The Spirit Of Sport

Welcome to my nostalgia [and, occasional ‘contempo’] blogsite …

Sport, like meditation, is nothing short of a spiritual act. It is not just a licence to waging battles from ‘within and without,’ where your conformity to biomechanics and sporting skills cannot be separated from the quest for life’s realities. You know that, don’t you – that cricket or martial arts has always amalgamated philosophy with corporeal elements? However, such a foray, or preparation, is not as important as to what’s going on in your mind when you go through the motions of each stroke, or exercise.

Put simply, a sportsperson’s programme encompasses of three simple, yet profound, techniques – based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, or The Way, a parallel of prana, in Indian philosophy – viz., breath-watching, a mode of relaxation, or meditation, where you lay maximum emphasis on your breathing; visual recording, or relaxed visualisation; and, affirmation-reciting. Such a methodology is a self-explanatory voyage – a timeless philosophy that was propounded by Lao Tzu, 2,500 years ago.

Tao, in simple terms, is like water, the path of least resistance. It means the way of natural truth – one that encourages you to notice how nature works and subsequently acts accordingly. All of us could become better sportspersons, or athletes, individuals, or students, workers and professionals, when we unite our mind and heart through a host of virtues – such as spontaneity, non-interference, and stillness in motion, or being. This is what seamlessly cognates us to a sort of calm, or tranquillity, in the eye of the storm.

You’d call the method a magic potion – to winning accolades, records, medals, at national and international levels, or in school, college, and the workplace. Not that Tao will make you the next Virat Kohli, Lionel Messi, or Roger Federer. All it does is clear the path for you to find what’s exactly blocking your path – like technical ability, or lack of it, or fear of success, failure, and paucity of time.

Tao is the pathway of infinitesimal hindrance – a way of nature and natural truth. It makes gifts even out of failures, because if you’d only notice what went wrong, failure could be used to your advantage and for your own good. This is not all. Failure can help you to tighten up too – a whole, new avenue of opportunity about which you will no longer be afraid of. In the words of scholar Thích Nhat Hanh, “The gentle spring rain permeates the soil of my soul. A seed that has lain deeply in the earth for many years just smiles.”