One of those moments, when you sit in front of the laptop, staring at the screen. Only that the screen says “Add new post” and your mind is blank. Thoughts fly in and out, with nothing that can be held on to and pinned into a blog spot. And then somehow something sticks in. This is nowhere the state of blankness where there is no consciousness (or there is a stream of consciousness?) or is it that state that exists between the sudden absence of ideas and the chaos that follows?
Every book or literature on meditation talks about that state, where the mind is blank and there is no conscious thought in it. Every time I think about it in particular, I realize something creeps into it. But then there’s always hindsight. You look back at moments where things really were that way. Like the crazy bug that draws you deep into the code, where nothing exists in the mind except the pursuit of the bug and then, there is this fleeting moment of blankness which is filled up by the whole sequence adding up, with the bug that you are seeking, sitting out. Somehow, you just know it’s right!
Came across this interesting post by Prem Panicker on a discussion between Abhinav Bindra and Rahul Dravid where they talk about being in the zone where the mind is blank at the time of execution. The zone which every sportsman tries to achieve where mind and body are in a kind of alignment, where you do something just because it needs to be done and you don’t play a conscious role in the decision making. In cricket it’s the moment when a ball is hurtling at you and your hands, legs just move to execute a shot perfectly, even though you never consciously made the decision to play that. To say that the mind knows how to play that shot just like that, from instinct is foolhardiness. The shot comes from hours and hours of practice, or just plain experience from before, which condition the mind to decide what will work and what won’t for that circumstance.
Reading that post, to use Dravid’s phrase it is intimidating what sportsmen in fields which have the Olympics as the main goal go through. Four years of rigorous practice aiming for perfection, which all culminates in a few seconds of the real trial. You miss, and you go back to the drawing board to come back 4 years later to go through the same process again, and you realize that you are also growing older! Helps understand why athletes get so emotional on winning? And why they are heralded as such champions! The closest I came to this was with the CAT, where you answer 100s of mock papers only to face the real one which can make or break the deal for that year. The first one was a disaster, but it thankfully got annulled as the paper had leaked. The second one, the re-test, was perfection. The third one, a disaster, where the mind froze on one easy question, making a mess of something which was simple and a clincher, eventually screwing up the rest!
How do you deal with such scenarios? It is easy to say let the mind deal with it. Easy to say you need to relax. But then you are staring at a not-so-fast bowler and the ball stands up after pitching, giving you a fleeting milli-second more than you planned for, and the mind comes screaming in with endless possibilities on dealing with it. At the very end, you scoop up a dolly to the man at extra-cover.
Also takes me back to weekend mornings, where I wake up and realize there is nothing to do. The papers have been read, the coffee done, shower finished. What do you do to pass time? Is it one of the side-effects of an entertainment-driven life that with a few minutes of nothing to do, we are helpless? What is the other option, just sitting quietly, doing nothing, mentally or physically. Is that even possible?