The arrow is the projection of an intention into space. Once the arrow has been shot, there is nothing more the archer can do, except follow its path to the target. From that moment on, the tension required to shoot the arrow has no further reason to exist. Therefore, the archer keeps his eyes fixed on the flight of the arrow, but his heart rests, and he smiles.
If he has practised enough, if he has managed to develop his instinct, if he has maintained elegance and concentration throughout the whole process of shooting the arrow, he will, at that moment, feel the presence of the universe, and will see his action was just and deserved.
Technique allows the hands to be ready, the breathing to be precise, and the eyes to be trained on the target. Instinct allows the moment of release to be perfect.
Anyone passing nearby, and seeing the archer with his arms open, his eyes following the arrow, will think that nothing is happening. But his allies know that the mind of the person who made the shot has changed the dimensions: it is now in touch with the whole universe. The mind continues to work, learning all the positive things about the shot, correcting possible errors, accepting its good qualities, and waiting to see how the target reacts when it is hit.
When the archer draws the bow-string, he can see the whole world in his bow. When he follows the flight of the arrow, that world grows closer to him, caresses him and gives him a perfect sense of duty fulfilled.
A warrior of light, once he has done his duty and transformed his intention into gesture, need fear nothing else: he has done what he should have done. He did not allow himself to be paralysed by fear. Even if the arrow failed to hit the target, he will have another opportunity, because he did not give in to cowardice.
(From the book, ‘Like the flowing river’, by Paulo Coelho)
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