I can, of course, only speak for myself, but in my years of practicing Zen, one of the lessons I have to relearn and relearn is not taking sides. Sounds easy, right? Oh so wrong…
I’m thinking of this because of Wimbledon. I’m watching a lot of tennis this week, and like most spectators, I have players I like to see win and players I like to see loose.
I admire all the players on tour, but I generally root for the underdogs, the younger players trying to make their mark on the game—Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov to name a few. The game has been so totally dominated by the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray, that I, for one, would like to see some new faces holding the trophy. I was thrilled when Stan Wawrinka won the Australian Open earlier this year.
The players I enjoy seeing lose are the overly arrogant ones, Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic, Radek Stepanek…
I get caught up in all those likes and dislikes. But then I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t have favorites. It makes no real difference in my life who wins or loses in these professional tournaments. It is nothing more than my own arrogance that I want the universe to play by my quirky ideas of fairness. In tennis, the only fairness is that the competitor who played the better match wins, no matter what ranking, age, or attitude.
My prejudices don’t stop at tennis. I often do the same for political leaders and candidates, outspoken religious people, and world events. As if I have any idea what would make the world a better place. How egotistical is that?
The trick is to catch myself before I get rolling down that path. With tennis, it’s easy. I simply remind myself that I’m a spectator. I tell myself to sit back, watch, enjoy the artistry of the game, and be appropriately grateful that I live in an age when I can see all the greats of the game battle for dominance from the comfort of my den.
For me it comes down to being thankful the universe is what it is, rather than what I would have it. That alone makes life interesting ever second of the day.