When I was 15 years old I hung out at two primary locations in my hometown, the poolroom and the bowling alley. During one school lunch hour, bowling by myself, I scored a 224 game, far above my average.
The strikes seemed to take place with effortless and shattering intensity. The spares were solid and sure.
Other kids had gathered around and were just as awe-struck as me. It was like magic. It was something very special, and it felt very, very good.
Years later in a pool hall I played a number of 8-ball games with a friend who was more skilled, but he couldn’t touch me that day. He played well but I played like a pro. Again, it was magic and special, and fleeting.
I have often wondered if we could bring about those times of extraordinary fulfillment and harmony at will.
Many, many people have had these kinds of experiences but there doesn’t seem to be any obvious explanation for it. This phenomenon feels akin to beginner’s luck.
I spoke once with an options broker who said that amateur options players tend to make money at the start, but then begin to lose money as they gain experience. One option broker’s tale is not exactly scientific proof but it does make a tantalizing contribution to the vast body of anecdotal evidence about luck.
Who are Eugene & Adeline Angelo, Seguro Ndabene, Stephen Cooke, Erik Martineau, Mary Wollens, Brenda Bailey, and Robert Hong? Ordinary people, except that they all have been multiple lottery winners. It could be beginner’s luck the first time but what if, like Seguro Ndabene, it’s happened five times?
It’s not just amateurs who have amazing experiences. Professional athletes get in the zone and play as if they were endowed with some superior power. In 2003, Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre played a stunning, almost surreal game the night after his father died. Afterward, Favre said he knew his dad was watching. In the 1992 NBA Finals Game One, Michael Jordan scored 6 three-pointers in the first half and he was as surprised as everyone else. Jordan said the three-pointers felt like free throws.
I have no insight whether this elevated zone is visited on us by some external spirit or if it is some fortuitous union of elements within ourselves or if it is “just” coincidence.
These magical zones might very well come about from a creative combination of confidence, positive belief, and calmness, reaching some place of unity deep within ourselves. Getting in touch with the Source.
If we could find those triggers within, whether through meditation or prayer or action or letting go, and sustain that mellow intensity, that feel-goodness, what a wonderful discovery that would be.
If we could achieve understanding of others and have absolute compassion because of this new awareness, and everyone else could too, that would not only be a wonderful discovery. That would be ecstasy.