Gaining Perspective by Taking a Step Back

In the weeks since my last post I’ve spent precious little time working at baduk. Instead I’ve focused on domestic and family affairs. My absence from this the world’s greatest game is also part fatigue. It’s not that studying or playing became too onerous, they didn’t, I just felt like I needed a break, so I took a step back.

Over the past week, however, I’ve taken returned to baduk with a renewed appreciation for this game and its meaning in my life.

In part, this revival was driven by watching professional games on Baduk TV. Seeing the game in action reminded me of its vitality. During these sessions I would study the players’ moves and try to read out possibilities. I found that I was able to do this with increased accuracy compared with a few weeks prior. As I reflected on this development I began to get the sense that the disparate baduk knowledge I’d crammed into my head had somehow consolidated. In taking a break I was actually giving my mind a chance to catch up, store, and organize what I’d learned about baduk.

I feel revived.

What I’m finding is that I’ve had to relearn the simple truth of retreat. In spiritual life, as well as physical, we need rest. When this rest is not forthcoming we get overdrawn and lose appreciation of whatever it is we’re pursuing. A retreat, however, is not forgetting: it is preparation. In taking a step back from baduk I was not forsaking my pursuit of the game but instead creating the space for renewed attention to it.

Play baduk. Study baduk. Love baduk.

Don’t let tiredness discourage you. If you need a break, take one.