I think a lot about Zen Buddhism because I meditate every day.

I get up every morning and before I eat or do anything I meditate for 35 minutes. It’s a very intense 35 minutes because you’re emptying the mind. I’ve been doing it religiously every morning for over six years now.

I wish I’d been doing it longer.

“It is intense and it is extremely difficult. You try stilling the mind for that time and you’ll find out how incredibly difficult it is and how immensely powerful it can be for focusing.”

I can give you an example of what it did for my ability to focus.

I have a pool table at home. I’ve had it a long time and played for several years. I was good, but never that good, and then I stopped for whatever reason.

Now I’ve gone back and I’m one hundred percent better because I can focus and I can concentrate and I can still the mind – the thinking, talking mind is what messes you up.

You can see it’s powerful influence in sports – in the golfer who’s lining up a 20-foot putt to win. He’s thinking. The thinking interrupts the physical process – the mental.

“You’ve got muscle memory, you’ve mastered the craft, but the thinking will mess you up every single time.”

I looked at why Samurai warriors were obsessed with Zen Buddhism.

Think it’s bad being Tom Brady or Robert Griffin?

Imagine being in a swordfight – it’s life or death. Tomorrow you will be dead because you were not a good enough sword fighter.

That will focus the mind.

“That’s why Samurai warriors became fascinated with the Zen tradition – because it could alter that mental aspect, it could give you mental control. It could make you one with a moment.”

There’s a great book: Zen in the Art of Archery.

At the highest moment you’re one with that bow. You’re not thinking anymore. You’re in the moment

That’s the most powerful point you can reach in sports and in any kind of endeavor.

It’s also the endpoint of mastery.

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Author |

Robert Greene is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law. His fifth book, Mastery, examines the lives of great historical figures such as Charles Darwin, Mozart, Paul Graham and Henry Ford and distills the traits and universal ingredients that made them masters.