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  1. In the spirit of the new year, resolutions and all that BS, I submit to you a new year's resolution that works, not only for golf, but for ones whole life. Most people have heard of mindfulness, but most of those who have heard of it don't know what it is. Not really. So, this is my contribution to TST and the wider golf universe: Sit down, and be quiet. Follow your breath. Much of the game of golf is played in what is called the most important six inches--between the ears. Everyone has heard of "being in the moment." Most of us have experienced being in the moment, if not for long. Unfortunately that experience is not only fleeting, but seemingly out of the player's control. Unfortunately, too, this seems to most as mystical, hippie stuff. I'm a Buddhist. I've experienced this reaction many times when I explain to people about meditation and mindfulness. You don't have to sit on the floor in a full lotus position, light incense and candles, and chant. Meditation is nearly as easy to do as falling asleep, and often times that's exactly what happens. (Listening to someone snore while everyone else is meditating is interesting, to say the least.) It doesn't take long--20 minutes is perfect--and doesn't take any special talent or equipment. The results, however, are priceless. That quotation is from an article in Psychology Today in 2013 by Michael Bader. None of this happens without one thing: meditation. It's a practice that takes time and effort, self-disclipline to do it, and a desire to get better. There are more benefits to meditation and can be or need to be listed here, but I'll guarantee you will benefit in more ways than you can know now. The only thing you have to believe about meditiation is it works. You have to believe it long enough to prove it to yourself, and it will in time. About three months. If you sit for twenty minutes, and bring your mind back to your breath every time it wanders away, do this many, many times, for 90 days, you will experience something magical. Mindfulness meditation--called Vipassana in my school--is magical. It changes the mind. I could give you scientific studies, or say how this is 2600 years old and has worked for millions of people, but the proof is in your own mind. When it comes to focusing, relaxing, awareness, only vipassana trains the mind to be completely aware of both mind and body. You don't need a coach. You only need to do it. Sit, close your eyes, focus on your breathing. Pick a point--the tip of the nose, the tip of your upper lip, the belly--and concentrate on it as your breath goes in and out. Count breaths, five at first or ten in and out, then up to ten breaths. Start over. This is a good way for the beginner--or anyone doing it, actually--to focus. Tell your mind to relax, settle down. Focus on the breath. The mind will wander away. It does this. That inner voice is not connected to you. Let it go. When it wanders off again, note it. Just see it for what it is, without any judgement of doing it right or wrong. Let it go and go back to your breath. Note it, and let it go. That's all there is. There is nothing else to do. If you want to, make this a New Year's resolution. Just sit for twenty minutes. Until the end of March. Then, again at the end of April, check yourself. It takes awhile for the changes to take place and even longer before you're aware something has happened. People will think you're different. You smile more. Stuff that used to bother you a lot doesn't seem to get to you. Life seems easier. This is the benefit, and the only way to get into that zone, where you "see the ball, be the ball." Yes, it seems mystical and Eastern and weird, but it's about as scientific as one can get. It works for everyone who tries it. It is amazing, and easier than dieting and exercise as a resolution to keep. Just sit and breathe. Trust me, it will make 2017 better. Namasakan, and happy new year. Don--who was once called Ajahn Gatasaro. :)
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