Yoga Wicca Buddha

Exploring a personal, eclectic path by looking at the intersection of three great traditions.

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Baseball Zen

I shout encouragement at the TV. My partner provides analysis. Their bats are hot and their pitches sharp. But the Blue Jays keep losing. Why?



Well, I say philosophically, why should they be winning? So many moving parts—hitting, batting, players’ mental states, wind speed, time of day—must come together for a win. The flap of a butterfly’s wing could upset the whole delicate balance—and frequently does. There is no certainty in baseball, only statistics.


Consider the pitcher. He is Hamlet, high strung, under pressure, suspended in the gaze of thousands. He stands, eyeing the batter, eyeing the catcher, waiting for the right moment, for his own readiness, to launch the ball. Consider the batter, looking for that launch, and knowing the decision to swing or hold back must be made in a split second.


And there’s the crowd: loud with anxiety and desire, dreaming success, anticipating disaster. Everything is teetering on the cusp…and then it’s not. The pitch flies, the ball ends up somewhere, and the next thing happens, on and on, everything in motion. Even as we wait for the pitch or the hit, the clock is ticking, the situation subtly ripening.


Life is like that too. “We are always in the bardo,” says Pema Chodron, “because impermanence never takes a break.” The diverse elements constantly combining to create each moment are just as constantly preparing to disperse. It’s more like a kaleidoscope than a tapestry—patterns form and fall apart in myriad ways, in continuous and seemingly random motion. 


If we think too hard about this we start to dissolve. We feel naked, immersed in unknowing, shorn of expectations. And this is both freedom and vulnerability. Faced with life’s shifting currents, we can surf or go under. Likely we’ll keep alternating between the two. But we cannot turn the tide.


As Zen Master Dogen says, “Life is one continuous mistake.”


But it’s still hard not to crave certainty—certainty that I can avoid the next mistake (the one I won’t see coming) or undo the last one. It’s hard not to want the Blue Jays to win every time, instead of just admiring the prowess of both teams as they play. It’s hard not to want to do life perfectly, so my ego can be soothed.


Yet Yamada Roshi says the goal of life is “to play.” So there have to be pratfalls and surprises. And the Wiccan “Charge of the Goddess” advises me to value both “mirth and reverence.”


I hear you, teachers. I’m trying…to keep my soul light, to do good without trying to be good. To be a passionate but forgiving fan. To let the boys of summer play.






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Archer has been trying to make sense of religion since her parents first abandoned her at Sunday School in the 60s. She’s a mom, yoga teacher and repository of useless bits of information on ancient religion, spiritual practices and English grammar. Check out her column “Connections” in Witches and Pagans.


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