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Zen

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I once read, probably in Trout Fishing In America, or maybe in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or maybe I didn't read it at all; maybe I just thought it, and thought I must have read somewhere that the art of Zen is not to think about God while peeling potatoes. The art of Zen is just to peel the potatoes. I know I read in Time Enough For Love , by R.A.Heinlein, "...take big bites. Moderation is for monks."

And it suddenly occurs to me, they are saying the same thing: Whatever we do, we should totally immerse ourselves while we are doing it; in a word, focus.

I took up golf quite late in life (I was in my late fifties) because my wife at the time loved the game. Her parents invited us to spend a three day weekend in Eaglesmere, PA, with the added attraction that they would pay for our stay at the Eaglesmere Inn B&B and a couple of rounds of golf. She wanted very much to do it, so I went along and vowed to myself that I would have a good time, regardless of how arrogant I thought the game was. And I did have a good time. It was so good, in fact, that I went out and bought a set of clubs, and began stopping off after work every day on the way home to play a very quick game on a little short course. I actually got half-decent at it, so that by the end of the second summer, I shot an honest - no "gimmies", no "Mulligans", no "do-overs" - ninety. I was ecstatic.

And there was a, to me seemingly strange, side effect: My music performance and reading suddenly jumped to a new, higher level.

I decided that what was occurring was I was practicing Zen. I was learning another way to be completely in the moment.

My conclusion is this:

In golf, there are about seventy five ways to mess up a shot, just as in music there are about seventy five ways to mess up a note. But if you think about what you are doing, you will find number seventy six. Your body knows what you want it to do, and the tools in your hands are capable of doing the job. So get out of the way, and let them do it. (But it does not hurt to practice getting out of the way. )

Let's go play some golf.

Or music.

Or...... what the heck!

Let's just go play.

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