The Legend of Bagger Vance - Seeing the Field
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Yesterday, I watched "The Legend of Bagger Vance" starring Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron and directed by Robert Redford. I'd forgotten how much I liked this movie and what a great metaphor for life it is. After seeing this movie for the first time I immediately bought the book from which this movie is derived - "The Legend of Bagger Vance: A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life" by Stephen Pressfield.
In this movie Rannulph Junah plays a troubled war-hero who has lost his golf swing. Then a golf tournament like no other is set on Krewe Island golf course off Savannah attracts two golfing legends - Bobby Jones and Walter Hagan for an epic thirty-six hole showdown. Rannulph Junah who showed great promise as a golfer before going to war is representing the home-side.
However, it is the mysterious caddie, Bagger Vance, played by Will Smith, which is pivotal in this golf tournament. To play at his best, Junah has to overcome his inner demons and find not just his golf swing but his authentic golf swing.
Bagger Vance is more than a caddie. He becomes Junah's coach and mentor. He guides Junah and allows him to make and learn from his mistakes. However, he is also there to provide guidance when Junah is ready and willing to listen.
It's hard allowing those we care about to make what we clearly see as mistakes but what we often fail to see that it's not about the mistake. It's about the lesson embedded in the mistake and, sometimes, the only way to learn the lesson is to make the mistake.
To achieve great success in life you also need to have great vision - an unobstructed view of what is you want to accomplish. You have to be able to see the field. When you can achieve this, the obstacles that you thought existed disappear and remaining "obstacles" become relatively easy to deal with because you will find that these obstacles exist mainly in your mind.
There is a beautiful moment in the movie where Bagger Vance teaches Junah how to see the field. He tells Junah that:
"There's a perfect shot in each and every one of us and all we got to do is get ourselves out of its way and let it choose us."
In other words, we are the ones who put up the greatest resistance to achieving our greatness. We each have a path - call it our destiny. It's a path that has been carved out for us but we wander this way and that, and allow ourselves to be distracted and conflicted by our very thoughts.
Our inner voice, the voice of truth then gets lost in all the noise. On those rare occasions it does break through we may be distrustful of this inner voice which has been with us all along but yet has become unfamiliar because of the lack of attention we have been paying it.
"You have to trust your inner knowing. If you have a clear mind...you won't have to search for direction. Direction will come to you."
It's our inability to quieten the mind and listen to our authentic self who is trying to guide us that perhaps gives us the greatest challenge. When we are able to do this, when we get clear about our intention, when we believe in ourselves is when magic starts to happen in our lives. We start to consciously manifest the things we want as opposed to the things we don't want.
"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom."
So you have to quieten the mind, quell the useless chatter to allow yourself to see things as undistorted. When you receive an inspired thought you have to learn to trust it and take INSPIRED ACTION. You have to learn that life is a game and that you just need to play it to the best of your ability.
To do so often means getting out of your own way so that your perfect 'shot' or your perfect path will be revealed to you. Your 'shot' may seem uncharacteristic look at Michael Johnson and his upright running style but as he said if he ran like everyone else he would have been back there with the pack instead of leading the field.
It may not be a well-trodden path. You may have to establish a path so that others can follow but it will be authentic and, like Rannulph Junah, you too may overcome your self-imposed limitations, even come from behind and lead the field.
The Legend of Bagger Vance Will Smith Matt Damon metaphor for life game of life lead the field