If you want to know someone, play golf with them.
If you want to know if you should hire someone, play golf with them.
If you want to know if you should marry someone, play golf with them.
Well, maybe the marrying scenario is a stretch. But maybe not.
Tim O’Connor, Author of ‘The Feeling of Greatness, the Moe Norman Story”, now a performance coach – understands this better than anyone. We talk about it often. We agree that Golf is more than a game, it’s is a spiritual endeavor.
All of us are the heroes of our own journeys. We face the trials and tribulations of our lives every day. Sometimes we lose battles. We confront our fears. Some are monsters. We battle our demons and somehow come out the other side – victorious.
Interestingly, how we deal with the adversity in our lives is reflected in the way we play golf. A round of golf is filled with suffering. A bad drive leaves us hopelessly behind a tree and an unlucky bounce penalizes us in the water.
What happens to our ball is the least of our problems. As Moe would say “Who cares, it’s just a golf ball”. The real problem is what happens to our ego and our sense of self worth. The ball behind the tree and in the water diminishes our self worth. We feel inadequate. This is the real challenge.
The questions is, can you be calm while it is happening? Is there a sense of peace and assuredness underneath the craziness?
“Most amateurs think the pros on TV are super chill, under control and thinking the right thoughts.
You would be wrong. They can be just as crazy as the rest of us. But the difference between the best and the rest is that elite players know how to deal with harrowing thoughts and feelings through awareness and process.”
Moe called his imperturbability or sense of self confidence during turbulence. It’s the serene calmness at the depth of the ocean while the waves crash on the surface.
This doesn’t come completely from your golf game or your skills. While I believe that your skills can be building blocks of self confidence – they are not the source. The source of confidence is the depth of the ocean that is always present.
Confident golfers access the bottom of the ocean more easily.
So how do you find the depth of your ocean? It come through practice. First, you must start looking for it. Actually, you must notice it because it is always there. It a matter of awareness. When thing are going crazy and your mind is moving from past thoughts to the future, you simply notice the part of you that is sitting still. Deep inside there is a watcher. The watcher inside of you notices but doesn’t react. It is still. This is the place you must learn to access.
The craziness of constant thought reminds me of driving in heavy traffic as cars endlessly zoom by me from the left and right. I start to speed up to keep up with the flow but find myself caught in the traffic. I start to get nervous because I am losing control. Then I decide to just pull over and stop the car. On the side of the road, sitting still, I watch as the cars speed past me. Eventually the cars are gone and I slowly roll back onto the road.
The speeding cars are my thoughts. Watching them I become the observer of them. Sitting on the side of the road keeps me from getting caught up in them. When you are having too many thoughts, you need to pull over and just watch.
I call this place of watching “Todd World”. Todd world is where I go to settle the mind down. It’s a place of emptiness. Its where I observe. How do you learn emptiness. There is only one way that I know of – meditation.
My speeding car example is exactly what mediation is. When you pull over to the side of the road you are letting go of thoughts. They are allowed to move though your mind without reacting to them.
In this blog series, we will explore mediation and it’s benefits to you and your golf game.