Sports and music complement one another wonderfully. In the first third of life most people strive for performance and perfection. In the second third of life relaxation and joy will be predominant. In the third triad of life one has the option of participating in sports as an exercise for inner maturation. Any activity can be practiced as a meditation, which includes all types of recreation. Through recreation we have the opportunity to re-create our- selves. Eugen Herrigel in his book ‘Zen in the Art of Archery’ accurately and masterfully describes the mindful attentiveness necessary for this sport.
“All necessary techniques need to be over learned so that the necessary skills and arts flow from the unconscious. With respect to archery this means that the archer and his target are no longer separate, but rather become one reality, interconnected. This state of unconsciousness is achieved only when he is completely free from his ego and at one with the perfection of his technical skill. This is something completely different from any progress that could be achieved in normal archery.”
Archers practice for years to hit the center disc of the target with their ar- rows. The Ego strives desperately for perfection. But as long as the Ego is in command one will not succeed. Success will follow only when the arrow is released with a smile on your face; a smile which follows from detachment from your Ego. Eugen Herrigel describes it wonderfully and pictorially, so that all of us who have not yet experienced this level of detachment can ap- preciate how it leads to success in all manner of sports activities.
“It is all so simple. You can learn from an ordinary bamboo leaf what matters. Through the weight of the snow, it will be pressed down. Suddenly the snow load slips off, although the leaf had not moved or resisted. Try to pause, similarly in archery. When the tension has reached its peak moment the arrow must fly and find its target.”
Then the archer feels the Golden Wind. Thus, each sport can be an experience leading to greater inner spiritual maturation.