October 27, 2011
[I'm just going to keep posting sections from Mastery on my blog. I love books that keep growing on me. I love it when my first impressions are wrong. Unexpected gifts are that much sweeter!]
An excerpt from Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard:
Good Horse, Bad Horse
In his book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki
approaches the question of fast and slow learners in terms of horses.
"In our scriptures, it is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones,
good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right
and left, at the driver's will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second
best will run as well as the first one, just before the whip reaches its skin;
the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after
the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it
is for the fourth one to learn to run.
"When we hear this story, almost all of us want to be the best horse. If it is
impossible to be the best one, we want to be the second best." But this is a
mistake, Master Suzuki says. When you learn too easily, you're tempted not to
work hard, not to penetrate to the marrow of a practice.
"If you study calligraphy, you will find that those who are not so clever
usually become the best calligraphers. Those who are very clever with their
hands often encounter great difficulty after they have reached a certain stage.
This is also true in art, and in life." The best horse, according to Suzuki,
may be the worst horse. And the worst horse can be the best, for if it
perseveres, it will have learned whatever it is practicing all the way to the
marrow of its bones.
Full text at: http://free.yudu.com/item/details/53403/Mastery---The-Keys-To-Success-And-Long-Term-Fulfillment---George-Leonard.pdf