Wholistic Tennis is a site dedicated to exploring both the inner and the outer of the game of tennis. The outer is the pursuit of excellence, while the inner is about the spiritual journey towards wholeness for the individual. Tennis is a microcosm of Life, a vehicle, a means, just as everything is a means. It cannot be the ultimate goal. The end cannot be to be a good, great or even the best tennis player on the planet. To make such a goal reveals a tremendous lack of awareness between the essential and the non-essential, the real and the unreal.
Of course, many of us come to sports, consciously or unconsciously, to build our self-esteem (ego) through the recognition and rewards that winning promises, but slowly as we become more and more embroiled in the rat race, we have the opportunity to see that ‘all that glitters is not gold. And this realization, if we are lucky enough to have it, is the beginning of a new journey, one that does not need to exclude tennis and competition, but one that will ultimately transform the entire competitive experience and enrich our lives in the process.
At the initial stage, the pursuit of excellence is essential for the inner journey to deepen. Without passion and energy for the outer, there is nothing to be transformed and the significance of the inner journey is hard to find. The inner and the outer are essentially connected. Most people are obsessed with the outer and all their energy is put in that direction, not realizing that to change the outer without transforming the inner misses the point entirely and will not bring the ultimate prize in Life. Certainly, some material or worldly rewards can be had, but peace and contentment cannot come from the outer. No, the ultimate prize comes from a transformation of the inner and once the inner is transformed, gracefulness and contentment shape the outer like a shadow and even worldly success can be enjoyed if one so chooses.
Competition does not have to be a struggle or a war and it certainly does not have to be as painful as it presently is. The opponent is not the enemy, look carefully and you will discover that the greatest obstacle to peak athletic performance is not somewhere out there, but deep within you and your conditioned mind. This is the inner journey that I am referring to, a journey that will take us from playing out of ego to playing out of love. One that will take us from playing out of anger and aggressiveness to playing from centeredness, calmness and serenity that transcends even joy.
The outcome or the attainment of a goal is fleeting, but the journey is everything because it is through the journey that we become whole and to become whole and complete and without the need to reach the pinnacle and realize the ultimate goal. This inner journey can be facilitated in any situation; however, sports and the competitive experience provide us with a unique opportunity to come face to face with ourselves. And in this confrontation with ourselves, if we can accept all that we can see a remarkable transformation can happen. Enjoy the journey and feel free to share your experiences.