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Monday, June 23, 2008

Regional intentions (6/17/08)

With any luck, the Boston Celtics will win tonight’s National Basketball Association championship game. And they have the Red Sox to thank for that – sort of. What I mean is that cities, and regions, share a collective mindset or culture, and the attitude shift undergone by New England sports fans after the Sox win in 2004 opened the doors to tonite’s game, and to Boston’s recent run of regional successes in so many sports. We’ve had a glut of local world champions in Boston, world champions in that peculiarly American sense – champions of a sports league based in America, with no foreign teams allowed to participate, despite worldwide popularity of the sport.

For example,since last fall, four of the five professional sports played in Boston (baseball, football, ice hockey, soccer and basketball), have reached the final championship game. That sort of streak that’s unheard of in professional sports in America. While the Red Sox are the only team to have actually won their championship – in November 2007 - so far (that may change in a couple of hours!), no other American city has ever had such a run. For example, when New York City’s teams won titles in three separate sports in 1969, that streak was tainted by the fact that New York was big enough to host two teams in each of the major sports. Boston is too small for that luxury, so we have our one and only in each sport. In that sense we’ve been very fortunate. But the question arises: is this run of success any more than just a lucky streak? I think so.

The Sox’ amazing 2004 World Series win didn’t just end their interminable 86 year championship drought, it also enabled the fans of New England to believe and visualize and imagine that other championships in other sports were equally possible. And the victories began to happen, with a football Super Bowl win in 2004, reaching the Major League Soccer finals in 2005, ‘06 and ‘07, and a basketball final tonite. It’s not that our other sports teams magically sprang out of the woodwork after ’04 (the football Patriots had started their own little dynasty with a Super Bowl victory in 2001, for example). But the sense of possibility has been much more a part of the local air than it had ever been. New Englanders had been notorious for our tendency to wallow in pessimistic Calvinistic beliefs about our inadequacies and unworthiness when it comes to sports. After the Sox won, attitudes changed, and our sports fans finally released their congenitally skeptical mindset after the Sox won. I believe this cognitive restructuring (as the psychologists call it) has facilitated the region’s ability to successfully manifest its sporting dreams.

The same manifestation process operates for individuals and for groups. People tend to focus on their own doubts and worries, rather than risk disappointment if their dreams don’t come true. But that’s the crux of positive intention. The more we focus on what’s possible, and the more we fuel it with a sense of enthusiam, the more likely it is to actually happen. So now, with some positive recent history at our beck and call to assuage doubts, the individual Boston athletes and the collective fanndomof New England can all be tuned to the same positive wavelength of success.We’ve finally learned how to hold positive intentions, combined with joyful emotions, to enhance the process of pulling desired events into reality.

So here’s my call, with two hours to go before game time: Celtics 101, Lakers 84.

Addendum: The final score was 130-91, Celtics. This was the most lopsided final game in league history, and was remarkable for the fact that after three close games played in Los Angeles (it’s a best of 7 game series), this game back in the friendly confines of the Boston Garden clearly showed the power of the home court advantage. After a tentative first quarter, the home team Celts played a flawless second quarter to surge ahead for good. They were clearly propelled by the excitement of the fans – their shots were uncannily accurate, their opponents got sloppier and sloppier, and even random bad bounces of the ball seemed all to go their way. That’s often a good barometer of how the tide is turning. The momentum lies with the team that gets all the loose balls, favorable calls by the refs and has the fluke plays go their way.

The Celtics teamwork had risen to another level altogether at home, as they were now playing like a synchronized dance troupe rather than a collection of very large male jocks. This game was the most vivid example of home field magic that I’ve ever seen, more proof that joy is the difference-maker in sports (the Joy of Jocks?). Even sports columnists from out of town remarked on the beauty of the Celtics team cohesion, and found themselves rooting for excellence in the sport itself rather than for any one specific team to win or lose. That was the Platonic ideal of rooting that our researchers had been telling us about, and we were fortunate to have had a brief glimpse of what it’s like. And since sports is just a microcosm of the rest of society, it stands to reason that joy – individual and collective – can be the key to succesfully creating our own lives as well.

I’ll finish with a quote from one of my favorite teachers about the process of manifestation, or what the being Abraham calls “the science of deliberate creation”. A popular workshop leader and author, he talks here about the importance of fans and players being in alignment with their source in order to attain peak team performance. By “source”, he means a person’s deepest inner wisdom; he also uses the terms “upstream” and “downstream” to denote thought patterns and actions that either go against or with the natural effortless flow of energy and events.

A quotation from Abraham
(from a lecture given in November 2006)
“If you were involved in a team, even as a fan of a team, if only you could come to understand that the way you feel as you are rooting for your cause is everything. It isn’t what you say, it isn’t who you say it to, it isn’t when you say it. It’s: “Is the way I feel really and truly downstream or upstream?” Because if it’s downstream, then your heart is singing, then you feel enthusiasm, then you feel enthusiasm on your way to the championship - even in the middle of the game when it doesn’t look like you’re winning.

But what happens with so many, they’re quick to take score so soon along the way. And every time they take score, and the score isn’t the way they want it to go, they turn upstream, and they have no idea how defeating in nature that is. People who are involved in sports actually understand the law of deliberate creation and the value of energy and attitude more than almost any other body of people on the planet. Because they have, through trial and error, shown themselves what their better-feeling attitude accomplishes for them personally. In other words, any athlete who is individually focused can certainly feel the power that comes into his physical apparatus when he’s going with the current of his source, as compared to when he is going against the current of his source.

The agility, the clarity, the ability to hit the ball, the ability to even connect with it, the ability to have to power to put it where he wants it to go precisely- all of that is about alignment with source, you see. And those who are involved in sports are understanding that more and more.”


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The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention is produced by 2 Cousins Productions and Pinch Hit Productions. © 2006 The Joy of Sox Movie LLC. For more information, contact info@thejoyofsoxmovie.com.

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