Most people have probably heard of The Zone, and many of us have experienced it — that mental space where everything flows, things seem to fall into place without effort, and Time has no meaning. Artists, artisans, athletes, authors, drivers, gamers, inventors, mail sorters, mathematicians, meditators, readers, scientists — almost anyone doing anything that requires reflexivity or creative thought can sometimes find themselves in The Zone.
But fewer people know how to get there at will.
“At will? What are you talking about?” You. And Doubting Thomas.
I know it can be done because I can do it.
I learned how in The Sharper Image store (when they still had brick and mortar stores), and I didn’t spend a dime.
Maybe you remember the alpha v. beta brainwave craze and the bio/neurofeedback machines that proliferated during the Seventies. The idea was to relax the normal beta wave brain activity to a lower level, the alpha wave, thus opening the mind to The Zone.
The Sharper Image sold a little bio feedback machine. You stuck your face against a kind of funnel-shaped frame that connected to a little box of electronics that emitted a sound and showed the wavelength of the wave you were experiencing — beta or alpha. If you changed from one wave to the other as you were in the frame, the machine would show you that, too.
I don’t know how it worked without electrodes like today’s neurofeedback machines have, but I was there with some of my sisters and friends, and of the six of us who tried it numerous times, I was the only one who made it change and achieved the coveted alpha wave state. Every time. Which the store personnel apparently found pretty annoying, especially since it was clear we had no intention of buying the thing. Or anything for that matter.
Anyway, I could feel myself doing it. It was like opening all the windows in my brain to let the buzzing out. Like focusing on Nothing in the mid-distance — a lot like those Magic Eye pictures that your eyes have to focus behind or in front of to see the 3D object emerge (or recede) from the computerized deconstruction of the image.
It’s a useful skill for constructing 3D models in your head, which I do as a seamstress when I alter or design, or around the house to figure out exactly what I need to create in order to fix something I’ve never fixed before. It’s the best problem solving tool I have.
And if I can do it, anyone can.
“And that’s an encouraging thought.” Gandalf the White, who probably spent more time in The Zone than anyone else in Middle Earth. Except maybe Galadriel.
What are your experiences in The Zone? What were you doing the first time you realized that’s where you were? What’s the surest way for you to get there?