Meditation: News

The definition of news is, newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events. I first started meditating in 1993, and at the same time, I stopped reading newspapers, and watching newscasts. It was one of the best things I ever did. Any big events, I heard about from friends and neighbors, but not listening to newscasts, made my life much less stressful, and more relaxing. Then came the pandemic of 2020, and to keep up with something so historic, I started watching some news shows, the Today Show and Sunday Morning on CBS. I also started reading more news stories on Apple News. Thirty years later, when it comes to news reporting, I see nothing has changed. It is a sad commentary, that the sole purpose of the news media, whether it be print or broadcast, is to create fear in the minds of their readers and listeners. They equate this with keeping people well informed. Do we really need to know ,that killer bees are invading the country, that social security benefits could be gone by the mid 2030’s, and more bad weather is on the way? The pandemic has fueled this type of reporting even more. They continue to report on ways that the environment can kill you, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. They report on stories that have very little affect on our daily lives, but show the worst sides of people. They very seldom follow the rule of reporting noteworthy information about important events.

Can there be any purpose in trying to keep a population frozen in fear? Is it to keep people distracted by this constant barrage of fear inducing stories, so they will be incapable of moving on with their lives, and improving their respective position in life. I think the stories speak for themselves. We had to shelter in place because of the Covid 19 outbreak, but the media have been trying to keep people indoors for 75 years. Just today on my default browser there were stories of all the celebrities that died of Covid, China responding to a U.S. move restricting their diplomats, and how opening colleges is not working. Almost everyday there is a story about nuclear weapons. There is nothing an individual can do to stop a foreign power from making nuclear weapons, so why tell us about it. The 1950’s is a perfect example. The media frenzy over nuclear weapons had people building bomb shelters. Things have not changed over the last 60 years. Threatening weather makes the headlines all the time, like the entire country is under some kind of environmental attack. Obviously, this type of news reporting sells, or it would not be happening. Unfortunately, there are many people who like to see and hear about suffering, and tragedy, and the news media has no problem, in showing all the death and destruction. It is time for me to go back to not watching the news. Maybe, occasionally, getting a Covid update, to see if this thing is ever going to end anytime soon. Meditating is a way to relieve this stress of the news reporting, but the best way to avoid all the bad effects of watching the news, is to stop watching. It is never going to make your life better. It is time to forget about the big world, because the big world will take care of itself, it always has. It is time to take care of your world. Meditate, breath, relax, and ignore the news. While the pandemic continues, check some stats, about once a week. Be aware of what the disease is doing in your area, and any area, that you may be visiting. But forget about killer bees, and unknown forces, that are going to destroy your food supply, and render yourself helpless. Relax, and enjoy your little microscopic space in the world, because everything can be just fine there, if you follow your inward self.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

The only good news is that I got the first official Pittsburgh round of golf in this week. Went to Scenic Valley and despite some pretty good ball striking for early in the season, shot 81 thanks to 6, yes count them 6, three putt greens. In San Diego, I must have had about 10 one putt greens to shoot 76 with a putter I am lucky to use once a year. The forcast for today was for sunny skies, 0% chance of precip. and temps in the mid 50’s. It snowed this morning and at 1pm it is 40 degrees with a pretty stiff wind. I wish we could come up with some good use for all those satellites that are floating around up there, because they are no use in predicting the weather. Needless to say, this was not a week where there was any progress made on the mind body connection.

Now I would like to discuss a subject that has been floating around on various webs and social pages about the stat, greens in regulation, or as it will be referred to from now on as GIR. There was a reasearch  project that ties GIR to scoring. The conclusion essentially was that a high % of GIR equated to lower scoring implying that the old adage about the short game being the most important part of golf to score low was false.  If you follow baseball you know that baseball stats have gone to the next level. The stats geeks cover every phase of the game and then some. Where pitches are thrown, the stadiums where games are played, where players are positioned, lefty, righty, and how things go on every ball strike count to name just a few. Now I admit I did not read any of the study but what I read about the study in support of it did not seem to cover the following points. As in many stats I think GIR is too broad of a stat. It’s like batting average and fielding ave in baseball. There needs to be a stat on how close to the pin the ball his on every shot. One player may hit the green, 40 feet from the pin and another may be 15 feet on the fringe. Who do you think has the better chance of making a birdie. Some courses have bigger greens than others. The smaller the greens, then this stat becomes more important. How many times are these GIRs accomplished with less than full shots on par 5’s and short par 4’s. So your short game got the GIR and most likely got you closer to the pin. I could go on and on but you get the point. It’s not that I don’t think GIR is an important stat, but to score you better have short game.

This August will mark  the fourth anniversary of the blog. I have played and rated 92 public golf courses in Western Pa. that are within 90 minutes of my house. The original plan was to do 90 but over the course of the last 3 years I have found enough to get to a hundred, and I hope to finish this year. However the blog will take a little different course this year. In previous years, in searching for the answer to this goofy game, I have done various things with various amounts of success. I have written about some of the unsuccessfull things I have done, in more of a summary form durng the off season. This year as we search for that mind body connection I will discuss what I am doing as it is happening. Now this may not be as scary as seeing inside the mind of a serial killer but it could be pretty fightening. This will be the last warning I will be giving. The weather forecast is improving this week and I hope to get in 3 to 4 1/2 rounds this week.  See you next Sunday.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

This week I am going to review the last 2 years of my playing this goofy game. Why the last 2 years? There is quite a contrast between the years, which has led to the conclusions of trying to find the mind body connection. 2012 reinforced my belief that the key to the golf swing is, that it must be controled by the turn of the shoulders. That the enemy of the golf swing is the arms and the legs. I am going to discuss this more next week, as I review this concept, with some added information from the original post. This is not a method. This is not a swing change. This is just a different way to execute the swing that you have. By allowing the shoulders to control my swing, I hit the ball and scored the most consistant I ever have in some 50+ years of playing this game. There were two other interesting things that happened that year. I developed the chip yips and I finished the year on a down note by not breaking 80 on 7 out of the last 8 rounds I played. I had various excuses for this poor finish, and none of them were right. This poor finish did not affect my handicap as they were all after October 31, when we stop turning in scores. I considered the year a great succes and my handicap dropped from 5.1 to 3.2.

As I was heading into the 2013 golf season I was ready to tackle the mental side of this game full force, since I felt I had the physical side down. I have already written about some of the mental experiments I tried during the golf season, with some pretty disasterous results. I knew there was going to be some trial and error just like trying to find a key to the golf swing. Naturally my game suffered some, but at times it suffered greatly. Twice during the season, once in a tournament, I did not break 90. If someone would have wanted to bet me that I would do that once let alone twice, I would have lost everything I owned.  My handicap went up to a season ending 4.3 but it was even higher, back into the 5’s at times during the year. However, this year I finished stronger by shooting my last 7 out of 8 rounds in the 70’s. Nothing spectacular but the consistancy came back and I started playing much better, in less than ideal conditions. I was able to do this by paying more attention to the physical side of the game. In other words I got closer to getting the mind and the body connected and to the conclusion that even for a good player the game is 50% mental and 50% physical.

As I head into the 2014 golf season that will be the concept that I hope to prove or disprove. Again this will be a trial and error procedure. What is great about golf is that the numbers will tell the story. See you next week.