In my past life, I was a golf instructor. Yep, funny pants and all.
I was the kind of instructor who didn’t talk much. My student and I were together for an hour. If I gave pointers for the entire hour, their head would be so full of instruction that, by the end of the lesson, they’d hardly know which end of the club to hold onto.
So I watched far more than I spoke. I observed as the student would work their way through their bucket of range balls and I’d see if I could notice patterns.
After some time teaching lessons, I started noticing a similar problem with a lot of my students…
They’d be swinging away, each shot going more and more askew. Their frustration would grow and they’d get in this interesting zone where every muscle in their body would tense up and their face would turn red as their shots worsened. Soon, they’d be rapid-firing balls at a frantic pace.
Eventually, I’d intervene…
“Wait a sec… Don’t swing, but maintain your stance… Relax… Breeeeeathe…”
It was like snapping them out of a trance.
“Now, let me ask you something,” I’d say. “Where are you aiming?”
I can’t tell you how many blank stares I got. They’d have no idea. All they knew, they were just hitting. Out ‘there’ somewhere…
“Let me ask you,” I’d say… “Did I ever say this was a timed event? Did we agree that this was a contest to see how many of those balls you could hit in an hour? Did I mention a penalty for taking the time to get set up over each shot before swinging?” (I was a little condescending, but this was golf. Condescension was part of the culture.)
“No…” They’d say in self-disgust as if recalling the scene of an accident or something.
“Well, then why were you frantically rapid-firing away without taking the time to even breathe let alone set up or aim?”
They didn’t know. They just… Did it.
Here’s a great golf quote for you from one of the best instructors who ever lived…
Take dead aim.
— Harvey Penick
(I have to say, Steven Pressfield was a genius when he wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance. There are so many inner-parallels between golf and life.)
Just as in this case….
This is what we do. We condition ourselves to wake up every morning and just start swinging away like we always have. No alignment. No pre-shot routine. No visualizing. No breathing. No nothing.
Just mindlessly react, react, react (this isn’t just me, is it?).
Every pro has what they call a ‘pre-shot routine’. It’s a series of physical movements that get the player in a ready state so they’re on auto-pilot when they hit their shot.
For me, I’d stand behind the ball and visualize the entire shot. I’d see myself setting up, taking aim, and swinging. I’d visualize the trajectory of the entire shot. I’d see the ball land exactly where I wanted it to.
Next, I’d take a practice swing from behind the ball, trying to put myself in the picture I just saw in my mind. Then I’d set up to the ball and take the exact swing I saw in my pre-shot routine.
Every. Single. Shot.
This is what our spiritual practice does for us. It helps us align our consciousness with Source so that we can hit better shots in life.
There is no penalty for taking the time to align with Source to live a more inspired life.
It only takes a moment to settle in, center, and get your conscious mind on track with the inner-GPS that Source provides.
Want a more practical, less hippy-dippy example? Ok…
Let’s say you’re gonna start that outline of your book… If you were to check in with yourself, you might see that you’re carrying an underlying sense of stress or nervousness.
Sure, you can just jump in willy-nilly.
(Wait… Did I just say, ‘willy-nilly’? Yep, sure did.)
Or you can take a moment to square up with Source to make sure you’re emotionally attuned for the task ahead of you. It just takes a moment to remove the layers of nonsense you’ve stacked on top of the task and allow yourself to float up to a higher level of consciousness that will make you more productive.
I’m not saying you HAVE to do this. Some people do just fine in the moment. But most of us could use a little pre-shot routine.
Through doing the inner-work, you can raise your conscious state from stress to a place of acceptance, inner-peace, and insane productivity. It only takes an instant to make this shift.
Now… Be the ball and fire away.