Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Zone

You read about 'The Zone' when sports people talk about superlative performance - Everything flowing supremely smoothly, nothing is done in error, effortless and efficient. Total focus, total integration of parts ..... poetry in motion.

This is not the zone I am talking about. There is another zone - another perfect zone, but this one for learning.

It feels very, very, different from poetry .... more like falling, or sliding. definitely out of control.

It sits right there, bounded by the joy and the excitement of discovery on one side, and a complete failure to comprehend what the hell is going on, on the other.

It's an odd place to work, because one part of your mind has to have enough confidence in it's own abilities to think it will comprehend what IS going on at some point, and the other must be happy with it's current inability to do so.

A little inner voice must be there to remind you - "Just keep going .... It will come" ...... Or ... "You learn the most when you suck".

This zone is a potent area of 'unknowing', and good teachers will keep you there for as long as you can stand, and not let you waiver too far to either side ... Either into the smugness of attainment, or the complete depression of failure ..... Too much one way and you can become complacent ... or worse, an asshole. At the other end, you may just stop coming altogether.

If you stick with it, beware the plateaus when you think you 'have it' .... ideally they should just be way stations, or momentary places of rest for your sense of worth.

In between these plateaus lie the stretches where you are really learning. And hopefully, here, it will be exhilarating and confusing yet not suck-y enough to give up.

No comments: