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  Columnist: Jann Burner

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The Zone

Posted on Wednesday, 6 April, 2016 | 1 comment
Columnist: Jann Burner

I had an insight yesterday. It came to me (as it does from time to time) what the bottom line is with us humans. The underlying scent which leads conscious energy to create all of the super-detailed, emotionally involving metaphorical overlays we toss around like "Reality" is all about being in "The Zone", being "On Point", or "On Station".

When I was 18 years old I was a newly trained control tower operator in the Air Force. That was a very unique job. Especially at the largest nuclear bomber base on the planet. Following the metaphor of a tower controller, I would walk into total chaos (the busy control tower), sort of circle around (the action), bring myself closer and closer until the "A" position guy would hand me the microphone and then "BINGO!", I would be in The Zone, the center of the cyclone, directing all the aircraft within ten miles of the tower! There would literally be no room for doubt, second thoughts or hesitation of any kind. We even used to have a shrink come by once a month and observe us to see if we exhibited any "tell-tale" quirks or tics suggesting impending system failure.

With this latest insight, I suddenly saw how my entire life changed at that point, although I never talked about it at the time, nor did any of the other controllers speak about it. And yet I can see that later, when I returned to college, being in The Zone became the scale by which I measured wisdom and knowledge and other people. That became what I noticed about writers and authorities in specific fields. If they were in The Zone, I absorbed whatever they had to say. If they weren’t in The Zone, I simply ignored them. It was like water and I was a man dying of severe dehydration.

Later, driving a cab on the night shift in San Francisco, it was the same; the chaos, the getting closer and closer, finally leaving the garage and rolling out into the Night with all the crazy people, the traffic, potential danger and then, "BINGO!", after a few hours I would find myself "In The Zone!"

It occurred to me that to truly get in the zone one should keep the metaphorical construct as "simple" as possible. Keep it "Simple" and "immediately" available. Many people keep The Dream of the zone, but they usually keep it at arm’s reach. "Some day, when the kids are grown; when I retire; when I make my first million dollars; when my book sells; when I get my record deal... " But what is more accessible than driving a taxi in a major metro area? Sort of a Western example of an Eastern Ashram or temple. The correlation of driving and/or sitting in a Zen Ashram is quite close and applicable.

I can see where "The Zone" and getting access to it is The Driving Force behind all of human endeavors. War, Sports, Sex, Music, Film... are all vehicles to transport the "Star" and the audience into The Zone, for a few minutes or at most for an hour or two. Gambling and drug addiction are two other extreme on-ramps into The Zone. The problems occur when the "Traveler" views the metaphorical structure present when one is in The Zone, as the only access road to The Zone. One can use the very simplest discipline to access The Zone. Simply sit and meditate, with intent. No need for Las Vegas or a Super Bowl or... WAR!

I am suspecting one of the lesser recognized aspects of "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome" is the paradoxical combination of the awesome feeling of spiritual centeredness experienced in The Zone juxtaposed with the horrific images of death and destruction of War in a truly mind bending combination. This explains why often veterans, once safe at home, find that they miss the action. If you survive, you are left with the feeling that "something" important is missing. That feeling of being On Station, totally tuned in, is often hard to find in day to day life back home.

Unfortunately the person often connects feelings within The Zone, with the details of the metaphor present when the feelings occurred. Thus one can imprint the death and trauma of War as being the cause of The Zone feelings. Or, if one is a pro athlete one can connect or imprint the details of the championship game with the feelings of The Zone and since championship games are hard to come by and harder still to win, one’s access to The Zone can be awfully limited. One can reach out even further. I suspect that the feeling that "one has peaked", can be taken as evidence that one connects a specific metaphorical structure with the feelings of being in The Zone. Thus one can feel that they peaked in high school, or college, or playing football or being a young beauty queen. Pick your metaphor.

The bottom line is The Zone is actually where we live! This is our natural domain. It is this fleshy 3-d suit here upon the 3rd planet from the sun that is un-natural. We long for that feeling one has in The Zone, we grieve its loss and thus we give it great value. And because it is so valuable we believe that it has to be "rare" (when it actually is utterly normal and common). We feel that only beautiful, rich, talented, famous, spectacular people have the proper credentials to access The Zone, when, in fact , it is our natural birth right.

The supreme irony is that one doesn’t have to do anything special to reside in The Zone. It is where we come from and it is where we go when we leave this place. It is our SOUL. It is only our time imprinted temporal selves who have invented this specific metaphorical matrix where the feeling of utter centeredness is as rare as diamonds and where we have designed a reality so skewed that we have even excluded ourselves.

Article Copyright© Jann Burner - reproduced with permission.

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