A few days ago, I was golfing with a friend in the glorious Autumnal sunshine. Conditions were right for a relaxed afternoon of good conversation, mindful attention on not only the ball but also on the stunning park like setting and some nourishing fun. The two of us were hitting the ball well and pleasantly plodding along.
Happy. Content. Even Joyous.
Then, on the fourth hole, the game took a nose dive. Shots that I felt should be straight forward were ending up in the rough, the bushes, the lake- anywhere but the green! I could feel my body tense, I stopped noticing the bird song and an undertone of frustration replaced any feeling of satisfaction that may have been present.
The game was lost before we even reached the half way point!
Interestingly, we both noticed what was happening and we both really looked and marveled at how quick my mind jumped track to not only ‘focus on’, but completely embody the negative. It was crazy!
This got me thinking about Rick Hanson and his famous phrase: the mind is like Teflon for the good and Velcro for the bad. All my good shots, the sunshine, the good conversation had slipped through my fingers to be replaced by irritation, tense muscles and a feeling of not being good enough. Again, this was based on 1 or 2 (Ok…maybe 3 or 4!) bad shots.
Thinking of Rick, I remembered his talk from our summer conference and a particular moment when he spoke about the mind as a garden. He explains that in our mind gardens, we need to Let Be, Let Go and Let In or witness, pull weeds and plant seeds.
This noticing what was happening on the golf course was a blessing. I was able to witness my negative mood and simply, as Rick says, Let Be. This is half the battle.
I then Let Go of all of those negative thoughts and ideas about being a crap golfer- this was helped by my friend who kept reminding me of the amazing drive I had made 5 minutes earlier. I pulled the weeds from my mind garden.
This left me space to plant seeds or Let In the positive thoughts and traits that were present. A few bad shots do not define me. AND, I was actually grateful that I had the time, health and opportunity to spend the afternoon golfing in the sunshine, in park like conditions with a dear friend. What a treat in my often ‘too busy’ life!
So, what has this taught me? It’s shown me that I have the skills and the knowledge to develop and grow a healthy, flourishing mind garden through Let Be, Let Go and Let In.
This week, I would like to invite you to try it out! Can we all become resourceful gardeners of our minds? Cultivating and maintaining a bit of happiness, contentment and maybe even joy.
Watch Rick’s talk on ‘In The Garden of The Mind’:
I will be teaching on the Level 1: Being Present Mindfulness course in Samye Ling this November, if you have always wanted to learn more about mindfulness, sign up and come join us by clicking here.
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