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Golf is More than a Game

The ancient Chinese proverbs had a saying, wu-wei (pronounced ooo-way), which is a framework that helps guide you through your life.

It refers to the “dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art, smoothly negotiating a complex social situation, or even bringing the entire world into harmonious order” (1).

Tapping into a state of wu-wei requires that we work or act with a bigger purpose in mind, a purpose both within and outside of ourselves.

“Wu-wei involves giving yourself up to something that, because it is bigger than you, can be shared by others.”

After reading these words, I began thinking of how, if at all, I tap into wu-wei in my own life., and then it hit me.

Golf is my wu-wei.

In his book, Trying Not to Try, Edward Slingerland discusses finding and harnessing the power of wu-wei. He notes that even the thought of driving somewhere, the anticipation, or the preparation for something, can begin the process of placing your mind and body in this state. Further, we only find wu-wei once we become one with our environment, once we find ourselves molded into a mind-body-environmental connection.

I quickly realized, I get these feelings as I prepare for a round of golf, or grab my clubs on the way to the range.

I forget about everything else when I have a club in my hand.

I become one with the golf course, one with nature.

I understand and believe in the greater purpose of golf.

I connect with a community of empowered athletes, who share in that bigger purpose, whether they know it or not.

Golf is my wu-wei.