Meditation: Different

The word different is defined as, not alike in character or quality; distinct in nature; dissimilar. When applied to people, it is defined as, unlike most others, unusual. People can be different in race, personality, size, and gender. When you look at the meaning of the word different, being unlike most others, you would think that would be a good thing. Standing out from the crowd, and being different should get you noticed, and help you get on to a better life. Companies are always talking about increasing diversity in their hiring practices. However, this is usually not the case, in the real world, where people that are considered different and a little unusual, are often times shunned and isolated from society and the workplace. What society is most comfortable with is “being with their own kind”. In larger cities groups of people seem to congregate in certain areas hence, you have neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and basically black communities. Why is there such comfort in being with a like kind? Why is diversity never been fully embraced in the world today? In almost every aspect of life, groups seem to congregate to individuals that are like themselves.

Is there really such comfort in being with your own kind, or is there an underlying fear of anything or anyone that is different from you. Even in such things as meditation there seems to be a stigma attached. I know of no one who uses meditation on a regular basis, and if I bring it up in a group it is usually ridiculed, or looked at as something that is a waste of time. Difference could be looked at, as the same as change. People are always wanting things to stay the same, even though that is impossible. Trying to stay away, or avoid people that are considered different, is also impossible. It is like the fear of the unknown. Fear is the overriding factor when it comes to the way people avoid anyone who is different. The reverse is also true. Anyone who considers themselves different, whether it be by race, beliefs, or appearance, will avoid making contact with the “normal” group. There is a fear of being ridiculed, and maybe even being harmed by the so called regular group. There is a lack of respect and acceptance of individuals who do not seem to be in line with the “normal” values of the community. People of certain races and religion have been persecuted and killed for no other reason than they are of a certain race or religion. Many sectors believe in a separatist society. The Nation of Islam has always sought for segregation and has had a belief that the black man is superior to the white man. Hitler had the master race. Looked upon as being different has always been a curse, rather than a positive attribute.

Being different is a fact of life, that is more prominent than any of us realize. Men and woman are different. The cultures and attitudes of various races and religions are different. These differences have nothing to do with an individual’s ability to do a job, and their right to make a living and pursue goals that can make them happy and comfortable. We as a society need to be able to function in our own group if we so desire, but we should allow a sector of society, no matter what the perceived differences are, live the life that they desire and deserve, as any person should, with free will. The fears of what a group or person may or not do, because they are different, must be laid permanently to rest. We need to embrace and accept all kinds of people, to be able to make the world a more livable place. It would be nice for that word different, to have only a positive meaning, and it would allow people to be more themselves, and have no fear of being different.

Golf: My Cup Runneth Over

This past weekend, golf had two of its signature events, with the FedEx Cup coming to it’s grand conclusion, and the Solheim Cup finishing up on Labor Day. Of course, golf has a wrap around season, and I think the new season is starting up this week, but who cares, as golf really doesn’t have an off season. The Solheim Cup is the women’s version of the men’s Ryder Cup, and the outcome was the same, as the European Women retained and won the cup. The FedEx Cup is the PGA tour version of the World Series, Super Bowl, and NBA finals. Unfortunately, the PGA Tour doesn’t really understand the concept of playoffs, so they have had many format changes, none of which gives the event a playoff or championship feeling. The Solheim Cup is a much better event, but the media has a hard time understanding, why the Europeans win most of the time, in both events. I will clear that up, at the end of the blog.

Playoffs, in all other sports, are a process of elimination, through head to head competition, which ends by crowning a champion. This concept is totally loss on the PGA tour. They think having 3 stroke play events that eliminate a certain number of players each week, constitutes a playoff. The only way the FedEx Cup finale will ever have a true playoff feel, is to eventually, go to match play. Of course, because of golf’s inferiority complex, in trying to compete against other sports for ratings, the powers to be are petrified of match play. What if there is no star power in the final? What if the final match is a blow out? So what, this is what sports is all about. There have been many lousy Super Bowls, but it is still the most popular sports event in the United States. To help ensure some significance to the long PGA season, and make the finals more fan friendly, here is how I would pare down the field. The top two point getters at the end of the last event, would automatically make it to the final four, of match play. The positions of 3 through 6 would make it to the quarter finals. Then, the next 16 highest point getters, would qualify for the match play final. The finals would be 24 players, not the current 30. On Thursday, those 16 players would play 8 matches in the morning, to get down to 8, and in the afternoon, there would be 4 matches to get down to 4 players remaining. Then on Friday those four player would play the 3 through 6 ranked players with 4 matches in the morning, followed by 2 matches in the afternoon to get down to the 2 players who would meet the 1 and 2 players in the semi-finals on Saturday. The finals would be Sunday with the losers teeing off first to determine 3rd and 4th and then the Championship Match to follow for the 15 million dollar prize. That, PGA Tour, is what is know as a playoff. Get with it.

In the Solheim Cup, the Americans gave it their all, but fell short, as Europe won the cup, again. It was a great show, and there is no need to change anything about either, the Ryder Cup, or the Solheim Cup. The only thing that needs to change, is the US media perception of the European teams. There is always some excuse when the Europeans win. It’s the way they pick their teams, it’s the captain, they like each other more, and the best one, they are use to the format. How is that true? The only reason the Europeans win more Solheim Cups, and Ryder Cups, is that they are simply better players, for what is required. They may not be more use to the format, but they embrace the format, much more than the American team does. I think, overall, they just enjoy playing golf, more than the Americans do. It is as simple as that. The other thing that helps fuel their fire, is that no matter how many Cups they win, they always go into the next Cup as the underdog. Talk about an example of denial. The feeling is always, that there is no way, that the Americans should lose to the Europeans. In the Solheim Cup, Europe has won 4 of the last 6. In the Ryder Cup, Europe has won 7 or the last 9. Even so, in a couple of weeks, the populous will be expecting an easy American win. The simple fact of the matter remains, that the European players are just better, and are better equipped to deal with the pressure of representing their country.

Meditation: God

Usually when I start a meditation blog with a word, the first thing I do is get a definition of the word, but we need to look at the way the word God is used first. A question many people ask is, do you believe in God. I am not too sure how many believe in God, but there are lots of people, who like to use the word God. You can not get through a day, with at least hearing one of these phrases and some many times. Good God, God almighty, Oh my God, God damn it, and God awful, just to name a few. In the free dictionary God is define as   a being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship. Webster dictionary states that God is  the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe. In religion God is given a lot of attributes and none of them bad. God has limitless knowledge and power. God is not bound by time and can not be divided. God is not material, affected or subject to change. God is totally benevolent and simple. There are times when you hear some people referred to as Gods. Quite a compliment for that particular person. For God to have all these great attributes, he then must exist. That is where the rub is. Many people do not think there is a God. If he does not exist, then who is everybody praying to. The biggest problem for God, is that he or she, is always tied to religions, and that is never a good thing. For me personally, I have always felt there is a higher power out there somewhere, but I am not going to give it a name or call it God.

One of the purposes of meditation is to discover your inner master. By discovering your inner master, you will open many avenues to achieve goals and find success. Some people will talk about God, as being their Lord and Master. Allowing another image to be your lord and master could be a way of denying responsibility for one’s actions. We have all heard of the saying the Devil made me do it, when someone does something that is considered wrong or vulgar. Rarely do you hear someone say that God made me do it, to a similar action. However, there have been many wars and attacks on mankind, in the name of God. As written before, God has always been held in a very high esteem. If you are doing something in the name of God, then it has to be something that is for the common good and to overcome evil, at least from your point of view. This one thing is certain, the word God has had a profound effect on mankind, causing man to do many historic things, some good, and some not so good. God is used as a coping device, when bad things happen to good people. It is called God’s will. When tragedy strikes, friends will say, this is the time that you need to really find strength from your faith in the almighty God. Is this something that really helps. Is there this mighty being, that is all knowing, and can explain all the bad things that happen in the world, and on a personal level. I highly doubt it. Can your own inner master explain all of these things. I do not think that is possible, either. What is then, this higher power, that I think is running the show.

I think, this is what simply, is called the unknown. There is so much of life and existence, that we do not understand, or know. There is the belief, that we are all some way connected, not only in the world, but in the entire universe. This is what the higher power knows, and it knows when all of this will be revealed. We, as a people, are not ready to be connected with whatever is out there. The day to day tragedies and events are things that are simply beyond our comprehension. We are just specs in a vast system of worlds and universes, that hopefully, will know how to exist with each other, in a very distance future. There are a number of people that think the world is going to end some day. Some think that day is coming sooner, rather than later. The human race has been thinking this way for thousands of years. The book of Revelations is dedicated to this idea, and goes about how it is going to happen. There are many movies about the world ending, and what it might be like. I feel that the world will never end, and that is what the higher power is all about. In 4 or 5 thousand years, maybe everything will be explain, and our existence will be revered, as one of the steps, that helped it all come about. Life can be hard, but you can always blame your parents for putting you into it. Stay on the inward journey, and life will be easier, even though it may not be more understandable. You will always be responsible for the way your life was, is and will be. God has nothing to do with it.