JUST SIT!

Pay attention, trust, let go; and do not lie.

It feels like the country is a mess and that post truth, and consequently mistrust, is bubbling with conspiracy, spins, lies, partial truths, and more lies! Simply unhealthy ego, work-in-process human condition, and evolution. Daily, media headlines unfold racism, police shootings, mass shootings, voting rights suppression, political party sorting and associated partial truths, Jim Crow laws in new clothing, immigration crisis, critical race theory, LGBTQ rights, gun control chaos, automatic weapons violence, and politicized COVID-19. Americans are suffering, democracy is suffering, and the country is crossing the line of departure for a civil war, and more pain and suffering. Where have all the common good, virtue, compassion and love gone? A culture that deliberately creates human suffering is wrong! And each of us are expressions of our culture.  Collectively, we can do better!

An analytical glance reveals a least common denominator to be polarization, nurtured by festering, unhealthy selves that unleash pain and suffering in many forms. Collective, interactive dialogue offers a breath of evolutionary optimism and hope for Americans to have productive, interactive, authentic dialogue, build coalitions, work together, and experience compassion as the antibiotic to confront this nasty infection. No one needs to suffer, and no one wants to suffer. A nice place to begin the journey from unhealthy self to the authentic self is to have fun buying some stickers. Catherine Price, in her Mindfulness Journal, recommends,

Buy a pack of small stickers—any kind will do—and place a dozen or so around your home and office in noticeable places, such as your bathroom mirror, your computer, the back of your phone, the wall behind your kitchen sink, your alarm clock, or the cover of this journal. Every time you see one of these stickers, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BREATHE, AND BE.

Yes, stop what you are doing, take a slow, deep breath, enjoy the present moment, sense the emptiness, zero, spaciousness, and freedom. You might want to consider putting stickers on your computer, the car mirror, or the bathroom mirror. And have fun picking out stickers: Hobby Lobby offered beautiful butterflies, and they work like a charm.

If you are not already a meditator, a recommended next step is that you find a meditation coach and start a meditation practice. If you have never meditated before, have fun with it and be patient. To get you started, each morning practice sitting meditation for at least ten to twenty minutes. Find a comfortable, quiet place. You can sit in a chair, on a cushion, in your truck or car, or on the floor. When you sit in a chair, place your feet flat on the ground and sit upright. If you sit on the floor, sit in whatever way is comfortable: cross-legged, on a pillow, or on a meditation bench. Select a way that fits you! As you begin to take your seat, rock to the left and right, and then back and forth, to settle your buttocks. As you begin to settle in, sit with your head erect and your chin tucked in slightly. Put your shoulders back. Visualize your ears being aligned with your belly button; lift your head and neck as if they were being pulled by the sky. Find a comfortable position for your hands, such as resting them in your lap or one hand on each of your knees. You can sit with your eyes open or closed. If you sit with them open, lower your gaze, pick a spot on the floor in front of you, and let your eyes rest there. In sitting meditation, posture is like a foundation and is quite important for a resting mind: as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body. Good posture facilitates the easy flow of the breath, too. Pay attention, trust, and let go. As you settle into your chosen posture, spend a few moments paying attention to your breathing, focusing on each in-breath and each out-breath. Feel your abdomen expanding when you breathe in. Feel it contracting when you breathe out. Note how the breath tickles the skin between your nose and upper lip. There is nothing to be accomplished, nothing to be gained. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Do not attach yourself to them, and do not reject them. Just observe them, let them go, and keep breathing. Experience the thrill of just being with everything. If you find you are having difficulty staying focused on your breath, use the technique of counting your breaths as a support. Take one in-breath and one out-breath, and count one, in, out, and count two, and so forth, until you reach ten. Once you have reached ten, count backward. Keep in mind that the point is not in getting to ten but in staying connected to your breath, being mindful of your breath. Pay attention, trust, let go.

Sitting practice offers a tremendous sense of freedom and peace. With daily practice, meditation can quite easily become a part of daily activities. The deep game is not about being dealt a better hand, but about playing the cards we are dealt with as much intelligence, care, and creativity as we possibly can. Now you are finally free to be the freedom you have been from the beginning. ‘Just this’ is the ultimate reward that comes from inhabiting the particular cartoon character you drew from this Kosmic deck of cards. Lao-tzu’s (Stephen Mitchel, 11) wisdom is clear, concise, and complete:

We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.

We work with being, but non-being is what we use.

Just sit; be transparent, authentic, pure, safe, all seeing, and feel the freedom. Simply do not lie.

LEADERSHIP 101

As Americans, we each will have important “leader” decisions to make in November 2024: Who are the best qualified persons is to lead this great Nation? As we reflect, muster, and share thoughts and ideas, some of the significant challenges for political leaders: inflation, economy, pandemics, racism, global warming, energy, war and threats of war, inequality, unemployment, health, and partisanship. Unfortunately, amidst the absolute chaotic disaster and endless distractions—confusion, hatred, violence, party-sorting, institutional destruction, inconsistent messages, investigations, absence of governance, and deliberate, planned division that arouses emotions, passions, and prejudices—it may be difficult to relax, focus, and develop a personal perspective concerning a vision of what the country can be.

Great ideas emerge from Democrats; great ideas emerge from Republicans; great ideas emerge from Independents; and a reasoned, first step, ethical decision will be to identify leaders who are physically healthy, emotionally balanced, mentally clear, and spiritually awake; who are virtuous and morally solid persons; and who have the background, experience, interests, talents, and skills to consciously evolve and create a lasting vision of this Nation for generations to come. Essential competencies for the challenging assignments are as follows:

LEADERSHIP: Leadership is an earned, trust based, influence relationship between the respective leader, other leaders, and followers who intend ethical changes that mirror common purpose.

ETHICS: The art of being a good person and practicing goodness in everyday life. Ethical persons are masters of the authentic Self and model the way as persons; in relationships; and when skillfully helping others.

STRATEGIC VISION: Create and inspire a vision and direction for the Nation and the globe.

MISSION DRIVEN: Peace-of-mind with purpose and connections built on a foundation of compassion. Has a bias for action, for trying new things, and for getting things done.

FINANCIAL SAVY: Plans, communicates, monitors, and controls; establishes risks, solves problems, and makes sound decisions concerning economic and financial performance.

STAFFING and STAFF DEVELOPMENT: Attracts and selects talented, well-qualified people. Assesses the short and long-term needs of the institution and develops plans to improve the overall structure and talent and skills strength of the institution.

QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS: Develops, uses, and sustains strong, cooperative relationships with persons. Uses effective listening and interpersonal skills to achieve mutual trust and respect.

COMMUNICATIONS: Keeps persons informed and creates communication forums to give and receive information.

BUSINESS and POLITICAL SAVY: Has a worldview perspective, is aware and understands the implications of changes in the globe. Has “street smarts,” sizes-up situations quickly, is practical, and knows the right things to do and when to do them.

TEAM LEADERSHIP: Achieves results by motivating and inspiring a winning team. Builds commitment to common goals by communicating a sense of mission and by energizing the team. Creates an environment where differences are valued, where systems work equally well for all and wherein persons can retain their uniqueness and contribute at their full potential.

EXECUTIVE MATURITY: Acts appropriately in business, social, and political situations. Displays control in complex, ambiguous, or stressful situations. Identifies with persons, shares their values and beliefs, and is comfortable with them.

HUMAN NEEDS SATISFACTION: Is “in-tune” with mental and emotional needs of others, cares about people, and puts action plans in-place to create an environment to improve the quality of life and personal productivity that is beneficial for persons. Links recognition to accomplishment and shows appreciation and expresses pride in the team’s accomplishments.

HANDLING COMPLEXITY:  Analyzes and solves complex problems. Deals effectively with large amounts of data, changing conditions, incomplete data, or uncertainty. Understands how seemingly unrelated issues interact and affect one another. Gets to the essence of complex issues quickly, generates a variety of alternative courses of action, and makes effective decisions.

IDEA LEADERSHIP: Implements breakthrough and innovative ideas, programs, and processes that make a genuine difference.

VALUES and PRINCIPLES:

Values: trust and trusted; high integrity; direct; open; honest; caring; compassionate; morality; joy; virtuous; and hope.

Principles:

-Does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.

-Objective, not self-serving, and acts in the best interests of the people being served.

-Committed to the concept of 100% responsibility: life happens because of me and not to me. Does not blame others.

-Learns from one’s own experiences in an intentional and self-directed manner and applies that learning to new challenges.

-Sets a good example for physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, spiritual awakening, ethical behavior, and integration of hidden, subconscious reflections.

There is “more than enough of the American Dream to go around.” Leaders who are aware of, understand, and are committed to conscious evolution of this remarkable country for generations to follow will model the way, be visible, and emerge to inspire and influence virtuous and ethical action. Through teamwork, exemplary leadership, goodness, and caring attention to detail, “we” will unleash all that we are and all that we can be. Let us do the homework and select political leaders who will know where the country is and what it needs; who will be surrounded by exceptionally well-qualified associates; who will diligently work to create a worldview vision for the country; and who will lead the development of the policies and plans to evolve this country toward the vision for Americans. To wet your “re-think the vision” juices, here are some preliminary reflections: 1) Openness and self-awareness extend beyond the personal; 2) Worldview lets go of ego-self as the center and anchoring reference point from which the complex dance of persons, relationships, and experiences is viewed; 3) the Kosmos is continually evolving through us; 4) Each of us are conscious agents of evolution and the way of integrity uncovers the authentic self; and 5) We are highly intuitive, flexible, transcending and including, and leading edge. Let us put quality, common good, compassion, and virtue in all we are and all we do. We need to break the habit of doing more of the past.

 

2024 QUALITY CANDIDATES PROFILE

The 2022 mid-term elections will soon to be in rear view mirrors! And as 2024 elections unfold and candidates begin entertaining, spending, parading, politicking; and displaying character, personality, mentality, and magnetism, it occurred that to prevent personal distraction and interference, as continued shenanigans, poppycock, gobbledygook, whatchamacallits, and whatnot are unfurled, it would be a good idea to put together a working list of general position requirements for candidates. This list can serve as a nice time out for re-focus and serve as a hitching post and point of departure for objective, “quality candidate” definition lists and decision making.

Position Qualifications

  • Leader who has a track record of building teams of rivals—coalitions; who understands that great leaders have been good followers; that leadership is an influence relationship that energizes earned power and willingness to achieve mutually defined goals.
  • Master of the self, mind “full” ness, awareness and integral life practice—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually; and is master of authentic self and models the way as a person, in relationships, socially, institutionally, culturally and by helping others and caring about others. Puts quality, common good, compassion, integrity, and virtue in all he-she is and does.
  • High standards with respect to morals, ethics, guiding principles and core values that are plainly manifested in candidate’s personality, character, mentality, and magnetism. He-she does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.
  • Has learned self-restraint and 100% responsibility—life happens because of me and not to me; and is visibly committed to health, wellness, and well-being, personally, and for all Americans.

Affordable policies that respect humanity and nurture, grow and awaken American evolution

  • Economy that works for all Americans.
  • Healthcare: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, wellness and well-being.
  • Education-facilities, teachers and curriculum-and childcare.
  • Security: underwater, space and military.
  • Value in diversity, human dignity and respect.
  • Foreign policy coalition building facilitated by trust, respect and mutual goals.
  • Intelligence and technology leadership.
  • Infrastructure maintenance and evolution.

As the mid-term elections, inflation, and the economy vividly reminded us, fragile democracy and today’s evolving, global world demand leaders who can build and lead diverse teams of rivals, domestically and globally, to facilitate resolution of issues strategically and tactically for America and the world. As General Jim Mattis contended,

In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony-even vicious harmony-on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.

We need to select good team-coalition leaders in 2024: all Americans and global partners will appreciate the harmony, collective improvements, and sane evolution of the globe. A good place to start is with a definition of a “quality candidate” because quality candidates make a difference!

TRANSCEND and INCLUDE

Today it feels like the raging fire of polarization needs water! Simply, a view of the values of Self, others, and the collective through the lens of integral leadership, love, virtue, and compassion: visionary, worldview perspective, evolving and emerging now; words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, giving gifts and acts of service; and humanness. Simply merging with others and co-creating the change and transition the world needs now.

Political parties and politicians do not address root causes of issues for Americans. Unfortunately, they work problems, chat about symptoms, and offer tokens that offer temporary patches, permit posturing, and earn votes. And the cycles continue, election after election. The diversity of values of the Senators from the 50 states and 435 voting representatives create a complex process that is certainly indicative of a government that is currently not able to accomplish much for Americans. Adding to the caldron of values complexity are ingrained, diverse, individual and collective cultural values—persons, families, neighborhoods, small towns, and cities—of Americans, and competing political parties and politicians who are marketing and selling changing and evolving, diverse party platforms, while lobbying for votes and salvation of jobs that pay personal bills.

After completing a quick and dirty review of the diversity of the Republican Party and Democratic Party platforms, partisan differences highlight the reality of limited and partial truths and the downsides of today’s political party sorting as fundamental to individual and collective identity. Moreover, there are glaring inadequacies of both parties because of a lack of view big enough to address the complex issues facing America and global partners today. This certainly helps one understand partisan political division, discord, and complexity in today’s evolving, awakening, and growing world; and it reinforces why folks are unable to agree on what America needs to unfold for generations to come. We each have values and are growing and evolving; our respective communities and cultures have values, are growing and are evolving; and we are all OK.

And political parties and politicians will not get this job done for us! They can help us! We need good leaders who are aware of and have a track record of successes in awakening collective intelligence beyond cultural addiction to authoritarianism and hierarchy. This requires awareness of the potential chains of ego; personal success with the journey of merging and becoming one with others; and successes with managing and leading dynamic change and transition. Integral captures the essence of the process, the unhealthy self, the healthy self, the true self, and the authentic self; and it demands a long-term process, not a one or two term posture game. We the people must get committed to get it right because this is our process, not some process sold to us by a vote getting politician. And they are OK, too. However, they are not the ones who will save this country. We are!

Integral is simply a map of consciousness and human development; a way of comprehending life and reality in broad yet precise terms; a concept that incorporates the core truths of hundreds of theories; and organizes the profound insights of the spiritual traditions, philosophy, modern science, developmental psychology, and many other disciplines, into a coherent whole. It simply grows values, builds awareness, and integrates the perspectives that great thinkers, teachers, and researchers have brought to our understanding of self and world, the individual inner and outer and the collective inner-and outer. (Wilber)

Despite all the characteristics that differentiate us—race, language, religion, gender, wealth, and many others—we are all equal in terms of our basic humanity…The problem is that when we see ourselves only in terms of this or that group, we tend to forget about our wider identity as human beings…A key element in biased feelings is what we call “attachment”…What I am calling for is that we move beyond our limited or biased sense of closeness to this or that group or identity, and instead cultivate a sense of closeness to the entire human family. The attitude of “us” and “them” can and often does lead to conflict, even war. Much better, and more realistic, is the attitude of “we.” (Dalai Lama)

The evolutionary impulse intends to transcend and include, to improve the political processes, and to resolve the political party sorting issues. We are interdependent, share humanity, and target for happiness and avoidance of suffering. Life is short! Let us nurture universal compassion and a sense of We the people.” To plant the seed, other countries have done this, and we can, too! (Beck) The journey from me, my and mine to we, our and us is manifesting in each of us.

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” (G.K. Chesterton)

Sources

  • Beck, et al. (2018). Spiral Dynamics in Action. NY, NY: Wiley.
  • Wilber, et al. (2008). Integral Life Practice. Boston, MA: Integral Books.
  • Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion. (2011). NY, NY: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt.
  • Cohen, A. (2011). Evolutionary Enlightenment. NY, NY: Select Books.

GOLF and SUBCONSCIOUS MIND

The purpose of this BLOG is to inspire and encourage the golfer to be a student of the subconscious mind and commit to trust the well-programmed subconscious mind on every swing and putting stroke. Why trust the subconscious mind? The golf swing and the putting stroke are simply too complex and fast for the conscious mind to direct body mechanics and swing mechanics. Flack writes,

Let the subconscious mind—the source of invention—work on it. In the subconscious, thinking is not limited by the pedestrian, literal restrictions of conscious language. At this level, one can rapidly mobilize large quantities of data more efficiently than any computer and superimpose dissimilar ingredients into new perceptual and conceptual patterns. At some point, solutions pop into the mind suddenly, as if from nowhere, and new directions can begin to take shape.[1]

Let us start with two definitions and a vision:

The conscious mind acts, produces the impression, and determines what is to be done.[2]

The subconscious mind reacts, produces the expression, and supplies the mental material and necessary power. The subconscious mind obeys absolutely the desires of the conscious mind, and since the subconscious is limitless, it can do for a golfer whatever the golfer may desire.[3]

A well-programmed subconscious mind has unlimited possibilities and since these possibilities can all be developed, there is no end to the attainments and achievements of the golfer.[4]

As a student of golf, trusting the subconscious mind to swing the golf club has evolved a growing passion to be more positive, to learn, and to improve because the game is the “funest” and “bestest” ever. Placing swing thoughts on a bus to Tucson, offering clear “desired results” to the subconscious, and passionately connecting the conscious mind with the subconscious mind is a completely new, exciting experience. An innate desire to have the complicated golf swing “perfect” and growing awareness of the powers of the subconscious has energized interest in learning more about how the subconscious mind can be programmed—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—to facilitate improved performance. Christian D. Larson offers,

 When we proceed to train the subconscious along any line, or for special results, we must always comply with the following law: The subconscious responds to the impressions, the suggestions, the desires, the expectations, and the directions of the conscious mind, provided that the conscious touches the subconscious at the time. The secret therefore is found in the two phases of the mind touching each other as directions are being made; and to cause the conscious to touch the subconscious, it is necessary to feel conscious action penetrating your entire interior system; that is, you should feel at the time that you are living not simply on the surface, but through and through. At such times, the mind should be calm and in perfect poise, and should be conscious of that finer, greater something within you that has greater depth than mere surface existence.[5]

Trusting the well-programmed subconscious mind to swing a golf club to hit a golf ball to a target is a learned, master skill; and experience offers that developing this skill requires practice, practice, and more practice. Was struck that perhaps Dr. Joseph Murphy’s visualization genius, offered in Power of Your Subconscious Mind, can help during the Pre-Shot Routine on the golf course. Dr. Murphy offers,

The Chinese say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” William James, the father of American psychology, stressed the fact that the subconscious mind will bring to pass any picture held in the mind and backed by faith. Act as though I am, and you will be…The builder visualizes the type of building he wants; he sees it as he desires it to be completed. His imagery and thought-processes become a plastic mold from which the building will emerge—a beautiful or an ugly one, a skyscraper or an exceptionally low one. His mental imagery is projected as it is drawn on paper. Eventually, the contractor and his workers gather the essential materials, and the building progresses until it stands finished, conforming perfectly to the mental patterns of the architect…I use the visualization technique prior to speaking from the platform. I quiet the wheels of my mind in order that I may present to the subconscious mind my images of thought. Then, I picture the entire auditorium and the seats filled with men and women, and each one of them illumined and inspired by the infinite healing presence within each one. I see them as radiant, happy, and free…My awareness grows to the point where in my mind I can hear the voices…then I release the whole picture and go onto the platform.[6]

Working with the subconscious mind is a “new learning process” for this golfer; and I make absolutely no claim to be a subconscious mind expert. “Know what you want, and then want it with all the life and power that is in you.”[7] Some recent reflections concerning facilitation of subconscious programming are as follows:

  • Positive and improvement language is a must. This is the law of attraction at work: one gets back what one puts out through personality, character, and mind.
  • Relaxed concentration—all forces of mind, character, and personality are focused on the desired result—and a clear and quiet conscious mind are a must.
  • Visualization: picture in the conscious mind a clear, passionate idea of the desired result, simply creating a vivid picture of the body becoming one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target.
  • Energize deep, “must have,” “must do,” serene, strong, and passionate connection of the conscious mind with the inner human systems: see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, think it, touch it in the eleven human systems: circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous, endocrine, immune, lymphatic, integumentary-exocrine, skeletal, muscle, reproductive, renal, and urinary. Simply feel the meaning of the desired result with consciousness; and see and feel in every atom of the human system the ball at the target. Eliminate doubt; and be present and calm, “…well balanced, persistent, deeply poised, and harmonious in all thoughts and actions.”[8]
  • Think of all the facilities being used in golf when giving full expression to a desired result: body mechanics, club mechanics, ball position, and target. Mantras work for this golfer.
  • Begin days with positive, desired result ways and means. Bring everything alive in the conscious and subconscious minds several times per day.[9] Think and live BIG YES!
  • Go to sleep relaxed: review the day’s pleasantries; and chat with the subconscious about desired results and ways and means. Program the subconscious mind to work for you during a night’s sleep.
  • If there are skills that need work and development, direct the subconscious with necessary improvements every day as frequently as possible and before going to sleep.
  • Practice makes perfect: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The more one trains the subconscious to work with the conscious direction, the easier it becomes to get the subconscious to respond to directions.
  • “Whenever the subconscious mind is aroused, mental power and working capacity are invariably increased, sometimes to such an extent that the individual seems to be possessed with a superhuman power.”[10]

Christian D. Larson reminds,

When properly directed, the subconscious mind can inspire the conscious mind to do the right thing at the right time, to take advantage of opportunities during the psychological moment and to deal with circumstances that all things will work together to promote the object in view. It is, therefore, evident that when the subconscious mind is trained to work in harmony with the objects and desires of the conscious mind, failure becomes impossible, and success in greater and greater measures may be secured by anyone.[11]

[1] Flach, Kindle, Location 4392, The Secret Strength of Depression, F. F. Flach (1975). NY, NY: Bantam.

[2] Larson, C. (2012). The Great Within, NY, NY: Crowell, 1.

[3] Ibid., 2.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Larson, C. (2012). Your Forces. NY, NY: Crowell, 58.

[6] Murphy, J. (2021). The Power of the Subconscious Mind. NY, NY: Macmillan, 112.

[7] Larson, Your Forces, 81.

[8] Ibid., 46.

[9] Ibid., 81.

[10] Ibid., 43.

[11] Larson, The Great Within, 15.

GOLF-MEDITATION CONNECTION

The purpose of this BLOG is to inspire the golfer to become a committed meditation practitioner by launching daily meditation practice and searching for a meditation coach and a meditation forum. During ritual on every golf shot meditation will facilitate quieting the mind and offer a spiritual experience of becoming one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target while creating conditions for zone performance and trust of the well-programmed subconscious mind to swing the club or stroke the putt.

In busy lives, meditation offers mindfulness—a quiet mind; awareness—the quality that differentiates golfers; and self-restraint—a learned, self-control skill. A nice place to start is with some definitions.

Meditation is a verb and is engaging in mental exercise, such as concentrating on the breath or repetition of a mantra, for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. Meditation invites contemplation: learning, receiving information, watching the self in action; perking information, i.e., figuring out where and how the information fits in one’s life; and experiencing the contemplation in life.

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by deliberately focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly and objectively seeing, acknowledging, and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. One becomes the sentinel, the watcher, the personal witness of reflections of the world.

Awareness is the quality or state of being, knowledge, and understanding that something is happening or exists.

Self-restraint is restraint imposed by oneself on one’s own actions, impulses, and emotions. It is self- control.

Ritual follows the pre-shot routine and is the momentary process used by the golfer to create a spiritual relationship with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target, while trusting the subconscious mind and unconsciously pulling the trigger. Example of ritual before a golf shot:

GROUND THE PHYSICAL SYSTEMS

Take a couple of deep breaths and visualize energy circulating between your feet and the earth below you. Feel static and dynamic balance with the feet; and sense a balanced, solid foundation, and environment surrounding you.

PASSIONATE INTENTION AND INSPIRATION FOR SHOT-STROKE

Take three-five short, explosive breaths into the upper chest to activate the sympathetic nervous system, increase oxygen, and intensify subtle energy currents. Charge the whole body, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally; and make a final, visual touch of the target.

RELAXED FOCUS

On an out-breath, one-pointed concentration on the point of impact of club with ball—mindfulness—channeling all body energies into a laser beam of relaxed, focused concentration, letting go of everything—self-restraint—and sensing the synchronous, flowing swing to impact with a ball creatively floating to the target—awareness.

 Squeeze Trigger, with absolute trust, unconsciously trigger the subconscious mind to unleash a well-programmed, tension-free swing.

 The deep game is not about being dealt a better hand, but about playing the cards we are dealt with as much intelligence, care, and creativity as we possibly can. Now one is finally free to be the freedom they have been from the beginning. ‘Just this’ is the ultimate reward that comes from inhabiting the cartoon character drawn from this Kosmic deck of cards. Lao-tzu’s (Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchel, 11) wisdom is clear, concise, and complete:

We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.

We work with being, but non-being is what we use.

 

LAZY GOLFER

Why write Golf as Guru: Mindfullness, Awareness and Self-Restraint? WOW! What a learning journey golf has opened for a student of life and the game of golf, all the way from growing up in Northwestern Ohio playing golf with Mom and Dad, circling the globe, and arriving here in Arizona continuing to play golf, year-round with my wonderful wife of 50 years and counting. As the title and subtitle offer, the sport of golf has been a great coach and teacher; has evolved a concept of mind”full”ness; has breathed a peek at how awareness really differentiates professional golfers from average golfers; and has been a mighty fine instructor when it comes to the learned skill of self-restraint. It really is fantastic to remain sane after two shots in the lake to the right of the fairway! Everything is OK the way it is! All one has is now!

A significant experience has been that if a golfer is open to new learning and is psychologically ready, golf offers infinite messages: at practice on the range; on the golf course; while perking reflections about the sport and relishing golf literature; during a work-out; and just sitting in silence and solitude to experience personal behavior in life and on the golf course. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, a widely read English author and scriptwriter, nails it: “To find a man’s character (and personality), play golf with him.” Woody and Birdy Ball, Golf as Guru’s entertaining characters, chuckle on every page as they think about playing partners and continue to dream about set-up, ball position, turn and tilt, the backswing, transition, forward swing with turn, tilt, hip-turn and pull, release, impact, extension, and finish; and contemplate smoothness, timing, tempo, and rhythm on every putt.

Golf as Guru is simply a thank you to golf as coach and therapist. It is indeed integral and reminds of General Douglas MacArthur, in the context of football at West Point, when he remarked, “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that at other times and places reap the fruits of victory.”

LEADERSHIP MATTERS

Television and internet have facilitated hyperpolarized America and media geniuses are orchestrating continued division as these words are being written. Andy Borowitz, Profiles in Ignorance, nails it when he contends,

…TV, tag-teaming with its demented henchmen the internet, could boost candidates who were geniuses about those media and dopes about everything else. What happens when you combine ignorance with performing talent? A president who tells the country to inject bleach. (6)

How a person chooses to “show-up” in the world can be critiqued by researching, examining, and witnessing talents, skills, and experiences; making observations; and scrutinizing character, personality, virtues, mentality, and interests. Let us take-a-look at Donald J. Trump.

  • The Trump brand and attributes are internationally recognized; and Commander in Cheat offers that Trump cheats at golf on his golf courses, revealing the true person: he is not able to hide on the golf course.
  • Life’s goal has been to gain and maintain position power, at any cost. The track record includes personal business endeavors with several bankruptcies, a multitude of government failures, and two impeachment hearings with factual evidence and party sorted acquittal.
  • A partial list of shortcomings while President is as follows: incited insurrection of United States Capital; puppet of Vladimir Putin and GOP; foreign policy bullying, badgering, and destroying; abandoned allies; withdrew from Paris Climate Accord, World Health Organization and Iran Nuclear Agreement; North Korean nuclear weapons stockpile doubled; pandemic management and leadership was non-existent and passed the buck to governors who became blame targets; enlisted Russian and Chinese interference in elections; several obstruction of justice charges were noted in the Mueller Report; numerous lawsuits have been filed against him and unfolding lawsuits will be filed against him; accepted payoffs for positions; not able to lead projects large in scope; immigration policy was inhumane; tax cuts were a corporate “boondoggle;” and undermined integrity of voting system.
  • Is a master at using neuroses—the dark side of the psyche: denied, repressed, disowned, and projected subconscious aspects of the Self— to create stories— “fake news”—that strategically move the “lightning rod” from the MAGA Fascist Party to others to trigger the psyche of perceived “enemies” and his base. Others simply become the personification of wrongs: Russian cyberwarfare, Ukraine quid pro quo, racism, nativism, Supreme Court justices, appointed Federal judges, Democrats, et al. As Bernie Sanders has eloquently noted, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs.”
  • Staff selection of addicted surrogates has been a disaster and revolving door.
  • Poor intrapersonal and interpersonal relations skills.
  • Surrounded by fixers and “yes associates;” and encourages rivalries and thrives on personal attacks.
  • Accepting 100% responsibility, apologizing, admitting a mistake, helping others, and caring about others are not his cup of tea. Just take him Diet Coke and wash his dirty laundry.
  • No vision for the country. Intent is more of the same and fixing what he has undermined, agitated, deconstructed, or destroyed. Examples: intelligence process, FBI, CIA, SCOTUS, Federal court system, and voting integrity,
  • Repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members: Americans who die in war are “losers” and “suckers.”
  • Legacy may be selection of judges, environmental deregulations, and deconstruction of institutions.
  • Track record of complicating the story narrative, throwing sand in the eyes of the onlooker, claiming that transparently implausible stories were true unless proven otherwise, and denying the obvious truth.
  • Does not understand duty, honor, and country.
  • A cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a predator, a con man; and a stale, nasty breath of death, hate, narcissism, chaos, fear, conspiracy, norm erosion, “dark,” institutional deconstruction, and neo- fascism.
  • Incendiary, toxic, casts hate, disruptive, name caller, and divisive, and unfit for political office.
  • Deny, deny, deny; blame, blame, blame; accuse, accuse, and accuse; denies, blames, and spins; egotistical and self-serving.
  • Stokes fear, celebrity, and personal brand building; and publicity, show, and photo opportunity nurture his unhealthy ego.
  • Demands loyalty even if unethical: yes sir, no sir, no excuse sir; or you are fired.
  • Conspiracist—example QAnon—and guilty of political cowardice, blaming, passing the buck, dereliction of duty, and mishandling of classified government information.
  • Shirks constitutionally mandated duty and rewards misconduct.
  • Sexist and multiple lawsuits and misconduct behaviors.
  • Racist, i.e., shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
  • In his eyes the members of the LGBTQ community are inferior.
  • Dishonest, arrogant, and narcissist; uses position and financial power for personal gain.
  • Creates martyr complex, irrelevance, and distractions; misleads, boasts, promotes blamelessness of self, never wrong, and anxious to criticize.
  • Low functioning…includes persons who “… do not exhibit polished and polite behaviors as a mask for their manipulations…may lack the education or interpersonal skills to control and deceive. Instead, they might use threats, coercion, or intimidation to achieve their desired outcome.” (Source: Dr. Timothy J. Legg, “What Is a High-Functioning Sociopath?”, 5-28-2019, https://www.healthline.com, 1-3.)
  • Narcissistic sociopath: one form of antisocial personality disorder and is the result of environmental factors such as a child or teen’s upbringing in a negative household that resulted in physical abuse, emotional abuse, or childhood trauma. (Sources: Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough, 2020, Simon & Schuster; https://psychcentral.com, Dr. John M. Grohol, “Differences Between a Psychopath vs Sociopath,” 5-20-2020, 1-5; Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, “Psychopath vs Sociopath: 16 Key Differences,” 9-7-2018, 1-3; https://www.health.com, Rosie McCall, “9 Ways to Spot a Sociopath,” 10-4-2019, 1-7.)
  • Donald J. Trump is a genius at attacking, spinning, deflecting, networking, and using television and media to recruit, retain, and fire, at will, addicted surrogates, circles of friends, admirers, celebrity hangers-on, and wannabes who savor and long for safety and security sought by bonding together and identifying with a tribe to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief and clan. Mystical signs, conspiracy, and desires of powerful spirit beings must be followed for the continued safety and well-being of the tribe.

Americans, let us get out of our foxholes, move to the high ground, look around, do our homework, and elect leaders who combine intellectual curiosity, virtue, TV, internet and social media command, and a fact-based track record of genuine, leadership successes. We can certainly do better!

UKRAINE WAR

Love is a language we all speak, and because of love, we have hope! And it is no secret that we humans have evolved, yet have growing up to do. Position power, money and unhealthy ego certainly do not offer nourishment for common good, compassion, virtue, helping others and caring about others.

The war in Ukraine is simply unnecessary death and suffering caused by lack of wisdom and a thirst for front page publicity and storybook fame. President Vladimir Putin’s decisions border insanity and ridiculous. Thich Nhat Hanh[1], a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, who recently passed away (1926-2022), offers guidance and counsel:

In the case of a society, take the situation of a country suffering war or any other situation of injustice. Try to see that every person involved in the conflict is a victim. See that no person, including all those in warring parties or in what appear to be opposing sides, desires the suffering to continue. See that it is only one or a few persons who are to blame for the situation. See that the situation is possible because of the clinging to ideologies and to an unjust world economic system which is upheld by every person through ignorance or lack of resolve to change it. See that two sides in a conflict are not really opposing, but two aspects of the same reality. See that the most essential thing is life and that killing or oppressing one another will not solve anything.

The Ukraine War is simply the creation of fear, suffering and death to maintain perceived power and legitimacy, to establish a “perceived empire,” and to pursue a dream “— greatness of the “new” Soviet empire —” that can never exist. Concerning Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice and counsel, Martin Luther King, Jr., offered, “Thich Nhat Hanh’s ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”

A personal sentiment for a strategic objective is to have a democracy that is measured, evaluated, and incented based on achievement of common good. This is an overwhelming task when one climbs into a satellite and looks around. There are millions of global citizens with inner consciousness, psychology, purposes, values, goals, objectives, physics, biology, and neurology. There are myriads of families, collectives, cultures, groups, and communities with music, art, political values, and connections. And there are multitudes of institutions, social systems, economies, and environments. In today’s diverse, politically sorted world, integration is certainly not an easy task! Where does one start to create processes that are measured, evaluated, and incented based on contributions to the common good? Reminds of a jig saw puzzle. Perhaps a nice place to start is with a definition of common good.

“In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good refers to either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service.” (Wikipedia)

Today, it feels like human chaos rules; and he-she who creates the greatest chaos rules and becomes today’s distraction from what needs to be done. President Putin and his cronies will continue to have the same assortment of candies and perks while Ukrainian citizens suffer, Russian citizens suffer, and global citizens suffer. The war in Ukraine is wrong! Absent mindfulness, awareness and self-restraint, people, events, and places are simply distractions that mask the need for action to hasten the journey to common good. Nice reads are Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness, Lotus in a Sea of Fire and Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World.

[1] Thich Nhat Hanh was a peace activist, prolific author, poet, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition, the foundation of Engaged Buddhism. Known as the “father of mindfulness,” Nhat Hanh was a major influence on Western practices of Buddhism. (Wikipedia) A portion of his ashes have been ceremoniously scattered in Plum Village, France.

MEDITATION and GOLF

The purpose of this BLOG is to inspire golfers to become committed meditation practitioners by launching daily meditation and searching for a meditation coach and meditation forum. During ritual on every golf shot the practice of meditation facilitates quieting the mind and offers a spiritual experience of becoming one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target while creating conditions for zone performance and trust of the well-programmed subconscious mind to swing the club or stroke the putt.

In busy lives, meditation offers mindfulness—a quiet mind; awareness—the quality that differentiates golfers; and self-restraint, a learned skill. A nice place to start is with some definitions…

Meditation is a verb and is engaging in mental exercise, such as concentrating on the breath or repetition of a mantra, for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. Meditation invites contemplation and intellectual curiosity: learning, receiving information, watching the self in action; perking information, i.e., figuring out where and how the information fits in one’s life; and experiencing the contemplation in life.

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by deliberately focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly and objectively seeing, acknowledging, and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. One becomes the sentinel, the watcher, the personal witness of reflections of the world.

Awareness is the quality or state of being, knowledge, and understanding that something is happening or exists.

Self-restraint is restraint imposed by oneself on one’s own actions, impulses, and emotions. It is self- control.

Ritual follows the pre-shot routine and is the momentary process used by the golfer to create a spiritual relationship with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target, while trusting the subconscious mind and unconsciously pulling the trigger. Example of ritual before a golf shot:

GROUND THE PHYSICAL SYSTEMS

Take a couple of deep breaths and visualize energy circulating between your feet and the earth below you. Feel static and dynamic balance with the feet; and sense a balanced, solid foundation and environment surrounding you.

PASSIONATE INTENTION AND INSPIRATION FOR SHOT-STROKE

Take three-five short, explosive breaths into the upper chest to activate the sympathetic nervous system, increase oxygen and intensify subtle energy currents. Charge the whole body, physically and emotionally; and make a final, visual touch of the target.

RELAXED FOCUS

On an out-breath, one-pointed concentration on the point of impact of club with ball—mindfulness—channeling all body energies into a laser beam of relaxed, focused concentration, letting go of everything—self-restraint—and sensing the synchronous, flowing swing to impact with a ball creatively floating to the target—awareness.

Squeeze Trigger, with absolute trust, unconsciously trigger the subconscious mind, well- programmed, tension-free stroke.

 While one is in the process of searching for a meditation coach and forum, start meditating today. Each morning, practice sitting meditation for at least ten to twenty minutes. Just sit and listen for orders. Find a comfortable, quiet place. You can sit in a chair, on a cushion, in your truck or car, or on the floor. When you sit in a chair, place your feet flat on the ground and sit upright. Do not lean against the back of the chair. If you sit on the floor, sit in whatever way is comfortable: cross-legged, on a pillow, or on a meditation bench. Select a way that fits you! As you begin to take your seat, rock to the left and right, and then back and forth, to settle your buttocks. As you begin to settle in, sit with your head erect and your chin tucked in slightly. Put your shoulders back. Visualize your ears being aligned with your belly button; lift your head and neck as if they were being pulled by the sky. Find a comfortable position for your hands, such as resting them in your lap or one hand on each of your knees. You can sit with your eyes open or closed. If you sit with them open, lower your gaze, pick a spot on the floor in front of you, and let your eyes rest there. In sitting meditation, posture is like a foundation and is quite important for a resting mind: as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body. Good posture facilitates the easy flow of the breath, too. As you settle into your chosen posture, spend a few moments paying attention to your breathing, focusing on each in-breath and each out-breath. Feel your abdomen expanding when you breathe in. Feel it contracting when you breathe out. Note how the breath tickles the skin between your nose and upper lip. There is nothing to be accomplished, nothing to be gained. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Do not attach yourself to them, and do not reject them. Just observe them, let them go, and keep breathing. If you find you are having difficulty staying focused on your breath, use the technique of counting your breaths as a support. Take one in-breath and one out-breath, and count one, in, and count two, out, and so forth, until you reach ten. Once you have reached ten, count backward. Keep in mind that the point is not in getting to ten but in staying connected to your breath, being mindful of your breath.

If you experience physical discomfort, sit with that for a few minutes. If it persists, mindfully shift your posture slightly until the pain is relieved. Your “sitting muscles,” both mental and physical, will get stronger after some practice. If you exercise frequently, stretching exercises can contribute to both flexibility and comfort during sitting. Even if you sit for just five minutes, do so each morning and each evening without question. It does not have to be perfect, but it is important to do it. Your perspective about life can change, and you may even begin to experience awareness and transformation. Simply, just sit twice a day and help folks. Sitting practice offers a tremendous sense of freedom and peace. As doubts arise, just sit, and help others. With daily practice, meditation can quite easily become a part of your daily activities. You may want to explore finding others who meditate as a group. Meditating with a group of folks can be an inspiring and beneficial experience. As mentioned, uncover a process that works for you. There is not a wrong way, or a right way, and the best way is your way. The target is simply to learn to quiet the mind, at will.

The deep game is not about being dealt a better hand, but about playing the cards we are dealt with as much intelligence, care, and creativity as we possibly can. Now you are finally free to be the freedom you have been from the beginning. ‘Just this’ is the ultimate reward that comes from inhabiting the cartoon character you drew from this Kosmic deck of cards. Lao-tzu’s wisdom is clear, concise, and complete:

We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.

We work with being, but non-being is what we use.

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