Throughout the years monitoring my… I would call it spirit—I haven’t found a more reliable indicator of spiritual health as a sense of confidence in the future. It’s not certainty, not hope, not expectations, just a general sense that good things are coming up and everything will work out fine.
The opposite of this, which often shows up during depression is an impeding sense of doom. You don’t know exactly how or why, but you know things will turn out catastrophically bad.
These two generally bear little relation to reality. Should you be a prehistoric hunter, you’d either feel your next hunt would end up in a severe injury or death, or you’d have the confidence that you will hunt successfully and with ease, without being able to pinpoint at a specific reason (e.g. I have a broken leg).
Do these attitudes have a stake in the outcome? It would seem so, the marksman who is thinking “I will fail, I will fail, I will fail” is placing his attention on failure. If he is able to shoot his crossbow, it’s only because his body has mechanical memory.
What does the optimist marksman think then? Surely not “I will hit, I will hit, I will hit”. The optimist marksman becomes the crossbow and forgets about himself. There is no attachment to outcome, work is done and then it is forgotten.
There is nothing more instructive in this matter than watching elite sportsmen and women during the olympics. Before executing a difficult athletic feat they pause, eyes staring into nothingness, deeply focused. Are they thinking about how they’re going to execute? Or are they quieting the mind so that the feat can execute itself?