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Chapter 19: Truth Is Nobody’s Monopoly

The master said, “Grounding means you become almost part of the earth and allow the gravitation to flow in you, to flood you - particularly below the navel, two inches below to be exact. The gravitation comes from all around, and settles two inches below your navel.”

But Herrigel asked, “What has it to do with archery? I have to concentrate on the target.” The master said, “Forget about the target, first be grounded. And when you shoot your arrow, be relaxed, so that that gravitation shoots it, not you.”

He said, “You are making strange statements. I will have to shoot, how can the gravitation shoot it?”

Three years and he never missed a single target; he was a master archer. But his master would say, “No, you have still missed. I am not watching your target - who cares about your target? I am watching you; you are the target.”

And why two inches below the navel? That is the center of life. It was from there you were connected with your mother. It was from there that for nine months you were supplied with everything that you needed, and you didn’t have to do anything, you were simply relaxed.

Grounding means, bringing this life center within you in contact with the gravitational force, so that the gravitational force starts filling it. And a moment comes when you don’t shoot at the target. Certainly you aim, but it is as if the arrow shoots itself. The gravitational force is enough to take it to the target.

Three years, and a German mind.. Finally Herrigel gave up. He said, “You are driving me crazy. Day and night I am thinking about how to do it.” And the master said, “That’s what I have been telling you. Don’t think about how to do it, let it happen. Just have enough energy so it happens.”

Finally he decided to go back. Three years are enough, and not even a single time had the master said, “Good.” He always said, “You missed again.” Every day Herrigel would come and every day he would be a failure. He told the master, “I am sorry, but I could not get the point. And tomorrow I am leaving, so tomorrow I will come to say good-bye.”

Next day he came. The master was teaching another disciple, and Herrigel was sitting on the bench, simply watching, because it was not his business, he was finished with it. If he cannot get it in three years, he cannot get it in three lives. It is beyond any logic, what the master is saying.

So he was sitting relaxed, watching - watching the master because the master was showing the new disciple. And suddenly he saw the point. The master was so relaxed, it was not his hands which were shooting the arrow; it was so clear that some inner force was at work. Spontaneously he stood up, went to the master, took the bow and arrow and shot the arrow.

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