Psyched Online

Subject: Meditation
Date: September 17, 2005

I’ve been a billiards player for over 15 years. The game is great. I get to meet some wonderful people. My dad taught me the game and bought me first pool cue stick. Over the past three years, my ability to concentrate and focus and stay calm has been decreasing and so has my quality of play. I ran across an article about a master’s level chess player has used meditation to calm his mind. I wondered if it would be helpful in my sport of choice since it requires similar mental abilities. So, I began to practice meditation and have found myself inconsistent in my sitting. Sometimes I forget to sit and other times I can’t maintain the meditation position. Do you have any thoughts?

Response: Meditation can be helpful to any athlete playing any sport. Having a calm mind allows for greater focus, connection between mind and body, and entering a zone where performance is at its highest. Let me offer some helpful hints for sustaining your sitting meditation practice:

  1. Sit every day, even if it’s for a short period. A few times during the day, establish contact with your body and breath.
  2. Remember that everyone wants to be calm, just like you.
  3. Practice regularly with a group or a friend.
  4. Use inspiring resources such as books or audiotapes of meditation talks.
  5. Sign up for a retreat – one day, a weekend, or longer. The experience will deepen the ability to sit.
  6. If you miss a day, a week, or a month – simply begin again.
  7. If you need guidance, ask for help from an experienced meditator or teacher.

In the next edition of Psyched, we will offer more ideas about meditation.

Good Luck,

Paul Schienberg, Ph.D.