Mindfulness Reconnects Us With Our Center

These words of wisdom from George Mumford teach us how mindfulness reconnects us with our center and the space between stimulus and response. His work with athletes is quite well known.

Think about the eye of a hurricane, or the calm still center in the middle of a cyclone. No matter how intense the storm or what’s swept up in its gale-force winds, that calm, blue center is always there. This is the metaphor I like to use when talking about the space between stimulus and response. We all have this quiet center within us. Mindfulness reconnects us to this center space, where we fully experience the present moment and have access to the transcendent wisdom that’s often associated with conscious flow. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, neurologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl famously described it this way: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’”

George Mumford from The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance

Jerome with two tennis friends

Jerome Freedman (left) with two tennis friends

This is very relevant to my life because I am kind of a minor athlete if you consider playing tennis three times a week being athletic! I have been doing this for 25 years or more and I played as a graduate student in Boston. I was inspired by Susan Forester during our Enneagram training in 1990. She described how she used tennis as “conscious conduct,” or as I would say, a spiritual practice.

In tennis, you get to see all of your stuff arising from warm up to the last ball. You are confronted with all of your craving for making a good shot and all you aversion to a bad shot. You can feel anger arising when your opponents make a line call that you don’t agree with. You can even get upset with your partner, if you are playing doubles, when they miss an easy shot. All of these emotions take place in the span of one point. This nice thing is that you get to start over for the next point, if you are able to let go of any negative emotions that have arisen.

Can you see how all of this applies to your favorite sport? Please explain what your favorite sport is and how these ideas apply.

Books by George Mumford

The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance

George Mumford

Michael Jordan and countless other NBA stars credit George Mumford with transforming their game. A widely respected public speaker and coach, Mumford shares his story and strategies in The Mindful Athlete. His proven techniques transform the performance of anyone with a goal, be they an … [Read More…]

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