Some times when I have a good couple of racks and run em out at will, I think back and it's almost like I was never there and never shot a single shot. Sort of like when you drive somewhere and once you get there you can barely remember the drive because you were in a state of "autopilot"... Typically, if I'm talking to myself in my head, it's because there are problems. It seems like my best pool gets played in "autopilot" mode as well... now I'm thinking on it too much and that's probably detrimental at this point!
I can relate to this, since this is what has become more common for me after I started to understand what Markova was saying. In the past, on some shots, I would get all lined up and then a doubt would emerge. I learned to simply shut it down and with my mind on no particular thing, I would just shoot, trusting the process. It bothered me that I wasn’t particularly aware of the shot. But they went in. Awareness was not necessary for the actual shot.
Now I strive for it. When totally focused on something happening that combines subconscious and unconscious processes, I am very comfortable with only a distant background conscious awareness. The visuals are always there, but take a soundtrack free, front row seat for a change, when this happens correctly. Watching a silent movie can trigger a version of that experience, a trancing effect. There is even a mental fist pump when a plan comes together and the balls disappear.
There is a neurological phenomenon called Synaesthesia - crossovers in the senses. Richard Feynman, a Nobel prize physicist reported seeing colors in his equations. A famed painter, Wassily Kandinsky, experienced music while painting and tried to create orchestral masterpieces. These are rarely reported cross sensing experiences. In athletics champion teams have reported connections between teammates of string like connections or light streams. That said, although these are interesting, I think this is a fish asking “what is water” moment. It’s something we miss under our own nose.
“Cue ball on a string”, is such a crossover. Feeling a visual line physical connection is part of what we term hand/eye coordination. It happens frequently between those senses, a type of activity in one sensory modality, such as vision here, that evokes automatic and involuntary perceptual experiences in another, an increased cross-talk between the sensory pathways in the brain. When it happens between other senses though, clinicians define it, give it a name and study it, because it is not part of a normally shared reality. In actuality it is likely just an unrealized capability in the rest of us.
I feared not having conscious awareness during certain shots especially key ones. We fear the unknown. Knowing now that this is likely a sign of the zone puts those fears to rest.
Raise a glass to ”being on autopilot”.