07/22/2011 08:20 am ET Updated Sep 21, 2011

Living Golf

Why is making a 4-foot putt so easy one day, yet impossible the next? Why can we be supportive of our spouse and co-workers today when we had no patience for them yesterday?

At times, our intended desire to sink a putt seems so natural that we wonder why, at other times, it becomes so difficult. Situations in life are the same: With every intent to accomplish a desire, there is mystery and uncertainty. When desire for a certain result becomes too controlling, we fail.

At other times, when we allow ourselves to attain a relaxed, more meditative state of consciousness, we can achieve almost miraculous results. In these rare moments, the mysterious veil concealing our desire is lifted for a moment, allowing a connection with the deeper secrets of golf and the bigger game we call life.

The key to obtaining our innermost desire lies in the ability to become one with our fundamental value system. This gives us the necessary strength of conviction for achievement without the interference of controlling desires.When we miss the 4-foot putt, we must release our sense of despair and frustration as quickly as possible. We must regain focus and position the recovery shot to the best of our ability. When we attach ourselves to an understanding that the disaster of a bad stroke produces a new challenge and the possibility of a miraculous recovery, then we are moving to a more comprehensive understanding of what golf is.

We can approach our daily challenges in the same way. If we can allow adversity to inspire, rather than destroy, our strength of character will grow, our passion will lift and our achievements will support the potential for infinite growth. Our life, like our golf game, is constantly challenged by an ability to remain focused on the task at hand. The intrinsic beauty of golf and life, however, lies within the multitude of variables that constantly confront us.

Our brains are complex thinking machines. If left to their own devices, they can lead us to an unbalanced understanding of the actions and decisions we should make. We can be lured into apathetic or unfocused attitudes and experience dramatic, unexpected consequences. "What was I thinking?" is a common response. Thus, if we heighten our understanding of how our brain functions, we will be able to command more control of a situation.

The left hemisphere of the brain is tuned in to the requirements of the moment. The right hemisphere, holistic in its comprehension and capable of random processing, fosters creativity. It relies on a more symbolic, intuitive and imaginative orientation in its interpretative ability. As golfers, we must develop an ability to use both hemispheres; in life, allowing both hemispheres of our brain to work equally lets our sensibility develop wholeness. We learn to connect the messages that are sent to us from the two hemispheres, which in turn means that our responses and decisions will be guided by more balanced input. We can have complete commitment in full cooperation from both sides of our mind and be at peace with our decisions.

Of course, the subconscious will be at work, too. Our subconscious sensibility sends out signals of distrust to the nervous system, originating from a lack of belief in the possibility of success. The conscious mind then picks up on these signals and quickly recalls past failures. If we learn to adopt a patient acceptance of periodic failure, then we reduce the anxiety of the moment that suppresses our chances of success. This acceptance removes us from the path of protective avoidance of pain and releases a believable commitment that allows for a true effort.

There will be times when we are lured into a state of complacency that comes from a physical, mental or spiritual inadequacy. These are moments when our subconscious allows phrases such as, "it doesn't really matter anyway" or, "who cares?" seep into our thoughts. This destructive frame of mind points us down a path of indecisive acceptance of outcome, which diminishes our desire, determination, motivation and intention, often leading to apathy and even despair.

We can choose the type of journey we would like to travel. Each new day opens a momentous opportunity for us to experience our life and the quality of the "game" we decide to play.
When we are connected with our fundamental value system, we will have reached a point of no longer needing to control the outcome. A flash of understanding will translate into a sense of trust in ourselves and the ability to create a successful result. We will exercise faith that our decision is supported by our intuitive sensibility and our analytical mind must be put to rest.

We will grow to understand how each and every situation we confront, whether positive or negative, serves a purpose in unfolding the wholeness of our being in golf and life. We can connect with our game and become one with an effortless, flowing motion of total engagement.

At the end of the day, we are better for our experiences. We have developed an ability to move from an existence of hopelessly striving to effortlessly thriving while reaching a state of automatic, mindful mindlessness.