Evidently, we’re more like Tiger Woods than we realized. No, not profligate sexual tom cats or historically accomplished athletes or control freaks micromanaging our lives (well, maybe the latter…)
But lots of people, just like Woods, have drifted from the faith of their childhood. In his case, it’s Buddhist meditation. The Ommmm apparently lost its ooomph.
In his pre-Masters tourney press conference today, he reiterated that recent therapy has forced him to see “how far astray from the core morals my mom and dad taught me” he had traveled. Now he has resumed daily meditation, “the roots of Buddhism” as him mom taught him.
But how different is that, really, from what other 34-year-olds might say: They drifted away from their Catholic or Baptist or Methodist or whatever upbringing and now, gee, maybe they’re missing something.
- See also: Top Ten Celebrity Buddhists
A 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that among 16% of U.S. adults who now say they have no religious affiliation, most didn’t leave in a huff. Instead, about 70% say they “just gradually drifted away.”
I haven’t found (yet) statistics on people who quit meditation. But from perusing a few sites, it appears fairly common for people to drift in — and out — of spiritual practices.
A site for Tai Chi, a martial art that “encourages a calm mind and composed emotions” and nurtures “tranquility, harmony and balance,” points out that “many people quit. In fact most people quit.” It’s hard. It’s about losing control. And, of course, “A lot of people are just downright lazy…”
Meditation teacher Brenda Stephenson on her web site, acknowledges that a survey of past students found most quitters “simply lost their interest in meditating.”
And commentator John Pappas observed after the last time Woods said the same back-to-meditation line last month that it’s not magic.
[via USA Today]
It isn’t something that is outside of you that causes your actions and arbitrarily donning a magic bracelet or bemoaning that you didn’t sit facing a wall more will not help you look inward and is not going to solve your problem. It takes striving, faith and doubt. The realization is dawning on Tiger and I hope that he keeps working at it but approaching your practice (or any religion for that matter) as a crutch will never solve the problem.
It isn’t a magic elixir to be swallowed or special words to be chanted or super-mega prayers to be sent to big globular masses in the sky. It is work and it is humility. An extra hour of meditation a day is like a band-aid for a split jugular.
True. But isn’t it also true that the majority of us come to religion at times of crisis in our lives? It’s probably inevitable. In that sense, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using religion as a crutch, in fact it’s a much better crutch than some other things. And through the actual practise of that religion, a more rounded understanding gets a chance to develop and our motive for practising gets a chance to change and become more grounded in the everyday.