A 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 instead motioned the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old man’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 faraway 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 safe ground.
Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step onto the log, still 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”.
The human mind is very powerful and smart. It has the power to keep us under check by constantly guiding us on what is right and what is risky to keep us safe.
If you don’t believe me, try walking towards a fire. Your mind’s alarm will be triggered, reminding you that hot means danger. It will remind you of what happened when you last touched something hot, how someone you knew met fire accident, and so on.
While that’s great, if left unchecked, the mind can easily overpower us causing anxiety, fear or sadness.
You have two choices, to control your mind or to let your mind control you. Our minds can be our best friends and our worst enemies; best friend when we are able to control it and the worst enemy when it controls us.
Self-control is strength, right thought is mastery, calmness is power. Stress, anxiety, anger, fear and frustration are the natural by-products of problems.
Being mindful of the situation can help you calm down and take charge.
What consumes your mind, controls your life: When under stressful try disengaging yourself from the situation, think clearly about what the most appropriate course of action is and act on it.
If you don’t control your thoughts, you will never learn to control your behaviour: When you keep your thoughts positive, your words become positive, and when your words are positive, your behaviour becomes positive.
A happy mind is happy life: happiness in life is not something you can always find, it is something you can always create. It is something you need to create for yourself.