What have taking a photo, doing heart surgery and winning a grand slam have in common?
Have you ever experienced a moment when you knew that everything had gone right? It was what you wanted. I bet you have… most of us have had those moments, at least once. For some of us it may be the moment when we completed a tricky task – a complicated heart operation – a perfect photo – a grand slam – a delicious cake – a painted room. Whatever it is, you will recognise the moment, the moment of spiritual resonance when you “got it right”.
This arriving at the moment is so special – it’s not the same as falling in love… it’s much closer to fulfilling a personal passion or exercising a skill.
When one trains as a hypnotherapist there’s a superb exercise where one hypnotises somebody and just says to the subject “that’s right” “that’s right” “that’s right,” over and over again. You need to do it fairly slowly, and you may change your voice and the emphasis with which you say it. It’s the most potent and beautiful exercise for both the hypnotist and the subject. Your subconscious just loves to know that you have got it right and getting it right for real is not a common occurrence, but when it happens there is a something splendid about it; witnessing that moment is also a privilege. It’s so healthy to know that we have got it right, and to be told so, and also tell oneself. We all need that feeling.
Recognising those moments in other people or animals is something I love. I cannot help but feel that when I see a giant cat – a panther, jaguar, cheetah or lion hunting down their prey (on film) that they are in their moment of self-truth in “getting it right”. Our perception of hunting has contaminated us. Our idea of hunting is taking a bloody machine and mindlessly killing something after pointing a gun at it… but the deep experience that involves hunger, smell, taste, sight, judgement and a thousand other things including that kind of empathy one needs to have with one’s prey, are practically unknown to us. We no longer need to hunt in our world; real hunting to exist and survive bears no relationship to an idiot with a gun.
Last night I listened to a TV interview with Emma Raducanu, the English tennis player who has inspired so many young people since she won the US Open. While she was talking, it was pointed out to me that she said something that I had commented about her before. It’s her enthusiasm for Grand Slams, an enthusiasm that may be her only key to win inspirationally. The adrenalin kick, the fear, the reality of the moment which may only work for her at a vast and special occasion. The grand slam is the moment that brings her alive, that ramps up her innate skills; it’s a pleasure she may share with an elderly gentleman on an allotment who discovers that after years of trying, he has finally created a beautiful new kind of rose. Both experience the piquancy of the moment that resonates with their own unique spirit.
When I write I long to believe that I have produced a combination of words that work so perfectly as to produce the moment of recognition… but I also feel that language is a tricky thing, unless one’s name is Shakespeare, Austen or Dylan Thomas. Maybe it’s enough to keep up the optimism and keep saying “That’s right… that’s right…that’s right…” And that in itself will be enough.