Its “tee time”. We step in with mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness, as we embark on this 18-hole golf course. Playing a game of golf is similar to how we navigate our exploration of the playing field of Life.
Infants are entering the world like beginners, with no idea what adventures are in store for them. Tiny baby steps steer us enabling us to venture into unchartered territories. Equivalently, a beginner golf player gingerly treads an uncertain topography. Being a novice in this game, the golfer is completely clueless. One has to learn the art of a flawless swing from scratch to hit a completely motionless ball!
From infancy, we handle our odyssey in phases with the growing pains of childhood and unexplored territories of adulthood. This journey is guided by wisdom protocols enforced by parents and wiser experienced people. Life is like an expedition of complicated situations – a complex mix of personal challenges, sojourns, and experiences – compelling us to dig deep to discover our strengths and weaknesses. Along the way we learn and use life skills to live joyfully or miserably.
Each golf course terrain looks simple yet is complex in its own particular way. Golf courses are created around natural contours or hazards and the endeavor is to minimize the alteration of the surrounding landscape. The amateur picks up the golf set fully aware of the uncertainties of a golf course, a region embedded with impediments. The ball may land in the sand bunker or simply disappear into a water hazard. The amateur golfer needs training to completely master the art of maneuvering the golf ball. Even an intermediate golfer may not know the true potential of the different golf clubs in his set!
We all play the “game of life” with an invisible golf set. We pull out different clubs to achieve a certain “distance” or achievement in life. In any provocative situation we pull a club of our choice – an “iron club” of patience or anger, a “driver club” of compassion or hatred, or a “hybrid club” of conflicted emotions and mental chatter – to implement our thought, word or action.
Logic would make us believe that as we become older we learn to cruise through the hurdles of life with joy and happiness. Similarly, an experienced golfer is not expected to lose control of himself and mess up his game.
This inquiry leads us to audit the game of life. Once we delve into this, we stumble upon the real essence of how to “play” out all our thoughts, words, and deeds consciously. Once we master the art of getting in touch with our innate intelligence our awareness deepens and allows us to stay in the present moment.
While swinging the club, we need to have our complete attention on the act of swinging. If our attention diverts even for a second the focus shatters the sequence of a perfect swing.
Now armed with this knowledge to maintain alert stillness we play the game of life constantly disciplining ourselves to be in touch with our inner intelligence every moment. It’s a “watchful practice” as unknowingly we can slip into an unconscious moment and become susceptible to living in the past or the future and are lost to the Present.
Pick up your golf set with a conscious mind and use each club with an alert understanding of whether we need to “pitch”, “chip” or simply hit a long drive in our spiritual quest. Swinging with a conscious mind will keep us moving in the right direction for our physical and mental well-being, restraining us from getting entangled and lost in the hazards of the golf course or Life!
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