Always a sucker for baseball stories, I found this one about former outfielder Shawn Green to be a good fit for sharing with you. Some of the Zen purists out there will probably cringe a bit, but such is life.
During his playing days, Shawn Green was probably the most widely recognized Jewish player in the Major Leagues. He once sat out an important late season game with a division rival in observance of Yom Kippur, just to give you an idea of where he was coming from. And yet, like many others in monotheistic traditions, Green began to become interested in Buddhism, and particularly Zen, initially in part due to the practical qualities of having a regular meditation practice.
In his book, Green wrote the following:
"We believe we are our thoughts and egos and nothing more. I always suspected there was more to my true essence than my incessant and repetitive thoughts and the insatiable desire of my ego. I had been searching for that greater part of me via the exploration of Zen and meditations, but it wasn't until that work took root in my swing that I truly began to disconnect my thoughts and connect with my deeper of being."
By "swing" he means his hitting swing in baseball. As he began to learn more about meditation, he applied it to his hitting, turning batting in baseball into a form of meditation. And as he saw both positive results on the baseball field, and also this deeper form of awareness unfolding about life, it became more than just about dabbling in something that might help his baseball career. Retired from playing baseball since 2007, he continues to practice, and is now teaching his eight year old daughter a little bit about it all.
I'll be interested to see what else he has to say when I read the book.