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I've competed in powerlifting competitions twice, each time with 3-4 months of regular training beforehand. The second time, during the entire meet I had an out-of-body sort of experience. My awareness narrowed to just myself, the barbell, and the lifting platform, and I felt like I was merely observing my body as it went through the motions.

Intense competitive athletics is certainly conducive to focus that is likely similar to meditation. One book that I found somehow helpful or comforting was http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Art-Archery-Eugen-Herrigel/dp/0375.... I found myself following similar practices, by which I mean I would approach the barbell, get set up, and then wait until my body spontaneously performs the lift.

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