I was chatting with a golfer the other day.
She had been struggling with her game and despite practising and taking lessons, her best golf was proving elusive when she wanted it most.
She was experiencing a lot of thinking on the golf course and wondered whether meditation might be a way of finding more clarity when she was playing.
I asked her what she meant by meditation.
‘You know, sitting quietly, repeating a mantra, trying to get my thoughts under control,’ she replied.
‘If I can learn to clear my mind away from the course, hopefully I will be able to do it when I’m feeling under pressure on it?’
Meditation Is Not a ‘Doing
This concept of meditation is quite common in western culture.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have the calming effect that many practitioners are hoping for.
When they don’t experience the change they were expecting, they blame themselves for ‘not doing it correctly’, or for not practicing diligently enough to feel the benefits.
In a world, and a sport where individual ‘doer-ship’, and ‘being in control’ is regarded as the holy grail, it’s easy to see how this misinterpretation of what meditation really is, can occur.
Put simply, meditation is the absence of the meditator.
It is not about changing, controlling or fixing experience.
It is about seeing experience’s essential nature.
It’s about uncovering who you really are.
Becoming Aware of Being Aware
In accepting the premise of meditation as a tool or a strategy to fix or control experience you have misunderstood how the mind works.
In using it in order to get somewhere or become something, you are masking or veiling the very thing you are looking for.
Meditation is the knowing of the present moment as it is.
It is the recognition of the true nature of the mind.
It is becoming aware of being aware.
It is presence.
How can awareness of the present be a method to attain or become something in the future?
Lost In the Game?
We have all had the experience in completely losing our ‘self’ in the present moment.
Of being completely absorbed in the game we are playing, or the task we are doing.
That is meditation.
The highest form of meditation is not a practice or an activity of the mind.
It is a relaxing or sinking back of the mind into its source.
It is not the absence of awareness. It is the awareness of absence.
It is the disentangling of awareness from its own activity.
Wrong Tool, Or Not Understanding the Task?
As such meditation is not a tool, a technique or a strategy.
It is where we end up when we stop trying to do stuff, to become someone or something.
When we stop seeking.
Attempting to us it as a method to help us become better seekers is why meditation fails to meet the expectations of many people who try it.
It’s like trying to use a potato masher to paint a fence.
It’s not that it can’t work after a fashion.
But the frustration you feel might mean you have misunderstood the essential nature of what you are trying to do.
Rather than that you aren’t using the implement correctly.
If you would like to learn more about how golf can become a meditation in itself, or if you have any questions about this article, please get in touch, or book a call using this link.