Just like our ‘favorite’ oak tree guarding the par 3 (you know the one), our mentally sabotaging origins can be traced back to one deep seeded affliction:
FORGETFULNESS (avidya in Sanskrit). It’s also translated as “not seeing, non-wisdom, and/or ignorance.” Avidya is the basic thing we do when we forget who we really are. . .our unlimited potential over every golf shot. Assuming that we are golfers who are not content with an ordinary, mundane existence, we on some level already know that there is something deeper in our essence. Unfortunately, we forget this.
We also forget that nothing lasts forever. We misapprehend the “temporal for the eternal” and hold onto the putting slump or the streak of poor shots thinking this will last forever. The same is true when we are playing well. We overlook that quality practice and effort are still necessary even though we feel like we’ve (temporarily) ‘got it.’ The mind veiled by ignorance will see permanence in the impermanent (and the golf gods will bite us in the ass very quickly).
Once we forget our true nature and loose perspective, the other afflictions begin to develop; egoism, attachment, aversion and clinging. The suffering and painful experiences on the course expose themselves. The good news is when ignorance (avidya) is destroyed, all the other afflictions automatically disappear.
“When we see something correctly there is a profound peace inside us–we feel no tension, no unrest, no agitation.” states T.K.V. Desikachar. This is the ideal mindset to access during our pre-shot routine, swing, putting stroke and beyond. This clarity gives us access to our inherent talent. Where in your game do you need to “remember” how to access your unlimited potential?
And although we can’t chop down the infamous oak tree, we can cut off the roots of our suffering by freeing ourselves from mental ignorance on the golf course. . .and also learn how to hit a very low chip shot!
(This is one of a five part series on the afflictions listed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. More to come. . .)
Dodie Mazzuca is the founder of Golf PROformance and teaches golf and Mindfulness for Golf programs in Santa Cruz, CA.