the thought never crossed my mind…
… that is, until the day someone asked me about the three ways to win in sports and living.
One Sunny Afternoon…
Up to that sunny afternoon when I was in high school, I just did whatever I did without questioning how I did it. As a young tyke I lay in my crib and waited for my body to get older and larger. In my first grade-school years, I tried out for school musicals, because they seemed like something fun to do. That I somehow won the lead roles every time was, to me, something that just happened out of my control. I never wondered why. On my first-ever football team, I got the positions that I liked playing, including “roving linebacker” (a.k.a., Monster Man) on defense and quarterback on offense. From the first position I outwitted opposing QB’s; from the latter I outwitted deep safeties with accurate passes to outstretched fingers flying past them. And therein lay my forthcoming trouble: my unerring accuracy. I could even throw left-handed more strikes than balls from Little League Baseball mounds than most of my young peers. I never gave it a thought or wondered WHY… until that fateful afternoon and question. “What was the question?” you ask. Simply this: “How come you can throw touchdowns so accurately?” I recall that it was a friend who asked me, but I cannot remember his name. A lot has changed over the years I’ve aged, including recalling certain details, like the names of my high-school chums and teammates. Sorry about that, boys.
Bristol High’s gridiron
I remember that I was suited up before a game in Bristol, PA. I was tossing the ball back and forth with a teammate to warm up my arm. My helmet was on the ground, and the hot sun and gentle breeze in the air warmed the top of my head. The heat tingled through my flat-top, crew-cut hair. My first quick response to the question was, “Well, I just see the fingertips, that’s all.” That didn’t satisfy my inquirer. “Yeah, but… what do you mean you ‘see’ their fingertips?” I didn’t tell him what I looked at in my mind’s eye right then, but I was sure looking at a mental picture of my last receiving touchdown player’s fingertips! In fact, that was all I saw: just his fingertips! “I dunno. I just see the fingers and I throw the ball to them,” I said. My inquisitor shook his head, turned and walked away, muttering to himself, “There’s got to be more than that to it.” The matter wasn’t over for me by a long shot. He had opened up a question that now required an answer from within. He did not know it then, but he had changed my life forever. Sitting down on the bleachers, I re-ran my last few touchdown throws past my closed eyes. In every instance, all I saw were the fingers. Close up. More curious, I realized that all I remembered were the hands and fingertips — no peripherals of the rest of the playing field, the stands on either sides of the gridiron, the school building behind the home side, the railroad tracks and US Highway One beyond them on the visitor’s side. There were no goalposts. Only outstretched hands and fingertips, and my thrown football landing in the open palms. All close ups. I had never wondered about this and I had never thought about these things before. Now I was curious: how can this be? Why only the fingertips and why so close-up?
As players go I was not above average, meaning I was only six feet tall, weighed about 176 pounds. Lanky, yet able to take a hit — or dish them out as mentioned before. I was also aware that I was fast mentally. I knew I could outwit opponents and throw footballs accurately. I called my plays that kept the other teams off-balance. I already knew all of this, but I didn’t really know WHY I was so accurate.
Looking back over my childhood, I next recalled, in a matter of seconds, a few instances which displayed this accuracy. There was the time that a bully hit me in the jaw, and I didn’t flinch. I did, however, express my anger eye-to-eye, focused like a power drill, and that caused him to turn on a dime and run away screaming in fear. Then, too, there was the time my older brother nagged me too long and too much, and I felled him with one, very accurate and forceful blow to his solar plexus. (Later, after witnessing a bullfight in Colombia, I likened my drop-over, brotherly “kill” to the accuracy of the matador who passed his sword so cleanly into one bull’s spinal cord that the heaving animal’s body went airborne instantly and fell over right on the spot. Motionless, he dropped at his killer’s feet. The matador was awarded an ear and a tail that day, and I remember thinking that someone should award me for dropping my brother similarly… at least, in spirit. My most memorable hit, however, which probably amazed me more than my siblings and friends present at the time, involved another bully in the neighborhood where we grew up. Behind our house a patch of trees and swamp-like ground that we dubbed “The Woods” was our playground. When Mom told us kids to go outside and play, she admonished us to “got play in ‘The Woods’ but not too far so I can call you for dinner.” We, therefore, spent most of our summertime days in The Woods. My day of astounding accuracy also took place in those woods. The group of us were walking near the stream that ran the length of the wooded area. Suddenly, a stone came out of nowhere and hit one of us, not me. My sister started crying, and my brother wanted to rush the kid who was trying to hide behind a tree trunk about 40 yards away. With my target in sight — did I mention there was a “Y” split in the tree trunk, about waist high? — I yelled at my brother as I stooped to pick up the nearest rock I could find, “Don’t worry, Chris, I’ll take care of this!” The stone I found was rounded and flat – the kind that was perfect for skipping on a calm pond’s glass-like water surface at least 13 times before it sank – and it fit into the natural curve between my left forefinger and my thumb as if it were designed precisely for this moment. I leaned back and came forward like a pitcher on the mound and, with one swift sweep of my arm, let the hard missile fly toward the tree and the body standing and watching us from inside the Y. My throw met its target squarely in the center of his forehead between the two trunks on either side. He cried out in pain and ran away. While my siblings and friends cheered the event I stood in silence, utterly amazed at what I had done. The odds were against anyone making that shot, but I had done it with pure intention. To this day, that throw remains one of the most triumphant moments of my childhood.
Back to Reality
Sitting on the Bristol High stadium bleacher, this is what I remembered and looked at, thinking in the back of my mind that maybe there was something unusual about my accuracy, after all. “How come you can throw touchdowns so well?” the kid had asked me. “Because I see the fingertips,” I had answered. WHY had I said that?
BANG… And Then It Hit Me!
Then it hit me! I saw fingertips alright, but they were always CLOSE UPS! Even the guy’s body, his face in the Y of the tree, was vividly recorded in my mind as a CLOSE UP! How could that be? I asked myself. And the answer astounded me: I was out of my body in every instance, seeing my targets up close and throwing to the location of my intended targets! Suddenly, the rest also made sense to me. Why I hit that kid in the face: I was throwing to get even for the defense of my family members, and NOTHING would stop me. Why I threw out Little League batters: I threw to a catcher’s mitt which was large and right in front of me. I wanted to strike batters out. Why I felled my brother and scared off a bully: my attention was focused as sharply as a laser beam. And why I could “see” my receivers’ fingertips over the outstretched arms and hands of menacing defensive players taller and larger than I: I was THERE at the location of my intended target… every time! And I had three common factors that helped me:
- my FOCUS.
- my PURPOSE
- my INTENTION
I had been out of my body. And, given that realization, from that moment forward I have been aware that not only am I, but everyone else, is not a body. I am a spiritual being operating a body, just like the rest of us. And, upon further study, I’ve found out that I’m not alone in that conviction.
“You don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body.” — C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French Jesuit priest and mystic philosopher.
Like I said, I had never thought about it before. The thought never crossed my mind.
© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.