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P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Friday, May 25, 2007

To Become a Seven, BE a Seven

In the early afternoon of yesterday,
as I was preparing myself mentally for
another APA team 8-ball match,
I was struck with this simple thought:
"To Become a Seven, BE a Seven."

The "Seven" of which I speak
is the highest skill level for APA 8-ball.
Currently, my skill level is six.

It is easy for non-Sevens to see Sevens as
high-priests of pool, exalted beings
who perform magical feats with ease.
Achieving the remote pinnacle of Seven-dom
seems to be almost hypocracy, unthinkable,
or at least, earned only after a lifetime of effort.

Or is it?
The Zen approach puts the Seven within all,
waiting patiently for us to see it, believe it,
and let it blossom.

This, then, was my thought of yesterday afternoon.

It is easy to see a goal as beyond our grasp.
This is a Western way of thinking.
Work hard to earn what we want, over Time.
Eastern philosophy speaks of a different way:
that we need not pursue happiness, because
we are already happy,
or, priorly established in that which is
Happiness Itself.

It was a beautiful day when I learned that,
many years ago.
And yesterday afternoon I relearned it,
as it applies to pool, and Seven-dom.

So, instead of putting the achievement of Seven
outside of myself,
something that I was NOT YET,
I allowed myself to think that I am already Seven,
and that in order to become a Seven,
I simply allow myself to BE Seven-like.
To think, act, move, talk and feel like a Seven.

Last night I won my match, 5-1.
(vs. Richie R., skill level 6)
This is the same score as last week,
and, like last week, the only loss
was self-inflicted.
I knocked the 8 in early, on a miscue.

This means that in my last two matches,
my opponents have earned exactly zero games.
I would love for that to continue!

And yet, I was not pleased with my performance.
Will I ever be?
Will "Seven" ever be enough?
For that answer, I am reminded of
the words of San Juan de la Cruz
which first struck me so hard when I first
read them in the preface to
Carlos Casteneda's "Journey to Ixtlan":

The conditions of a solitary bird are five:
The first, that it flies to the highest point;
The second, that it does not suffer for company,
not even of its own kind;
The third, that it aims its beak to the skies;
The fourth, that it does not have a definite color;
The fifth, that it sings very softly.

It was 25 years ago my then-girlfriend
presented me with these words
which she lovingly penned in calligraphy
on parchment, and mounted for display.
She knew then the answers
to the questions I have had many times since.

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