The bow, the arrow and the target

Paulo Coelho

We are all archers of divine Will. And so it is absolutely essential that we know what instruments we have at our disposal.

The bow

The bow is life: all energy emanates from it.

The arrow will be shot one day.

The target is far away.

But your life will always be with you, and you have to know how to take proper care of it.

It needs periods of inactivity – a bow that is always ready, in a state of tension, loses its potency. So, accept rest to recover your firmness: in this way, when you stretch the string, your strength will be intact.

The bow has no conscience: it is a prolongation of the archer’s hand and desire. It serves to kill or to meditate. So, always be clear about your intentions.

A bow is flexible, but it also has its limits. Any effort beyond its capacity will break it, or else tire out the hand that holds it fast. By the same token, do not ask of your body more than it can do. And understand that one day old age will arrive – and that this is a blessing, not a curse.

To keep the bow elegantly open, have each part do only what is necessary, and do not waste your energy. This will enable you to shoot lots of arrows without growing tired.

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  1. mari says:

    Muito bonito ” O arco” .
    Eu acho que quando “o foco” é verdadeiro,te que se estar pronto, porque “na verdade” está o Amor que a gente tíªm, sente e transmite.
    Quando a gente prepara o arco a luz do Amor acompanha o gesto. Existe um brilho especial, uma forí§a que só Deus entende.
    Mari Raphael.

  2. Maru says:

    La analogia del arco y la flecha va bien en mi vida, creo que he aprendido a caminar con mi arco en tension y la flecha buscando el blanco… he aprendido a buscar en mi, a ver el mundo como una serie de milagros que requieren de mi el ser reconocidos como tal y agradecidos de igual forma, creo tambien que Sun Tzu tiene razon cuando pide matar el deseo… el mayor enemigo del alma… el arco tenso, la flecha lista para dar en el blanco … solamente por el gusto de hacer lo que se tiene que hacer sin esperar la recompensa… busco hacer lo que nace, lo que se da, lo que me invita solo por el hermoso placer de hacerlo bien, de hacer el bien

  3. T.K. says:

    “As unto the bow the cord is, so unto the man is woman;
    though she bends him, she obeys him,
    though she draws him, yet she follows;
    useless each without the other!”

    ~ Poet Henry Wadworth Longfellow’s description of Hiawatha and Minnehaha

  4. THELMA says:

    Life the Bow. Sometimes I feel so ‘small’ in front of God, Cosmos, Eternity and Life. I am a breath of God and then I think of the beauty, colours, sounds, mountains, rivers, deserts, volcanoes, rain.. They just exist. They are. They do not ask ‘how’and ‘why’and towards what? Our thoughts and feelings, our .. arrows, are sent to .. space and yet, we may not understand the target or may not find a .. reason for being alive. The everyday life, the routine, keeps us busy and all our worries and concerns drive us deep into the material world. Our soul, our heart, though, keeps reminding us our Song, the pulse of Life and LOVE. We continue ‘elegantly’ sending our arrows and keeping inside us the pearls of our lives, wisdom and love and the certainty of ETERNITY.

  5. andrea says:

    Yes Paul, we are not perfect and it is just by living that we are going to learn!

  6. orly says:

    we shouldnt get ignorante in life,,, we cant sit just ,,,, and do nothing, we should ever move, do prepare and be prepared,,,and the bow will be always there to be used if nesesarry,
    my bow is a very colourful one,,, it has the colour of the sun, love ,water, sand, green, sea and endless other colours,, as a matter of fact the colour of my life!

  7. Meire says:

    I love the way that you wrote about the bow.You are a great warrior and zen archer!!

  8. Irina Black says:

    Bow-changeable constancy.

  9. Alexandra says:

    Wonderful presentation.I admire that art,just I had never any ocasion to practice that sport,maybe in future.True,one cant force too much,else is an open gate to ilness.A strong body need rest,as well as exercise.Target,always needed.Is the sense of our days.

  10. Savita Vega says:

    Yesterday, I wrote out a list of goals and hung it on the wall beside my computer. Not large goals or long-range plans, but more like simple, immediately doable alterations in the way I want to spend my time. I didn’t title the list, “Goals” or “Things to Do” but simply “How I Would Like to Spend More of My Time”. On that list were items such as:

    * Ride my bike
    (There was a time in my life when I was logging three-hundred miles per week in the saddle, consistently. Now my bike, which has more value than the old beat-up pickup I drive, just sits there and stares at me from it’s designated parking place in the corner of my laundry room. Yesterday I took it into town and aired up the tires, gave the brakes and the gears a good looking over. This morning I’m working out in my mind the route I will take later this afternoon when the weather warms up.)

    * Get to know my brother
    (He’s older than I am by twelve years, and we never lived together growing up. He lives only twenty miles away, but sometimes months will pass between our visits with one another. He’s always lived in a world that, in his mid, he deemed “too wild” or “too unfit” for the “princess” in the tall tower who is his sister. The other night I chased him down at a camp on the river where he likes to hang out with his friends on the weekends. I didn’t know any of the people there, though several of them seemed to know me, making comments like, “You must be D—-‘s sister! We’ve never met, but I’ve heard all about you….” Another man said, “Well, hell, I never knew D—- had a sister! And he’s one of my best buddies! Where’s he been hiding you all these years?” Before leaving, I made a date with my brother for the opening weekend of the car races, and he promised to take me four-wheeler riding the next time they all go.)

    * Learn more about arrow head collecting
    (Which has been my boyfriend’s hobby for many years – an endeavor which both fascinates and confounds me. Sometimes he takes me with him on his searches, but I really don’t know what I’m looking for, or how, and even if I do find something, I don’t know what I’ve found. He gave me one recently as a gift: small, the size of the end of my little finger, sharp, and perfectly shaped. I look at it and I wonder: What was the person like who sat and patiently, skillfully chipped this from a piece of solid rock? Who shot it into the air with his bow, and at what target? What kind of prey or enemy was he aiming at? And did it hit its mark…or miss? Yesterday I went to the bookstore in the larger city an hour away and purchased the only two books they had on the subject of arrowheads and projectile points. Today I begin to know more.)

    So, I think sometimes taking aim accurately is not the big goals we set in our life – it is the daily practice, the small adjustments we make in how we use our time. It is easy to become so focused on that far off target that we stand frozen in the moment, forgetting to breathe deeply and evenly, failing to tighten this muscle or relax that one just a little. Balance is what I’m looking for: aspiring “to keep the bow elegantly open, to have each part do only what is necessary, and not waste my energy.” Perhaps this “will enable me to shoot lots of arrows without growing tired.”

  11. mari says:

    Muito bonito ” O arco” .
    Eu acho que quando “o foco” é verdadeiro,te que se estar pronto, porque “na verdade” está o Amor que a gente tíªm, sente e transmite.
    Quando a gente prepara o arco a luz do Amor acompanha o gesto. Existe um brilho especial, uma forí§a que só Deus entende.
    Mari Raphael.

  12. Cindy says:

    This is so amazing, almost everytime you put something down it talks straight to my heart, and I just KNOW it’s true!

    The part that life needs periods of inactivity really makes sense. I often feel a bit quilty if I don’t have much energy to do something sometimes… but realise now that is just part of how it works.

    Put the energy where it is most usefull.

    Thank you!

  13. sido66 says:

    Padre Pio said: ” when you will meet difficulties, send me your guardian angel because the angel does not pay the train ticket, and does not use(wear out) the soles of shoes “. For him, the angel was an alive and visible reality. I think that time are ripe to INFORM about the angels

    The angels guided my road towards God, then my return towards the “people” today I testify and I lived and I act

    Because the bow is always ready, and has to serve in the action between 2 rest periods