Skill and the Mind

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.

‘There,’ he said to the old man, ‘see if you can match that!’

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log.

Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. ‘Now it is your turn,’ he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. ‘You have much skill with your bow,’ the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, ‘but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.’

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I usually ponder on a topic for awhile before posting it here. I will save an idea in drafts and research the topic as I find time. Lately it has been crazy trying to find which posts are complete, do NaNoWriMo, read all the blogs I have subscribed to (this is a great way to find inspiration) and work. Like when I found a post by ‘The Tale of My Heart’ and ‘DeeShrek‘ that made great Etegamis. (The wise man vs the fool and the cow on ice skates) and now, I was inspired to finish this post; Bulls Eye, when I read Cat’s blog/post; ‘Missing the Mark’. Let me add that Catlas just received the…

………………………..Versatile Blogger award.

Catlas Crosses the Internet

excerpt from; Missing the Mark

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

Catlas is a witty word wizard and if you haven’t read her blog, I recommend that you do so. If you like enlightenment served on a humorous and witty platter, you’ll love her writes. I believe she has hit the Mark… (o_o)…with; Missing the Mark!

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The Bulls Eye

In a bar, in a land far away (or just around the corner) a man stood poised. He had a dart in his hand as he readied himself to throw. He sized up his target and balanced his stance as his hand rocked back and forth till he finally released the dart. It flew through the air hitting the dart board. All eyes turned toward the dart-board to see rather he had made a bulls eye or not.

How many throws does it take to perfect a throw? Do you have to spend your entire life practicing the art of throwing darts to hit the bulls eye. Do we have to commit ourselves to a daily regiment of training to be good at what we want in life? Of course. How often do we hit the bulls eye in life? Not near as many as we throw.

I know that when I went through the Academy, I tried with every ounce of breath to win the Beto award. An award given to the Officer that finished the academy with the highest marks/ grades. I made an average of 97.5 on every test. I just missed the 100 mark by one nearly every single time. I did make a few 100’s but the one 95 and the 97.5’s hit me in the gut like a sledge hammer. I just did not hit the bulls eye every time.

Why was I so bent on making a perfect score? Perhaps I am a perfectionist. My classmates were glad to get 85 (passing) I am the kind that doesn’t settle for anything less than perfection. But I did not make a bulls eye every time and it was hard to swallow. I did not get the award, I missed it by an inch that might as well have been a mile.

What standards do we set for ourselves? I work out in the yard, Kata’s, forms for martial arts. We have neighbors that don’t come up to stay on the river but maybe three or four times a year. One day I go out and exercise when this woman came out of her house and was all eyes. I suppose she had never seen some one kicking trees 6-7 feet high. I apologized if I had awaken her, for I am an early riser. (most of my posts are 4 am before I go to work and 6 am on my days off) So, this woman asked me, “How high can you kick?”

I said, “I don’t know 6’4 maybe.” I saw a lower limb on the tree (perhaps close to 7ft) and decided I would kick it. I made my jumping attempt and missed. I was embarrassed.

She said, “Miss it or not that is impressive.” I thought about that. I didn’t feel so bad any more. ‘If you get close, your in the ball park’ is the new saying I learned from this.

We were talking at work about the Super Bowl game. There was some one dogging the losing team. I pointed out that both teams are winners for making it that far. The losing team might not of won the super bowl but they earned the respect of being a great contender just by making it that far.

So. this man in the bar… looked at his dart that he had thrown and he could tell by the moans from the crowd that he did not hit the bulls eye. He walks up to the dart board and takes the dart out and walks back to the line and throws again, and again, and again till he finally makes a bulls eye. Seems that we should learn to accept the misses that generally out number the amount of hits we get in the bulls eye. All of life is trial and error, we can’t be expected to hit the target every single time. I think the defeat would be to never try at all or to say, “I can’t hit that,” and never do it. Life is all about learning and we learn from our mistakes… and our misses.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

by Art~

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(foot-note; darts fly erratic, like arrows, I shoot a bow and arrow and can hit the target ten out of ten times. Just like shooting a rifle, I can hit the target every time. Darts are a game of chance most of the time with standard darts that do not fly true in the air. Professional dart throwers use their own darts that are more balanced and fly true. I suppose this applies in life as far as quality goes. You buy a cheap car your gonna have problems sooner than if you buy quality. Isn’t our lives worth quality moments even if we can not afford expensive things, we can give our souls quality time.)

 may your day hit the bulls eye