The NBA finals are around the corner, and they’re providing some fuel for my spiritual awakening – from the Golden State Warriors! Yes, I’m a fan and that’s a photo of me and my family at a game with the famous Kevin Durant – well, you know, the cardboard version. *wink*
Sure, I live in the SF Bay Area, so it’s easy to love our home-town champions (and even when they weren’t champs). But ever since Steve Kerr took over and the Splash Brothers have wowed us with 3-pt performances that have revolutionized the game, I’ve found more to love about this iconic team than their championship reputation. Even if you hate the Warriors, or couldn’t give a fig about basketball, there’s a lot to benefit our own personal and spiritual evolution from how this team works and plays.
The Warriors, to me, are more than a basketball team. They show us how an organization can lead, compete, and do business with higher principles. Steve Kerr, the team’s head coach, built the team around 4 core principles that shine through everything they do, and are the keys to their success: Joy, Mindfulness, Compassion, and Competition. These 4 principles reveal several spiritual qualities in how they work together and support each other.
The first value that coach Kerr holds shines through every game and practice: Joy
. It’s clear that the Warriors play for the love of the game more than anything else. They love to win, but more so they love the moment-to-moment challenges of a high-flying dunk, the perfect assist, a blocked shot, and of course the signature swish from beyond the arc.
These guys have fun! They bring a child-like enthusiasm to every moment on the court. And it makes them so watchable. Sure, their Achilles heel is taking so many chances that they can appear to be sloppy or lackadaisical. But they do those shots because they’re out there to have fun. To see what’s possible, and to have the best time, ever! Those few games when they don’t seem to be enjoying themselves are usually ones they lose.
This commitment to joy, fun, and a sense of humor is what gets this team through losses. They’ve had losing streaks, just like anyone else. They’ve faced elimination games in playoffs. But because they have the foundation of joy in their team (and their ability to laugh their less-than-desirable moments off), they find their center again and bounce back – sometimes to make their famous come-back wins. And when they don’t, they re-focus on bringing the fun back.
Whether they’re practicing double-dribbles or on the court going to toe to toe with a rival team, their heart is fully invested in joyful play. It’s contagious. Imagine what each of us could do with a commitment to working, playing, and living with joy. I know that when I’m filled with joy, work feels like play and my productivity and creativity soar. Not to mention that my heart opens and I feel more connected to the Divine all around me. That’s how I want my life to evolve and grow – joyfully!
Mindfulness – Focus on the Present
The Warriors are trained to maintain their focus in the present moment – the hallmark of Mindfulness practice. After the stunning come-back win in game 6 against the Rockets earlier this month, Steph Curry remarked that you have to have a sense of ”amnesia.” He described this aspect of the mindfulness philosophy a number of times over the years.
Curry lets go of the fact that he may have missed 10 shots – or that he was scoreless in the 1st half of that game – and focuses on the here and now. Because of that, he’s able at some point to find his groove again. It doesn’t matter if it takes 20 shots; Steph keeps coming back to the moment and keeps shooting.
The rest of the team also embodies this practice of mindfulness. If they aren’t shooting well, they turn to amping up the defense. If one player is hot, they pass it to them. They look at what is workable in this moment, how they can make a difference right here, right now.
We can all benefit from this lesson of Mindfulness. It’s in the present moment that we have choice and empowerment. Right now, we can take action and make a difference. We can create positive change and open our hearts in this moment. Think of the possibilities available to us if we had amnesia about our mistakes and past actions, and only remembered how capable and Divine we are, right here, right now. We’d move mountains – and on more than one occasion, the Warriors have.
Related to Mindfulness, many of the key players on the Warriors embody Neutrality. Sure, they celebrate a big win. But the next day, they’re back to work again, and having fun in the moment.
Read original article here.