Where Do Our Minds Go When We Stand on the Tee Box Holding the Driver?
So, I’ve been reading the Power of Now, and listening to youtube examples of Eckhart Tolle speak about it. Now, don’t stop reading. I know it’s a little on the periphery of normal thinking, but it’s starting to make a lot of sense to me. Basically, we are all trapped on both sides of the one moment we can control, at least a little. The future doesn’t exist until it becomes the present, and the present – well, there are no “redos.” In daily life, we plan, fantasize, hope, dread, and everything else when it comes to the future. We can either yearn for the past, or cringe thinking about it. Then we forget about that little tiny moment, the only one in which we live. Golf has a counterpart to that, or serves as a concentrated example of the point. On the course, our minds are trapped by the last shot we hit, or the last round we played. Our hopes are pinned on improving fortunes, and how the coming shot is going to look. That isn’t the worst of it, however. I am most aware of it on the tee box, and the moment of “now” is the instant of impact, when club head meets golf ball. That “now” is the one moment where I can’t seem to learn the ropes, or even remember it.
I am trusting that other people have this happen, because I don’t want to go to therapy over it all by myself. That instant of striking the ball is like the moment when we sneeze. Everything goes black and blank. I can’t see the ball in that instant, and wake up a split second after impact, instead of seeing the club through to the ball…now. It happens when I hit long irons as well. The sneeze has a violent moment that causes the phenomenon, and perhaps I’m doing something equally violent with my head and neck, hips, legs, or something, but I hit the ball every time in an automatic trajectory that somehow got lined up to remember where I put it. The “now” of the moment, the one where I needed to be most present, didn’t exist at all.
That moment does have accompanying feelings, though. On the back swing, there is a tiny nugget of dread, an acknowledgment that part of me is trusting in luck and the golf Gods. After all, I haven’t whiffed a ball in many years. Am I all right to go on automatic, even if I don’t feel present at impact? The dread of the back swing is my entanglement with my past track record. The mind has been keeping track, and knows how often, to the very number, it does or doesn’t work. The down swing is entirely different. That’s the place where hope springs eternal, and maybe today will be better than yesterday, or even the way I see it done on television. From the back swing to the down swing, I have switched realities, and don’t really exist in either one of them. Perhaps a professional would tell me that once you have confidence in the swing track, and have piled up a strong track record of success with the club, you will not vacate the “now” when you reach the ball. That would suggest that I’ve been looking away from my own train wreck in the moment of collision…maybe, but I hope not.
In the larger picture, I would dearly love to spend more time enjoying what is happening at this very moment, and not being pushed or pulled forward or backward. Even viewing a round of golf as the now in which I exist would make it a lot more fun. I’m tired of saying, “I’ll get ’em next year.” I’m ready for the Power of Now.