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The Need To Win

from The Way of Chuang Tzu [xix,4], Thomas Merton Translation

When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
Or sees two targets-
He 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.  




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Last modified: July 11, 2004
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