(This is the 6th of an eight-part series inspired by Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras)
Similar to the infamous oak tree that guards the green on #15 at Delaveaga, it is not a matter of if the obstacles will appear, but when. And when they do present themselves, we are instructed that the obstacles are our practice.
Delusion (Sanskrit: bhrāntidarshana): We have just missed a 50-yard wide fairway and we think we can thread it through a 1-foot gap in the trees? This is a delusion. Or the self-indulgence of hitting driver off the tee when all we need is to hit 5 iron. This is not only delusional but also a lack of self-control, which can quickly sabotage our games.
Delusion also shows up when we think we are better than we are, or we fail to see our progress and get overly frustrated with the current state of our game. Either way, we are not seeing clearly.
The most dangerous aspect of this obstacle is when we think we know everything. We assume that we have it all figured out. We tell ourselves, “I have got it! This new tip will last forever and I will never play badly again. I should play from the tips!” This deluded, self-proclaimed expert is also misapprehending the situation.
Some golfers have a little dust of delusion in their eyes, while other golfers have their eyes covered in mud. Unable to see the delusional dirt clouding our vision, we are encouraged to polish our lens of perception with self-study, discriminative wisdom, and fiery discipline.
We humbly hit the punch shot from behind the oak tree, gently onto the green, and make the putt for par. The challenging oak that is guarding #15 is a distraction, but it’s not interrupting our play!
Dodie Mazzuca is the author of “Golf Sutras: Lessons for Transforming the Mental Game with Yoga’s Inner Wisdom” and founder of Golf PROformance. She teaches golf and Mindfulness for Golf programs in Santa Cruz, CA.