[1 MINUTE READ] A floating ball and a flying racket
Three years ago, I had a rotator cuff injury on the tennis court that kept me off a game I had just begun to learn and enjoy. When I returned intermittently a few months ago, my stroke play was labored and striving to rediscover itself.
On a recent visit to Goa, I found a coach who worked with me daily over a week. On our first day he saw my focus on the ball and the exertion with which I returned them. He called me to the net and reminded me that Federer played with mindless and effortless ease. I visualized that. The way he gently danced around the court, turning the ball and himself into part of a single dynamic continuum.
I stopped focusing on the trajectory of the ball or planning how to return it and instead relaxed, moved my feet around and started getting into my own rhythm with the ball. As it flew towards me, I began to glide towards it, my hands moved on their own to allow my racket to caress, spin or tap the ball back.
Goals and targets bring a semblance of definition into our daily lives. But as we allow them to consume us, they in turn draw away the spontaneous flow that keeps happiness effortless. Everything we do is an opportunity to allow our own rhythm to express itself.
Tennis players find their time on court meditative for this reason. As their muscle memories unfold, the mind dissolves into the patterns of the body and becomes very quiet. Reminding us of how life itself is meant to be lived.