How our Inner State affects our Physical Experience
If you want to know what your thoughts were yesterday, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will look like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today.
– Native American saying
I have always been fascinated with the intrinsic link between our inner state of being and our physical experience in life. It seems that there are times when all the physical effort in the world isn’t enough to achieve the change we are seeking. But at the same time, sometimes a simple shift in how we think, feel or perceive our selves, each other or our situation, creates a positive ripple across our physical experience that we never could have imagined.
During my time as coach of the Australian Olympic Ski Team, this fascination reached a peak, because I discovered that at the elite level, where 90% of the athletes are within a few degrees of each other physically and technically, the different levels of performance on a given day come down almost exclusively to mental and emotional state of being, self-perception and belief.
Fighting the Internal Battle
As a coach, I found that I could often pick the podium winners for the day at breakfast while they were still in their pajamas, simply by the energy they exuded. Those who were “in the flow” permeated a sense of ease and inner alignment – as though all of the creative forces within them were working in harmony toward the same end. I had experienced this sense of congruence from time to time as an athlete, and now looking on, it seemed like events were being won before they even begun, literally from the inside out.
During this time I realized that while my own athletes were exceptionally well physically prepared, their ambition was being subtly undermined by limits in their self-perception, and their aspirations were being sabotaged by patterns of negative thought, feeling and belief. They wanted more than anything to achieve great results, but they seemed to be fighting an internal battle that was preventing them from reaching their goal.