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Archive for the ‘spiritual’ 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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I take exception to golfers referring to their evangelical announcements about how the Lord is so intently interested in their winning golf tournaments. The Lord has enough on his or her hands to waste time helping so and so play a game. And why would the Lord (a euphemism for Jesus Christ) pick out one born again golfer over another born again? I cringe every time I hear a pro praise the Lord for guiding his winning ways. Please, keep your religion to yourselves, boys. It has no place in championship golf as it has no place in the affairs of the government.

Webb Simpson is the latest in the line of evangelicals who uses his wins as a soapbox for how he couldn’t have pulled it off unless the Lord hadn’t helped him, implying the Lord knew the difference between a nine iron and a putter. Did the Lord help Gene Sarazen make that double eagle or invent the sand wedge? No, and The Squire (more…)

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At Tiger’s news conference Monday, the most significant revelation was that his troubles started when he stopped meditating, when he stopped practicing the Buddhist religion which he shares with his mother. That’s when he lost his moral compass.Being a Buddhist, Tiger is involved with more than a religion. In fact, Buddhism, at its core, is more a spiritual practice than a set of beliefs that make up most religions. As the late philosopher Alan Watts once said, “Buddhism never uttered its final doctrine.” Essentially, through trial and error, the practitioner finds out what is the truth for himself. It’s a path that requires taking total responsibility. You can’t retreat to God or a set of truths to guide you: You are the captain of your own ship. It’s why monotheistic religions often don’t buy into Buddhism: There’s a basic belief human beings need help, and that help comes from a higher power. These other religions involve prayer and meditation just like Buddhism, but with Buddhism  the higher power is essentially called your True Self, or that which is always in the present and not subject to birth or death (more on this in another post). It’s a part of you that is always there, if you can get in touch with it. When you meditate according to Buddhist instructions, you simply stay with your own body and mind and breath in the present moment. When Tiger stopped meditating, (more…)

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Ernie Els is a man of high integrity. The Big Easy is also a fabulous golfer. But he will be just as remembered for bringing to the public’s attention the plight of autism. His seven-year-old son, Ben, is autistic, and Ernie and his wife Lisl bravely chose to reveal this and form a foundation educating the public about this tragic and debilitating illness. As a social worker and counselor with over 30 years in the field, I’ve worked with people with autism and related Asperger’s syndrome, and can tell you it adversely affects every aspect of life, both the individual’s and their family’s. There are different levels of autism, ranging from complete separation from others, such as rocking and obsessing on their fingers, to a social disorder, of varying degree, where the person is of normal or higher intelligence but has difficulty  communicating and making friends and relationships. I’ve worked with autistic kids who can only rock in a chair all day and night, absorbed totally with themselves, and others who’ve gone on to college and work. The entire illness is now known in the DSM-IV as the Autism Spectrum, with a wide range of functionality.

There’s been much misunderstanding, fear, and prejudice around autism over the years, (more…)

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