If golf is a teacher of life, of how to drive the passing time and live among one another, a fairway beacon to principles of math and behavior, precision and feeling, genteelness and sublime-ness, of opposites doing exactly what they opposite, and of discoveries from within and without….. then these 2 short readings, observing the properties of water and water-like behavior – odes if you will – captured while thumbing through a Haute Couture fashion magazine in our Paris apartment in Saint Germaine on a brisk weekend evening after gulping a cup of strong joe and marveling at how time has passed awaiting the turn of the new year – these words that follow below make me want to think of each day in my golfer’s-journeyman list of days practicing and plodding, thinking and re-tooling, groveling and reveling …. These words pay a humble golfer’s new year’s tribute by characterizing golf’s pursuit as work that is done on ME – as if to point out golf’s compassionate persistent H20-like and, sometimes seemingly, heaven-sent properties.
Lao Tzu said: “The greatest compassion is like water.” The highest level of compassion is like the character of water, benefiting everything, yet pursuing no honor or interest. In this chaotic and impulsive world, it is obviously difficult to preserve one’s pure self; to remain compassionate is even harder.
Liu Bei, and Emperor of the Han dynasty, left these words among others to his son: “Do not act small evil deeds because they are small, nor shall you refrain from small compassionate acts because they are small.” The kindness of one person might seem meaningless, but like the dripping water, it can pierce rocks, it’s value resides in its perseverance. Everyone can make oneself kinder, the sum of everyone’s kindness can change the world.
These words can apply to so many of life’s endeavors but I choose to think of them in terms of my golf game and how I must be compassionate (to myself and others) as I learn it even as I persist against the impediments of nature and body and thought and attitude to break through to a better game – one drip at a time.
Epilogue: Binging around the web, I came across these other Lao Tzu quotes (the 2 pictures above and below) that resonate with these sentiments as well as some thoughts on mental preparedness offered by Grateful G earlier today.