Now or Later? By Keith Jensen

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Now or Later? By Keith Jensen

Post by MR. FAST on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:11 am

Now or Later? By Keith Jensen
BY Miguel Rocha

Right at this moment, I am in a very unusual position. The bench. I’ve hit a stretch where I don’t have the chance to contribute to my team like I’m used to; I’ve always been a leading presence on the court. It’s been a challenge for me to swallow the lump of ego in my throat and keep a positive outlook.

I’ve been fortunate enough to receive solid guidance from veterans, coaches and mentors. They seem to carry the same idea at the core of their advice: “Keep a good attitude. Just be patient.”

Ok, sure. But patience feels a long way away when I am watching my teammates play without me. I would give anything to be out there, doing what I love most. Patience implies a capacity for waiting—but I don’t want to be waiting, suspended in time as if I don’t exist until the coach calls me up.

Sitting on the bench, however, has given me the opportunity to reflect on the situation and how I truly want to respond. It appears that I have two choices: I can sit and stew in frustrated longing for the future (which feels like torture), or I can surrender to the present moment.

The question is, do I want my satisfaction now or later? If my satisfaction is

contingent upon a future outcome, then happiness will be a carrot forever dangling in front of my face. I know that eventually I will be out there playing again, and I need to stay ready for this moment with hard work. Yet I want to be careful not to attach my happiness, or sense of worth, to external circumstances beyond my control—leaving me the victim of my own emotions.

My ego has a hard time with the idea of surrender. It argues that to surrender means giving up on my goals, losing my ambition, and squelching my drive. Yet whether I am on the bench, on the court, or on the moon, all I ever really have to show for myself is the quality of my experience. And if I don’t make peace with the present moment, I will experience suffering.

So the first task is reconciling my perception of surrender. It doesn’t mean that I abandon my goal. My goal is like a beacon, a sense of direction that guides my work forward. Surrender means that I adhere to the natural flow, the sequence of moments that actually move me toward my goal in the first place.

Attachment to a specific outcome, or fixed expectation, is an excellent recipe for disappointment. So often we allow the magnetic pull of a goal to be the driving force for progression, but it’s hard to appreciate the destination if the journey has been missed.

Yes, I have the goal of getting back to my game as soon as possible. I also have a plan: to find satisfaction in every step of the way there.

photo c/o interaktv


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