Living in the here and now

Saw this last week in the midst of preoccupations with the missus and meant to throw it up here for those who might have missed a must-read: Aakash Chopra continues his series of articles written from a cricketer’s perspective, with a lovely piece on the art of concentration [here’s the first in the series].

A few years ago I was selected to play in the Challenger Trophy (before I made my international debut). We had an interactive session with Geet Sethi, the billiards player, whose definition of concentration remains etched in my memory. He said that concentration is simply remaining in the present. The longer you can remain in the present, the greater your span of concentration. Sounds easy, right?

Nearly two decades of playing cricket has taught me that it isn’t. The mind has the peculiar ability of wandering off at the first available moment, and it doesn’t need any permission. You might be in the middle of an important match, playing an important knock or bowling the most crucial over, but the mind has a mind of its own. Two places it likes to wander off to are the past and the future.

I’d either start feeling bad or good about what had happened in the past – the ball before – and get disconnected from the present, or I would start worrying about or prematurely celebrating events in the future, getting away from the task at hand.

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