True skill

By Paulo Coelho

The yogi Raman was a true master of the art of archery. One morning, he invited his favourite disciple to watch a display of his skill. The disciple had seen this more than a hundred times before, but he nevertheless obeyed his teacher. They went into the wood beside the monastery and when they reached a magnificent oak tree, Raman took a flower which he had tucked in his collar and placed it on one of the branches.

He then opened his bag and took out three objects: his splendid bow made of precious wood, an arrow and a white handkerchief embroidered with lilacs.

The yogi positioned himself one hundred paces from the spot where he had placed the flower. Facing his target, he asked his disciple to blindfold him with the embroidered handkerchief.

The disciple did as his teacher requested.

‘How often have you seen me practise the noble and ancient sport of archery?’ Raman asked him.

‘Every day,’ replied his disciple. ‘And you have always managed to hit the rose from three hundred paces away.’

With his eyes covered by the handkerchief, the yogi Raman placed his feet firmly on the ground, drew back the bowstring with all his might – aiming at the rose placed on one of the branches of the oak tree – and then released the arrow.

The arrow whistled through the air, but it did not even hit the tree, missing the target by an embarrassingly wide margin.

‘Did I hit it?’ said Raman, removing the handkerchief from his eyes.

‘No, you missed completely,’ replied the disciple. ‘I thought you were going to demonstrate to me the power of thought and your ability to perform magic.’

‘I have just taught you the most important lesson about the power of thought,’ replied Raman. ‘When you want something, concentrate only on that: no one will ever hit a target they cannot see.’


  1. Marie-Christine says:


  2. Mandeep Duggal says:

    Skill and Intent both are necessary. Master Raman had both.

  3. uhaeuhaehu VERY GOOD!

  4. Jojo says:

    I thought about that topic, of true skill, when I “coincidently” came across a name. I had one night a “dream”, and I was transported somewhere where “somebody” wanted to show me how humans were like trapped, magnetized … Then, this morning, I did something which I do rarely … go see links, etc … and I stumbled on George Gurdjieff and I was like in shock … what I read for the moment gives like confirmation that my dream was more than a dream …

    Referring to true skill, one has to go and discipline himself or herself to get in back, to go through an “energy” that does not wish one to go back to that power, which was at the beginning. There is that “leader” whose only desire is to destroy. In that dream, I was like shown my true nature, which is for the moment hard for me to put to swallow, and shown like that is the enemy to battle … í€ suivre …

    I want to share these words of George Gurdjieff, and as I read, one of his last say: Warned Gurdjieff: “Humanity is at a standstill and from a standstill there is a straight path to downfall and degeneration…. There is nothing that points to evolution proceeding. On the contrary when we compare humanity with a man we quite clearly see a growth of personality at the cost of essence, that is, a growth of the artificial, the unreal, and what is foreign, at the cost of the natural, the real, and what is one’s own…. Contemporary culture requires automatons. And people are undoubtedly losing their acquired habits of independence and turning into automatons, into parts of machines…. Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man.”

    So, to reconnect to the true skill, is to renew to our essence, to “believe” in that essence … which was what was shown to me in that … vision …

    And yes patience and not wanting to all at once understand it all … I had that vision some time ago but kept it deep in me until the moment … seems that it is coming … the Light …

    Love, Jojo.

  5. Jane says:

    Thanks for the enlightenment, this is exactly what I need.

  6. Talita says:

    Living is easy with eyes closed…
    Misunderstanding all you see…

    The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever

    Abraí§os Paulo!

    P.S.: I was really waiting for the strawberry to open its eyes! (SPOILER: it doesn’t lol)

    P.S.2: Did you know that the strawberry and the rose belong to the same family? I found out about it a couple of days ago:

    P.S.3: Ohhh wait… I think the strawberry/rose is actually making fun of blindfolded archers!

  7. Ron says:

    ‘When you want something, concentrate only on that: no one will ever hit a target they cannot see.’ I get it now, Whenever I concentrate, I seem to achieve or get what I want, no matter how impossible it seems. However, when I loose concentration, its like nothing makes sense, you have to be able to see the target, feel it, and make it part of you. As usual, an excellent piece.