Book Giveaway and Excerpt: No One Playing

Dear KOM-ers!

We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!

Please enjoy this excerpt from “No One Playing” by Martin Wells.

There are 2 ways to enter to win a FREE hard copy:

  1. Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
  2. Email us at KOMWriting@gmail.com with the Subject: No One Playing giveaway entry

The winner will be randomly selected on 12/20/21 and announced on our website and social media. *

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This is a story about a strange encounter on the golf course with someone who, on the face of it, knows nothing about golf but who ends up teaching the author about the inner game and questioning his approach to golf and to life itself.

It’s not just about golf or sport, nor about improvement or progress or how to do something. If anything, it points to a way of living effortlessly that is free and harmonious, that is, to the essence of mindfulness and non-duality.

Each of the nineteen chapters contains a lesson which the author palpably resists for the first few holes. But, gradually he comes to realize the profound truth in the teachings of the stranger and begins to understand the radical perspective of no one playing.

Excerpt from Chapter 17:

‘Your game is a great teacher. You imagine there is someone called “you” playing and succeeding and failing. But there is really no such thing as an individual.’

Responding to my frown he carried on.

‘For example, how can you call something a tree and talk about it in isolation? A tree cannot be a tree without air, earth, light, water, birds and other elements. In the same way, thinking of yourself as a separate person is an illusion. And our ego is part of that illusion: it imagines itself to be in control and master of its environment – not the servant. Usually manipulating each situation for its own ends. Even now, your ego is probably thinking how it can use this to become a better golfer.’

‘What do you mean?’

If I’d asked this question at the beginning of the round it would’ve had much more of an edge to it. Perhaps a bit of aggression. This time it came from a real sense of wanting to understand more.

‘Even today what you call “you” has hit some shots that went very well so that ego, the “controller,” can use these to imagine it now has the answer. Paradoxically, the answer is the dissolution of ego, and the illusion of the separate self. It’s as if the individual wave falls back into the ocean and realises that it was never separate, never not the ocean,’ Ram explained.

Once again, I remembered my years of playing football. The most enjoyable memories were those of being part of a team. Each of us an important cog in the machine. Playing our best when in tune with each other like a machine that had been well-oiled. Memories of the energy in the dressing room before the game. The beer and the post-match analysis. The lasting friendships born of joint endeavour. As they say, there’s no ‘I’ in team.

‘Your beautiful game provides you with so many reminders that you are part of everything,’ he went on.

‘You imagine you control the flight of the ball and work out the distance with your brain, but the controller is an imposter. Your good shots, as you call them, are the natural outcome of you being one with your environment. Of course, you need a technique to hit the ball. I could not do this. But once able to cause the ball to fly straight and high, your only practice is to let go and be one with the natural world around you. Your body will then remember a different type of knowing that existed before the controller, your ego, assumed its throne. Take today, for example.’ His words were flowing now.

‘So, what about today?’ I asked.

‘We could say that two individuals randomly meet up and talk to each other about what they love. You introduce me to your passion for this game and I point you to another way of seeing your sport and life in general. But this is not how things really are. It is more like oneness bringing two aspects of itself together at the same time. Synchronicity!’

‘I think I get that. But how would it apply to our example today?’

‘Well, for one thing, you could not have understood what has been said unless it was already known and you were open to being reminded.’

‘Whoa!’ I said, as if trying to get a horse to slow down.

‘And you and your game have reminded me of the power of the mind and the ultimate power of Nature.’ he said.

‘But Ram, you seem to already know this stuff anyway.’

‘That’s how it seems to a mind used to seeing a world full of separate objects.’ he explained. He paused and looked over at me.

‘It appears to the mind that this individual me passes something on to you, another separate individual. Two separate trees in the same forest. But we know now that trees communicate via their root systems. However, the mind cannot see the tree in its full glory, its perfect interconnectedness. In the same way that true wisdom comes from beyond the individual and, like today, infuses us both with its fragrance.’

I was struggling to grasp what he was saying but at the same time felt a deeper knowing beyond any words. Again, as if reading my mind, he went on.

‘Interconnectedness is beyond the realm of the mind. This can only be experienced and may only occasionally be glimpsed when the mind is still and the being remembers its own true source. Maybe, this is why you play this wonderful game?’

There didn’t seem to be any words that quite worked for this moment, but I was rescued by our arrival at my ball, which sat invitingly in the soft grass of the first cut of rough a few feet from the fairway.

 

* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media. 

NOTE: You can purchase “No One Playing” from John Hunt Publishing.

martin wells
Martin Wells has worked as a psychotherapist in the NHS for over 30 years. He also teaches mindfulness to patients and staff. Ten years ago his own experience of 'letting go' after attending a talk by a French psychiatrist and non-dual mystic, radically changed the way in which he now works. The experience prompted a profound shift in perspective, allowing Martin to understand non-duality as being at the heart of mindfulness and psychotherapy.

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