The Unforgiven

Back in October of last year, I wrote a post about Hunter Mahan “losing” the Ryder Cup because of an inopportune tee shot and subsequent chip shot. They allowed Graeme McDowell to famously win the hole and lock up the cup for the European team.

In, “Taking Blame Out of the Game,” I addressed the way the culture creates destructive narratives to lay blame on our heroes when they fail us. Pointing to the lesson in mastery for all of us, I wrote:

One hopes that the half point that Hunter was unable to win when all of the world was watching him will soon devolve into just another couple of back-to-back, bad golf shots just like he’s hit many times before…and will again. Working to be unaffected by that–to see that he is his spiritual essence and not his ego–is probably more important than working on his swing.

When a reader wrote asking how one goes about doing that, I responded with, “Looking Into Consciousness.” I wrote extensively about the use of meditation to experience the difference between everyday consciousness and our more profound level of consciousness where we turn off the ego and just exist in the moment. And that that ability ultimately leads to joy…and then to bliss…and ultimately to our deepest level of consciousness, love.

When you can operate in the world in love with everyone else because you know that, with all our human foibles, you are them and they are you, you have nothing to fear. In the absence of fear, it is difficult for the egoic mind to disrupt the moment.

Unfortunately, it’s a skill one needs to continue to cultivate because managing your own ego frequently involves accepting the egoic judgments of others with compassion and understanding. A case in point came up yesterday.

This is an excerpt from a golf writers’ roundtable discussion, “PGA Tour Confidential,” on Golf.com. Led by Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, this is an exchange with Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated and David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com, but most particularly with Godich.

Van Sickle: Speaking of players to root for or not … Ian Poulter slammed the Ernie Els redesign of Wentworth, the site of this week’s European Tour stop. Earlier in the week, Hunter Mahan said he was skipping the Byron Nelson even though he lives in the area because the course “is a pain in the butt to play.” So much for paying homage to Byron. How do you like these sour grapes from well-fed pros playing for $6 million a week? Do they owe a little more to the sponsors and the fans?

Godich: These guys need to shut up and play. They seem to forget how good they’ve got it.

Dusek: Poulter has the right to knock a course; we’re all entitled to our opinions. However, I think Mahan’s decision not to play the Byron Nelson, in his own backyard, is a bad one. Players should feel compelled to play their hometown events. It’s always the right thing to do.

Godich: A pain in the butt to play? And we wonder why the guy couldn’t execute a simple chip with the Ryder Cup on the line.

Really? The guy, by his own admission, choked under pressure seven months ago, wept inconsolably over it in the press conference and we still use that as a cudgel to hammer him over whether he chooses to play in a particular tournament or not? I don’t see any possible connection between the two, other than the betrayed ego of a disappointed fan.

It’s not the predominant, compassionate way that most people react to the failures of others, but it’s not infrequent either. We think we’re operating in the supportive and forgiving world we would all like to be living in, but suddenly we discover that somebody didn’t get the memo.

And so, coming full circle back to the two posts in October, that’s why it’s so important to have done the heavy lifting in the development of consciousness…to be able to experience being deeply enmeshed in the moment…to be able to clearly see the bifurcation between ego and spiritual essence…and to know in the deepest way possible that you are not your ego, you are your impervious essence.

You know you’re getting close when your ego perceives an attack, but your essence knows that the attack doesn’t matter.

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