Archive for the ‘Buddhist meditation’ Category

We’ve all felt it. A tightening of the muscles around the neck. A lump in the throat. A rising of blood to the forehead. A quickening heartbeat. Sweaty palms. In golf, it’s particularly troublesome, we are told. It’s a game that requires precision timing and coordination. It requires being in the moment, dealing only with the matter at hand, namely wielding an unwieldy metal club, attempting to hit a small white dimpled ball to a target over 300 yards away. Any tightening, sweating, beating, or blood rising beyond the norm will truncate that process and dynamite any chance for success. We feel it elsewhere too, like at work when the our supervisor comes by and asks to have a “word with you,” or when a cop pulls us over, or when our spouse “needs to talk.” Pressure greets us almost daily with its bared teeth and a scowl. An overdue phone bill. Noisy neighbors that need quieting. Humans have always known it. We have much experience dealing with it, yet it’s as difficult to handle now as it was in the caves of France thousands of years ago.

In golf, no tournament is as pressure packed as a match play event, like the one being played this week in the Arizona desert. Every hole is as pressure packed as the last, and the last may well be your last before your flight home. How do these guys handle it? How do they maintain their level of concentration? How do they keep their swings from crumbling (more…)

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Golf involves such an intricate array of muscle movements that if you are out of balance just slightly, the flight of the ball will be affected negatively. Being a student of meditation and a teacher of Tai Chi, I have observed how a loss of balance can catapult you out the present moment and into a precarious flirtation with chaos. In golf, that chaos translates as miss-hit shots, poor decisions around course management, and letting big numbers affect your entire day. In life, losing one’s balance can be much more catastrophic, like the sad case of three hikers in Yosemite who waded into a pool above Vernal Fall, slipping, and going over the edge to their death. Other examples include elderly people who land in nursing homes because of a fall, and those who lose their emotional balance, resulting in serious psychological disorders. With golf, the effects of imbalance are not as dramatic as I’ve just described–it’s a game, after all–but if you’re serious about golf, it can be no less frustrating and aggravating when (more…)

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Recently Dustin Johnson was remembering his meltdown on day 4 of the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and had an insight into what he should have done. Johnson took a three-shot lead into that final round with destiny sitting there like a siren beckoning him towards the rocks. Right off, he made triple on the second, double on the third, and bogey on the fourth. By the time he walked off the fifth green, his three shot lead imploded into a four shot deficit. Johnson shot 82 that day, relinquishing the laurels to a steadier Graeme McDowell. “Things kind of spiraled after the triple,” he told the SF Chronicle recently, just before ┬áhe tries to win his third straight AT&T at Pebble. “I started moving fast, thinking fast, walking fast. I learned I really have to slow down with everything–my routine, my swing, my thought process, my walking. I’ve just got to take everything slower.”

It’s a great lesson for all of us. Ballooning to double or triple on any particular hole requires a (more…)

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