02 June 2008

Tiger Woods, Buddhism, and Asian culture

Since my laptop is away on repair, I've been reading a book called The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, edited by David Halberstam and Glenn Stout. One of the stories is a piece on Tiger Woods called "The Chosen One" which you can also find online at Sports Illustrated.

There are many great quotes in this article.

A nice discussion of the conscious versus the unconscious mind:
"I've learned to trust the subconscious," says Tiger. "My instincts have never lied to me."

The mother radiates this: the Eastern proclivity to let life happen, rather than the Western one to make it happen. The father comes to it in his own way, through fire. To kill a man, to conduct oneself calmly and efficiently when one's own death is imminent -- a skill Earl learns in Green Berets psychological training and then again and again in jungles and rice paddies -- one removes the conscious mind from the task and yields to the subconscious. "It's the more powerful of the two minds," Earl says. "It works faster than the conscious mind, yet it's patterned enough to handle routine tasks over and over, like driving a car or making a putt. It knows what to do.

"Allow yourself the freedom of emotion and feeling. Don't try to control them and trap them. Acknowledge them and become the beneficiary of them. Let it all outflow."
Here's Tiger on the differences between American and Asian culture:
I like Buddhism because it's a whole way of being and living. It's based on discipline and respect and personal responsibility. I like Asian culture better than ours because of that. Asians are much more disciplined than we are. Look how well behaved their children are. It's how my mother raised me. You can question, but talk back? Never. In Thailand, once you've earned people's respect, you have it for life. Here it's, What have you done for me lately? So here you can never rest easy. In this country I have to be very careful. I'm easygoing, but I won't let you in completely. There, I'm Thai, and it feels very different. In many ways I consider that home.

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