October 2015 By Sharmila Bhosale Review of Zen and the Samurai Art of Playing Golfby Ulrich Nitzschke,Zen Publications, INR200; 105 pages It is the ultimate art to know oneself. It takes years of patience, forgiveness, frustration, trials, errors and absolute searing honesty. But there is nothing more liberating and empowering than this quality. Zen and the Samurai Art of Playing Golf Zen and the Samurai Art of Playing Golf by Ulrich Nitzschke attempts to link his experience with humanistic psychology and the Eastern methods of meditation (Zen being prominent among them) with the path of finding or discovering oneself. Being a well known life and sports coach, he uses golf as a metaphor to describe this path and guide readers along a route that may bring them closer to their own quality of life. Golf as a conduit to a richer inner journey couldn’t be more apt. The game of golf is characterised by patience, presence, grace, flow, finesse, and focus. And all these traits hinge on employing a strong balance, an unshakeable poise. No wonder then, that life lessons flow effortlessly through this channel. As Nitzschke says, “the moment we take a golf club in our hands, we’re playing two games at once: a physical and a mental one.” Through successive chapters he refers to several of these mental games that we constantly play with ourselves, where our inner opponent, through various diversionary tactics, that include negative self-talk and distractions, seeks to shake our resolve and inner harmony. In part two of the book, Nitzschke elaborates on the ways that we can overcome our inner opponent. This includes tools of meditation, mindfulness, reflection, introspection – all brought about simply through the tools and practice of golf. There is a neat little golf glossary too at the end, to sift truth from jargon! Zen and the Samurai Art of Playing Golf is a pithy, nifty wonderful read on how to mind your inner life. With remarkable illustrations too! - Sharmila Bhosale
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