The wrestler was once more solid than a bull.
He loved to flex enormous, oiled forearms
Before he delightedly vanquished foes.Pro
But now, brittle skin is taught over bone,
And his wheeze is a ghost of his manly bellow.
At any point in life, it is prudent to contemplate the nature of
prowess. If you have it, glory in it, and use it wisely and
compassionately. But you should not think that it is you yourself who
are doing these things. You are borrowing this strength. It isn't yours.
It is a gift, something here for you for as long as you are lucky to
have it. Once it passes, you will not have the victories, and you will
be stuck with the same body and mind. When you have been humbled, what
is gone? You are still here, here to feel the pain of not being able to
do what you were once able to do -- unless you learn how to exercise
your prowess without identifying with it.
Those who fail to learn this become bitter old people. They curse
life. They lose faith. That is because they placed all their self-worth
in their abilities and not in who they were. That is why it is good to
meditate, and to accumulate not victories but the experience of those
victories. Savor them. No one can ever take that away from you.
It is the experiences that come out of prowess, not prowess itself,
that are valuable.
365 Tao: Daily Meditations