Video four done and we are ALMOST at the point of juggling with three balls. The rest of the videos aren’t up yet though, so I will have to get my daughter to teach me the rest in person. I just checked; my three-ball cascade has not improved. It’s something I learned years ago and just do the same way, when I do it. I think my core skills of throwing and catching are better, but now I’ve added thinking about it which negates the improvement in core skills.
Thinking about it is the challenge. Thinking about the ways that we do habitual actions can be a stumbling block, but it’s one we need to acknowledge and challenge if we want to change our behaviours or thoughts. If I want to get past 28 catches in a three-ball cascade, I am going to think about how I throw and catch and build better physical behaviours around those skills. If I want to lose weight as a middle-aged human, I’m going to have to think about my eating and fitness behaviours and understand them to rewrite them.
By the time I submit this assignment, I will not have mastered this skill. I’ll still be thinking about it. When my proficiency is such that I can perform the three-ball cascade with few drops and without thinking about it, I believe I will experience this as transcendent. I will have reached beyond effort and struggle by going through effort and struggle, and will have arrived in a place of flow. This flow state is one of “optimal experience” which author and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as “when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” (Flow, 1990. Harper & Row, New York: NY, pg 5). I have enjoyed such optimal experience before in writing, acting, providing counseling, sports, and other arenas.
My experience of flow state has been akin to the spiritual state of transcendence. It is a mind state, a spirit state, an internal space where we touch Spirit, as we conceive Spirit to be. It is a state of harmony and ease; it is being one with everything. Which leads to the inevitable question:
What did the Buddhist monk say to the hot dog vendor?