I bowled better last night than I have in a long time. I scored better too. I attribute it to being true to my new bowling ideal. My ideal is not to be concerned with how I score or with whether I win. My ideal is to focus strictly on mindful execution of my approach and delivery. My ideal is for bowling to be meditation in motion.
Last night it was just that much of the time. I began my first game with eight strikes in a row. Interestingly, I lost my focus a little in the ninth frame, as thoughts of a perfect 300 game began dancing in my head, and I threw a bad shot and ended up with an open frame. After that, I regained my focus and struck twice in the tenth for a 260 game. I began the next game well and had a chance at another high score. And, once again, I threw some bad balls when I became more concerned with my score than I did with my execution and ended up with a 221 game after opening in the tenth frame with a split. I was able to stay focused on execution the third game and bowled a 277 game. That gave me a 758 series for the night. By not trying to score well, I scored my best league series of the year. By not trying to win, our team won all three games. Alan Watts had two names for this intriguing phenomenon: "the law of reversed effort," and, more simply, "the backwards law."
I accomplished this by focusing on execution instead of score, and also by giving up trying to throw the ball hard with a lot of revolutions the way I did when I was younger. Instead, I tried to be smooth and steady with my approach and release. And what I lost in power and in the exciting explosiveness of my ball at the pins, I more than made up for in the consistency of my ball reaction and by outstanding carry on a variety of different ball entrances to the pocket.
I think last night's experience helped to make me a wiser, better bowler.
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