The king ordered his sons to accompany him, with bows and arrows, on a ride into the country. Pausing at a spot beside the road near an open field, the king pointed out a vulture sitting on a tree limb, within easy bow shot.
“I wish you to shoot at that vulture,” said the king to his eldest son. “But tell me first, what do you see?”
Wonderingly, the prince replied, “Why, I see grass, the clouds, the sky, the river, a tree, and….”
“Enough!” said the king, and beckoned the second son to make ready to shoot. The latter was about to do so when his father again said, “Tell me first, what do you see?”
“Ah, I see the horses, the ground, a field of wheat, and an old dead tree with a vulture on it,” answered the youth.
“Never mind shooting it,” the king said, and turning to his youngest son, ordered him to hit the vulture, and again repeated the question, “First, what do you see?”
The youth replied deliberately, not taking his gaze for an instant from his intended victim as he drew taut the bowstring and aimed the shaft, “I see,” he said, “the point where the wings join the body….” And the young man let fly the arrow and the bird tumbled to the ground.
The third son became the king.
The kingdom belongs to those who can work in a concentrated way – and the kingdom of the within, more so. The way of moving in life with a direction – with a goal, with a clearcut vision – crystallizes your energies. The goal is just an excuse. The direction is just a device.
Ordinarily you are scattered all over the place – one part going in this direction, another part going in another direction. Ordinarily you are many, a mob, and each fragment of your being is constantly contradicting the other fragment. How can you achieve anything in life? How can you feel fulfilled? If misery becomes your whole story, and if life proves to be nothing but a tragedy, there is no need to wonder. Except you, nobody else is responsible.
You have an inexhaustible source of energy, but even that can be wasted. If your fragments are in a kind of civil war you will not achieve anything worthwhile – to say nothing about God, to say nothing about truth. You will not achieve anything worthwhile, because all realization, either of the without or of the within, needs one thing absolutely: that you be one – so that your whole energy can pour into your work, so that your whole energy can become a quest.