Tim Gallwey is a thirty-nine-yearold tennis professional, educator and author who became a follower of Guru Maharaj Ji in 1971. His book The Inner Game of Tennis has become the best selling tennis book ever written, revolutionizing the field of tennis teaching. He has since hosted a PBS television series, written a second book, Inner Tennis — Playing the Game, and recently completed a third book entitled Inner Skiing. In addition to all this, Tim keeps busy lecturing for such diverse institutions as UCLA, AT&T and IBM, and trains both tennis and skiing professionals in Inner Game skills.
The Inner Game approach has gained amazing popularity recently, reflected by Tim's many appearances on such network TV shows as Good Morning America and Dinah Shore, and in publications such as People Magazine, Newsweek and Time.
Where did the ideas of the Inner Game come from?
Many people assume that because I dedicated the books to Guru Maharaj Ji that the ideas in the books are part of his teaching. But this is not how it works. Guru Maharaj Ji taught me meditation — not a philosophy or a group of ideas. Doing meditation on Knowledge in the way he showed me increasingly quiets my own mind. As a result, it is easier to see things clearly and to gain insights into how things work. Since I was teaching tennis at the time I started meditating on Knowledge, I saw more clearly than before how the learning process worked how it could be cooperated with instead of interfered with. I taught tennis and meditated, taught and meditated, taught and meditated. The principles and practices of the Inner Game emerged very naturally and spontaneously from this process. I believe if I had been a doctor at the time, I would have similarly gained insights into the practice of medicine. So my dedication goes to Guru Maharaj Ji, not for teaching me ideas, but for revealing to me the source of true creativity.
You seem to imply that thinking is more of an interference than a help?
It does seem paradoxical, but it's not really. ft is only the constant dialogue going on in our ego-mind that interferes with the expression of our potential. When a person learns to quiet the ego-mind, so full of fears, doubts and desires related to it's self-image, then true thinking and creativity emerge naturally.
So, in your opinion, the purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind and thereby increase creativity, learning and performance?
Actually, no. The reason I do meditation is to experience my true self. There are many other wonderful byproducts of meditation, but they are not it's purpose. The ability to still and concentrate one's mind enables one to see more clearly both outwardly and inwardly. But focusing outwardly only helps one get around in the world of time and space, while concentrating inwardly on the correct point can lead us to a dimension of reality beyond time and space. The experience of this part of ourselves satisfies the basic human desire to know one's true identity. It enables one to experience the love we need from an internal source and therefore frees a person from dependence on external circumstances.
Do you believe there are many forms of meditation that can lead a person to knowledge of self?
Everyone seems to think this is an important question. People want to know if there is only one way or if all ways lead to the same destination. Some ask out of intellectual curiosity, others out of a sincere desire to do everything in their power to fulfill their longing to reach the goal of their life. According to one's motivation, one understands the simple answer to this question. Yes, there is only one way. Yet there are many ways which lead to one way. It is obvious that to gain union with one's true self, one must first be able to experience that self directly. Only if I can touch a banana can I then eat it. No matter how many indirect procedures or efforts one might take to try to unite with that inner self, first he must be able to experience it. Knowledge of self can then be said to be the only way to union with self. I myself traveled many different paths to get to that point, including achievement in tennis, studies, relationships, philosophy, scriptures, yoga, nature, listening to wise men, etc. Each gave me an experience, some happier than others, which contributed in some way to my ability to recognize the opportunity of the direct experience of my true self when it presented itself to me.
In the final analysis, the only way is that way in which the means to the goal and the goal are the same. The best analogy I can think of to explain this apparent paradox is the example of trying to reach the sun. Although I might try many different means, I am assured of success if I know the secret of riding sunbeams to their source. Because the sunbeam is part of the sun and originates in the sun, it will lead me to the sun, while allowing me to ex perience sunlight all the way there. This is really the same with self knowledge. Our true self is like a beam of pure energy which radiates from the source of all energy. By knowing how to find that internal beam of light and follow it to its source by a process of meditation and love, a human being can fulfill his purpose. If he tries to take an airplane or even a rocket to the sun, his success will be in doubt. Sooner or later he is going to have to get out of the indirect means, and latch onto the sunbeam and ride it to its source.
How does Guru Maharaj fit into all this for you?
Guru Maharaj Ji revealed Knowledge to me. Without him, I was unable to experience that inner self directly and consistently. Because he showed me what I wanted to know above all else, I call him my Guru. Because I came to him seeking knowledge of self and opened myself to him, he calls me his devotee. So it is a very simple and beautiful relationship. It is not totally unlike the relationship between my tennis students and myself. A student comes to me because he thinks I can show him a process for improving his tennis. If he takes my suggestions and his tennis improves, he recognizes me as his teacher. But although the Inner Game may help a person with the learning process, it doesn't have the capability to answer a person's thirst for self-knowledge. It can't take a person to the direct experience of his own inner light. Knowledge is that inner light, and Guru Maharaj Ji revealed that Knowledge to me, and now guides me and inspires me to go all the way to the source, so I can experience what he is experiencing. It would be impossible for me to describe the extent of my gratitude for what he has done and is doing for me.