Just an Arrow
The sun was about to set and the trees were doubling their shapes, extending their shadows before my weary feet. We slowed our forester walk down, and Larry stopped. I new this place. I couldn’t tell when or how, but I had been here before. Where did Larry brought me? He froze and turned his gaze back on me, inviting me to more discretion; a dear might be rambling there, or was it a dragging bear? Or maybe just another wizardry of his. He pointed out behind the bushes at a little field surrounded by oaks. It was as if the sun had not yet started to set there, the light was clear and bright. In the middle of the field was a standing square haystack, with a target hanged on its front side. I definitely new this place; I had seen this before…
Appeared 2 human shadows out of the woods, one shorter than the other. Larry and I took our hideout. The taller one approached the target, while the shorter one stood for a strike, he was apparently a kid. He bended his bow, aimed at the target, stopped and slowly turned his gaze towards us. A shiver took my whole spine; that was me looking at us. I was this kid in the field with his bow, many years ago, and the other one next to the target; my father. Larry looked at me intensely, urging me to watch closely.
'Throw it!!' yelled the father, with the target close to hand.
'You’re too close, move away!' replied the kid.
'I can do without your comments; just shoot!!'
'All right… Dodge this…!!'
The kid bended fully his bow with a doubtless aim, his position was strong and firm, the arrow seemed to be already into the bullseye. And something stopped, the movement stopped, maybe the time, even the trees around us appeared to have a time-out. The light changed; it all became much darker; The field faded out and a deep darkness surrounded me. It was pit black, I couldn’t see Larry anymore, even the ground disappeared to my sight, and maybe to my feet; I couldn’t feel it anymore. My body started to be moved from inside, like a travel into itself. I felt like falling. And I fell, without ever touching ground any, just falling, inside.
Then something cracked open in me, a space without any feeling, any sensation. It was still dark around, but the falling had stopped and something was there, before me. Took shape two shapes; a Lion and a dog, both magnificent, golden-light and silver-cloud, crawling slowly towards me, staring at my slightest move. I couldn’t… Move. My body had gone anyway and I was seized by their gaze; both the lion and the dog had an intensity I had never seen before; in their eyes was the whole power of Presence, somehow threatening. Though I knew this was certainly another sleight of hand from Larry, his trick this time had a particular taste of truth. As the animals almost had reached me, I heard a weird and deep guttural voice: “Do not fear. Choose.”
I must say, though I didn’t quite particularly have any taste of joking at that moment, I however could not take this voice seriously; it was a bit too much for me. So I had to be ironical - maybe a British root had revealed itself in me. Did I really have to choose between the lion and the dog? Like, seriously? Both were appearing mandatory and threatening; not that much appealing would you agree… And I was loath to be forced to do anything anyway, therefore I went “No, thank you” with a pride that would have intimidated Cyrano himself; I refused.
Well, yes I did refuse, to choose. That was a cute move, yet not that bright I would say. What happened then - and I had no idea what those lion and dog had to do with that, yet - what happened is that I found myself running through the field with a struck dumb open smile, holding the arrow like a spaceship toy flying before me, as fast as my legs could carry me to the target, hopefully sticking it heroically… Guess what? This is exactly what I had done twenty years ago, in this very same place with this very same choice.
Everything came back to my memory; at this moment I remembered why I had not released the arrow, I remembered that I was too afraid to kill my father if I had missed the target, I remembered that I didn’t have the courage to trust myself, and I also remembered that this occasion never happened again though I had been longing for my father to give me a second chance. Unfortunately he disappeared not long after this day in that little field, when he and I were so greatly together, honouring my 12 years old birthday. Maybe my father this day wanted me to become a man, maybe he was ready to hand down something important to me, maybe I was ready for that. Maybe not. I just had missed it a second time anyway, again, 20 years later…
What was it? What was this thing that I could have received twice only in 20 years that I missed apparently? Or could I say that I missed it actually? Oh yes, I could say so; I knew it better than anything else. I didn’t know why, I didn’t know what, but I knew I missed it, again. There were no escape; this was brutally honest and clear: even if the arrow was hammered in the bullseye, it had never truly reached it; I had failed, I had lied. I had lied to myself since 20 years, yet I didn’t even know about what precisely the lie was, and that was my whole disappointment: what was it that I had been hiding? What was it that I missed to acknowledge and claim?
The sun had passed away now, to the other side, and the darkened little field had vanished discretely. My body was back here, this I could testify, for it was sat into a puddle, well muddily accommodated.
'Just an arrow my friend' came Larry, sitting next to me - on a dry stone.
'Ow, yes… Sure. Thank you…'
I looked around if any leave would be large enough to wipe my butt, but it was already too dark for me in that tricky forest.
'What do you fear?'
'I don’t know Larry, I don’t know… Give me a break.'
'Is there anything here that you still clutch and hold on to?'
'My butt I guess!'
'You mean your “but”, yes, my ironic friend; your “but”. Indeed.'
'Is that another riddle Larry? Do I have to decipher another trick here?'
'You are the one who chooses to be tricked, no one else than yourself tricks you. The thing is you could choose to be the tricker instead, but you rather choose to be tricked.'
'That makes no sense.'
'Sure it doesn’t, yet you chose it.'
'Now; who is ironic here?'
'I love irony, what’s right about it…?'
'What’s RIGHT about it that you’re not getting?'
Here again he broke my focus. A different space opened. I had no definition to oppose, expose or impose. I was cooked enough and ready to listen. Weirdly enough, the ground became smoothy and warm, and without looking for it, I found a comfortable tree to lay my back on, just here, with an irrational ease. Even the moon offered a satisfactory beam of light.
'If you know how to play with mind, it will serve you well. Though mind doesn’t truly exist, it would become useful; it would become a temporary tool. You wouldn’t have to be the tool of “it” anymore, “it” would become your tool, for a while, until you worn totally the illusory invention that it is.'
'Would you mind repeating that for me?'
Larry bursted into laughter, and as he didn’t seem to be willing to stop, I couldn’t hold my seriousness anymore and joined him in one of the most freeing moments of my life. All my resistances collapsed, leaving me in a peaceful resolution on time, where neither past nor future could take me away. As my body was recovering its natural ease and lightness, Larry looked in the depth of my eyes…
'My dear friend, you get to trick mind, otherwise it will trick you.'
'How do I do that?'
'Throw it! Remember your father in the field? What else did he tell you? Nothing else; “Throw it.” That’s it. Throw your mind away; Choose! Choose where to put your attention on, and send it there!'
'Like an arrow huh?'
'Exactly. But not like an arrow to be followed! It’s not about what you think, it’s about where you throw your attention at.'
'And what’s the difference?'
'If mind is like an arrow: you get to throw it somewhere. It has to go in a target. What you have chosen tonight again (and since 20 years) is to hold on to the arrow, to grasp on it, not to throw it. That’s the whole point. Instead of bending the bow and releasing the arrow, you released the bow and brought the arrow! You kept the arrow in your hand and started running with it toward the target, until you marked your deceptive strike.'
'I know, I like to play, what's wrong about it?'
'You mean: what’s Right about it?'
We laughed again.
Larry stood up and started to look all around as if if was day time, with a playful attitude.
'What’s Right about it that you havent seen yet? Yes you can play with it, but what you’ve been doing until now is more being played than playing. You have been the object. Mind has been playing with you, but have you played with it?'
'I see… So what choice can I make here?'
'Good question! Ask yourself!'
'But what is it that I should get?'
'Wrong question! You are trying to get a result. You should be aiming at a possibility, not a result. You’re still thinking; you’re still holding the arrow in your hand and trying to find a good reason for it to be the right choice.'
'So what shall I do?'
'Throw it my goodness!!'
'Anywhere yes! Put your attention on something, anything, and throw it, release it, let it go. As long as you trow it, it’s okay, you’re safe, and you can throw it again and again on any other target, even right after. You have infinite arrows and there are infinite targets, moving targets, changing possibilities all around, infinite possibilities! But if you keep the arrow in hand, if you keep thinking about what you have once put your attention on, you’ll die with it, and maybe you’ll even die for it.'
'What if I miss the target?'
'You can’t. You cannot miss the target; that’s where you fooled yourself when your father was standing next to the haystack. He was offering you one of the most wonderful discoveries of your abilities, that you can still acknowledge now: you can’t miss. You can release mind on anything you put your attention on, it will strike it just fine! And it will get you free of that thing which you could have stuck your attention on. Then what you start to do is that you use it to your advantage rather than carrying it as a milestone around your neck.'
'I don’t think I get it…'
'You know you get it, precisely because you don’t think of it.'
He opened his little bag, dived his hand in it and took it out in a second. Something round was in his hand. He considered it very preciously, took a while more to look at it dearly, and handed it to me. I thought it was a kind of treasure, something that would solve my doubts; one of his tricks…
'Eat that apple please.'
'Ow… Ok, thanks.'
As I was having it with a particular precaution - you never know what can come out of anything Larry gives you - my body relaxed even more. I couldn’t stop eating that apple, I don’t know how long it took, it seemed an hour to me, I couldn’t think of anything, I was just enjoying it and my body was having more and more pleasure. It seemed this apple would never get to an end.
But Larry interrupted me:
'What do you think?'
'I don’t know. Thank you for the apple.'
'What do you know...?'
We laughed again…
I started to have a taste of the growing complicity in between us. I left the apple and looked at him. He was smiling like a shiny clear river on the sun, the night didn’t seem to touch him. I then had an awareness.
'Have I just thrown the arrow ?'
'Yes you did, and did well.'
'It was like having no thoughts.'
'I know, better to hold an apple than an arrow hey?'
'Ow yes! So if thinking of something means carrying the arrow, then if I throw the arrow I can’t think about anything anymore!'
'True. That is where you access knowing instead of thinking. You become present, thousand times quicker and accurate. And from there you know where you’re going.'
'Are you saying that I can know where I’m going without thinking of it?'
'Precisely; you know that you’re going where you choose to; you know what energy and taste it has for you, and how it will be to get there, you taste it already yet you cannot see it, or name it or define it.'
'I get it. I don’t follow mind, I choose, and that releases me from mind!'
'Yes. Thinking is following. Choosing is unfollowing. If you aim at a target but you let go of the bow instead of letting go of the arrow, you have to bring the arrow yourself to the target. That’s where you become the object of mind. You follow mind. You believe that you bring the arrow but in fact you follow it; that’s the arrow that brings you there, like a dog held by a strict leash. You hold on to the mind-arrow as if you were glued to it; then you become it.'
He threw his space into my gaze. I couldn't find time anywhere.
'If you think, you don’t throw anything at the target but you. Then you’re stuck in it. Being stuck in this target, how many other targets do you miss? You see; mind have been your owner, it have owned you, and you have obeyed. You have been running with the arrow in your hands, forcing it into the target, like a dog with a stick in the mouth, bringing it back to the owner and being so proud of it. Do you have enough of that silly game now? Would you still run after the stick and bring it back, or would you turn back with intimidation to the sender and approach him with an irresistible question? What if you were a roaring lion, rather than a barking dog? This different game sounds more fun, don’t you think?'
'Yes it does.'
'Larry, do you think we will eventually find mind and unthrone it?'
'I don’t think there's anything to find my friend, but I know we will get the throne.'
(an extract from The Mind-Tricker®)