November 27, 2015

The Backswing of Our Lives

It dawned upon me when I was working on my golf backswing. I have been working on my backswing for a few months and only recently I  noticed or recognized, how simple that movement is. And how important it is not to rush it.  

When we have to prepare something, the first thing that may occur to us is - in order to make this or that, I have to first... So naturally we tend to rush. It seems the preparation is less important than the goal. In Buddhism the preparation is the goal. That doesn't mean that in Buddhism we don't care about results. But any single moment of preparation is itself a very important result. So when we have a goal in our lives, we hope to achieve it as soon as possible. In Buddhism when we have a goal, it is OK, but then we immediately focus on what we are doing now. We cannot escape the very moment of here and now, so we'd better do our best. 

The meaning of backswing to me is that it shows exactly what happens if you think hitting the ball is more important than doing the backswing. Of course, intelligent people know that it is necessary to do things properly. Moment after moment. But in Buddhism, or typically in golf, people expect quick results or quick fun. And when the desired results don't come, the disappointed people put up with mediocrity. Buddhism becomes a bunch of nice ideas. Golf becomes a few nice shots and a lot of frustration all over the course. But if we want to find out who we really are, we need to care what we do and how we do it, otherwise it is very difficult to appreciate our true life. So making things in a rushed way or with an attitude that is too relaxed, doesn't work. 

In Buddhism you learn to find satisfaction here and now, even before you drink tea. Even if you are hungry, cooking is more important than eating at that moment. In golf I am learning to appreciate fully every little movement before I hit the ball. The urge to hit the ball is the first reaction. But the backswing means: No, first there is the backswing and you'd better do it properly. In Buddhism, to attain the truth is the noble and important goal. But how to attain it as quickly as possible? It is not about quickness, it is about what is going on right now. So, again, if necessary, go back to the kitchen and do the dishes. Golfers don't say that the backswing is the essence of golf. But it is. Every little movement you do within golf, is the essence of golf. Even putting on the golf shoes is the essence of golf. Every little moment of our life is important and potentially absolutely satisfying and absolutely meaningful.   

There is nowhere to rush. It all happens here and now.