Living for nothing

There’s a lovely saying of Tranxu, a great Chinese sage, that I took the trouble to learn by heart.

It goes like this:

When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more of winning than of shooting, and the need to win drains him of power.

Isn’t that an image of how most people are and why they become stressed when challenged?

When you’re living for nothing, you’ve got all your skills, you’ve got all your energy, you’re relaxed, you don’t care, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.

from Awareness by Anthony DeMello