All 2 of you readers know that I obviously stopped writing on here for a while, but for good reason. I took some advice from my meditation and spiritual mentor to “commit myself to something that I really want.” I chose golf and I practiced relentlessly all summer, putting in hours and hours of practice, some days were upwards of 8-10 hours.
Truthfully, if I had another way of making a living outside of my corporate job, I would have practiced upwards of 15 hours a day at least 5 days a week. Perhaps some day that will happen for me, although I wouldn’t do for more than 1 year total (I’ll explain later). In actuality, I probably averaged about 2-3 hours of practice 4-5 days a week since I also had to manage my other obligations, like eating food and working.
I simply was not able to make the time for other interests like writing on this blog.
The golf ended up paying off for me, both in skill level and in life lesson value. The final round of the season I shot a 78, which was a tie of my best score ever which happened about 10 years earlier. I improved in all areas of my game and completely relearned every single swing type, from putting to chipping, pitching to irons and driving. I was finally able to manage the golf course with very smart decision making ability and emotional control. I am now able to have control over my shot shapes and enjoy the process of hitting high/low shots and fades and draws, slices and hooks.
The first half or even three quarters of the season I would have intense anger when I would hit bad shots, not as much on the outburst side, but internally I would be so upset that I would be at the point of swearing to myself that I would never play another round of golf in my life after this current round was finished. I simply could not handle the fact that I could put in so much work at something and still not improve.
Somehow though, due to my own endurance and lots of indirect and direct encouragement from others, I tapped into my grit muscles and decided to finish out the golf season. Miraculously, I started to play better and better during the last quarter of the season.
What I started realizing was that it was not so much that I didn’t have the skills developed (which I could clearly see on the practice range), but more so that I didn’t have the identity of being a 70s or better golfer. I simply wasn’t able to assimilate that identity into my reality. My standing reality was that I was only “so good” and that being any better than “so good” was a foreign reality that I couldn’t break into.
That realization taught me the importance of patience very quickly. Suddenly, when I would hit a bad shot, I had no attachment to the outcome and was not unhappy because I simply knew that I was still in process of assimilating into the identity of being a good composed golfer.
One round I started out birdie, par, birdie, par and then put a ball in the woods and almost put another out of bounds to finish at a 7 on a par 4. I wasn’t upset. Obviously it wasn’t ideal, but I simply knew that my mind wasn’t used to being 2 under after 4 holes, so there was nothing to fret about, there was only more time that needed to pass, more persistence, more grit.
When we commit ourselves to something, we are able to focus on the life process. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, focusing on something makes us face ourselves. It puts us through a metaphorical/micro life journey that is analogical to the rest of life, it is both actual life itself and also a recursive metaphor for the greater totality of our lives. This may not make sense, but what I am saying is this:
The struggle that comes from focusing on something is the same struggle that shows up as any kind of pain or suffering in any other part of your life. How you handle it with your focused subject matter is often how you will handle other life suffering. Essentially this is because when we go through struggles in life, we are faced with managing our resources.
Struggling or suffering “well” has to do with your ability to manage your resources “well” and I believe we can learn to manage them very well through good practice.
I though my dream career would be to be a professional golfer. I didn’t actually necessary think that this would happen but was willing to put in as much effort as I possibly could to see just how good I could get. Truthfully, i think I could get very very good, maybe not ever at the professional level but still I could get extremely good.
However, I realized I don’t care about that type of career. I think I would personally be miserable running around the globe from tournament to tournament competing in these ultra-serious competitions. It seems like it would get very lonely as well. Life has loneliness for sure, but I feel like that path would be even more pronounced in myself than normal.
I would still love the opportunity to practice for 15 hours a day 4-5 days a week for 1 year to see how good I could get, but it would simply be out of curiosity, fun and for the love of the game.
I also noticed that practicing that many hours sort of turns into a big meditation. The mind goes through all sorts of emotional ups and downs and has all sorts of interesting deviating thoughts but the end goal is to always return the focus to the task being practiced. This returning of attention is the “meditative repetition”. Meditation is thus the practice of repeating lots of these refocusing repetitions. It is extremely beneficial to the mind (and body, emotions and soul).
I wrote in another post about how a dream immersion habit has a dark side. My habit was to watch a video of my dream house in Hawaii every day. This beautiful exercise brought out the dark side of my dream, which is that any house, any where, means absolutely nothing to me if it isn’t filled with people I love. I simply don’t care about houses like I thought I did when I pictured my “dream”.
I am not even really concerned with my geographic region being all that beautiful or exciting (and it helps because I live in freezing/flat Minnesota). There is simply more to life than our external conditions and I am finding that what goes on internally is in many ways far more interesting than what happens in the external world.
The Dream Immersion Habit is a beautiful exercise that forces us to face our thoughts and beliefs around happiness and well being.
I was too busy to write here on Dream Habits because I was too busy facing my Dream Habits.
I hope you feel inspired to face yours.