sports psychologist & clinical psychology

A VISIT TO URI GELLER’S HOME IN ENGLAND

JohnFMurray.com – Feature Article – June 17, 2004 – Uri Geller Invites Dr. John F Murray to his English Mansion. {Note: this was a fun trip and I hope you find this article entertaining}

While in Wimbledon, England to conduct another round of sport psychology workshops before the start of “The Championships, I received an invitation from Uri Geller to visit his home. After my work on a Sunday afternoon, I arrived by train and taxi to gorgeous mansion, some 30 minutes from London, and spent about 4 hours as a guest of Uri and his wife, and was introduced there to Robin Gibb of Bee Gees music fame.

Uri is a remarkably nice person and his family is interesting and bright. Geller was interested in my success with athletes using mental training, and with the fact that I represent the scientific side of performance enhancement. As you might remember, Geller hit the American scene in the 1970s and became famous for his unusual abilities (e.g., bending spoons, fixing clocks, reading minds).

Uri today focuses mostly on helping sick children and using the many powers of positive thinking and optimism in his books and talks. I agree with him there – as much research shows that the mind and body are connected in ways we never ever imagined. He was a very pleasant host and I enjoyed meeting his beautiful wife Hanna, his mother, his brother-in-law and sharp manager Shippi, his soon-to-be-barrister son Daniel and his three barking dogs. We took a three-mile walk together behind his home in the pastureland along the Thames River owned by Reading University. When we returned he performed for me in his kitchen the feat that he says “made me world famous and bent a spoon for me and autographed it. He also correctly replicated a drawing that I had made and kept secret from him. I have no idea how he did all this … but it was all very impressive.

Uri calls me his friend and the feeling is mutual. Rather than trying to understand the method to his wizardry on this trip, I was more interested in learning about the person, and what had made him so successful. I think we should all try to learn from one another. His incredibly positive attitude and pleasant way with people is his greatest asset. He is a normal and modest family man who gave me a rare glimpse into the mind of a truly successful performer on a June day. Here’s a copy of an email I received from Uri after my visit with him, as it was his attempt to secure an interview in the British press during Wimbledon:

“I’ve had several fascinating conversations over the past few days with Dr John F Murray, one of the world’s leading sports psychologists and the author of the essential work on Mind Power for tennis players, Smart Tennis: How To Play And Win The Mental Game. I think John and I could do a great interview for one of the nationals, pegged on Tim Henman’s success at Wimbledon

Henman lost, so the interview with Uri never happened. But I was later invited to be a guest on gmtv, Europe’s largest morning television show, along with Anabelle Croft. They wanted my input into the success of Wimbeldon Champion Maria Sharapova and have informally invited me into the studio next year during Wimbledon.

We all have different abilities. Uri is not a sport psychologist or scientist, but I’ve only been able to bend spoons with a vice and hammer! I am a perfect 1 for 1, however, in my attempt at telepathy! I tried to replicate Uri’s telepathy with two friends in London, just for fun, and it worked to perfection as I correctly copied a small star figure, exact dimensions and shape that had been drawn outside my view. I’m still trying to figure out how I did this – but it was witnessed by two people! Let’s just call this beginners luck, but it had my friends begging me to show the secret to this amazing feat for weeks. I’m clueless!

Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon, visited our home many years ago and I recently had an interesting exchange with him about my visit with Uri and psychokinesis. Edgar claims that these are all normal capabilities that we are just beginning to understand in any depth and with scientific precision. He says that Uri is very real, and not a trickster or magician and that he has watched him operate for over 30 years and knows him well enough to make that statement. Mitchell went on, “I have a large number of artifacts and memorabilia from the years of study and research, plus dozens of stories. All one needs to do is study the basic literature that is available from good science studies and the evidence is all there, for those open to learning that the world operates as a quantum world, not as a classical Newtonian world, in which there is no explanation for these type events.”

I keep my feet on pretty firm ground as a psychologist, and restrain from making claims beyond what I understand. I believe I can help athletes and others perform better and have more success using the methods I already employ. But as a most inquisitive seeker of knowledge, I’m fascinated by what I do not understand. Mitchell is no lightweight when it comes to science and he recommended his book, “The Way of the Explorer.”

How does this all fit into sport psychology? It’s an example of an elite performer in his chosen field. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Uri’s humble shack on the Thames. Unfortunately, the spoon he gave me continued to bend for several hours after my departure, so it’s now totally useless in the kitchen!

Thanks Uri, and you’re welcome to visit me in Palm Beach any time. Work on your tennis game or you’ll be in serious trouble come November … that is unless you can bend the tennis ball in flight!

I’m always interested in emails from others who might want to add their comments or questions and I hope you enjoyed this journey.

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