A Taoist story
There once was a farmer who lived outside a small village. He cared for his son whom he loved dearly, and his horse who helped plow the fields. One day his beautiful horse ran away.
His neighbors gathered saying, “We are so sorry your horse ran away! That is such bad luck!” The farmer calmly replied, “We’ll see.”
After a few days, the horse returned with two wild horses. The neighborhood cheered, for they believed this to be very good luck. “This is wonderful! What great fortune!” The farmer calmly replied, “We’ll see.”
The following week, intending to train the new arrival to work the fields, the farmer’s beloved son mounted one of the wild horses. It jumped, bucked, and soon the young man was thrown. He landed on the hard ground breaking his leg. Of course the neighborhood collectively sighed and lamented, “This is terrible! Your poor son! This is such a bad thing to happen.” Again the farmer calmly replied, “We’ll see.”
The new week arrived and the son was in bed with his broken leg up on a pillow. The farmer, out in his field noticed soldiers were going from farm to farm, gathering young men to fight in the war. When they arrived at his home, they passed over his son because of his broken leg. The neighbors and once again exclaimed the farmer’s good fortune, “This is so good for you!”
The farmer calmly replied, “We’ll see.”
Much of our stress can be found in our expectation of how things “should be” and judging events to be “good” or “bad.” When we resist the painful parts of life, we increase our suffering. What would it look like to suspend judgment of that which brings discomfort? Accepting (vs. resisting) “what is” allows us to stay in the present moment instead of the anxious future. It doesn’t change the outside event. It does change how we experience it.
Try on the farmer’s mantra this week. When you experience events you would normally label good or bad, take a deep breath and release the habit of judgment.
Watching with curiosity together,