The story is told of great men in the middle ages who were called archers. Their weapon of choice was the long bow. It was made of one long straight piece of wood that was very strong and resilient, so they could shoot arrows long distances.
Every night the archers had a ritual of taking care of the bow in order to have their bow working for them when they needed it. They would un-string the bow and wax it down, making sure it stood tall and straight.
Then just before going into battle they would string their bow, thus placing tension on the string. BUT, if they were to leave the bow strung, after a couple of days the bow was bent out of shape having no strength. These archers learned how important it was to take the tension off the bow so it would be strong and able to send arrows flying when they needed it.
This is exactly what happens to us. If we keep thinking, worrying, striving, moving, all the time, after a while we get out of shape, we become sprung, fatigued and we are not able to work the way we want or need.
Sometimes we go to bed with problems and worry about them all night long. In the morning, we find we have no strength to implement any ideas that might have come to us during the night.
At other times we keep working relentlessly on one project until there is an answer…thinking that pushing ourselves is going to make us more creative. But when we finally relax we become even more creative and more productive.
So, what are you doing to “un-string your bow?” How do you stop thinking for a while? Each of us needs to find out what works for us. For me, it is meditation while I walk. For you it might be yoga, Tai Chi, swimming, running, working out in the gym, music or videos. What is important is that you let you mind be quiet. The aim is to allow our brains to rest and so restore our balance on the inside.
Chaplain Ian Whitley