaxed? Concentration is effortless effort, is not trying. The body
is sophisticated; its computer commands hundreds of muscles instantly; it is
wise about itself, the Ego isn't.
consciousness is not a mystical term. You see more when all of your energy runs
in the same direction. Concentration produces joy, so we look for things that
will quiet the mind."
I could-see that
parking the mind would be essential. I sat next to Jascha Heifetz once at a
dinner party and asked him what he thought about when he was giving a concert.
He said if the concert was on a Saturday night he thought about the smoked
salmon and the marvelous bagel he was going to have the next morning. If he was
thinking about the bagel, then who was thinking about the concerto? His
asked Gallwey, "don't you have to know the right form before you can park