A wise farmer and son had only one horse to plow the fields.
One day, the horse escaped and disappeared into the woods. When the neighbouring villagers tried to console the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows!”
Days later, the horse returned with a herd of 12 wild horses. This time the villagers also came back to congratulate the farmer on his good luck. His reply was “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
The next day, while trying to train the wild horses to till the farm, the farmer’s son fell off a horse's back and broke his leg. The villagers once again thought this was very bad luck but again the farmer replied: “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later, the king’s army marched into the village and enlisted every able-bodied youth they could find. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they left him.
The villagers returned rejoicing and congratulating the farmer’s good luck but again the farmer replied: “Good luck ? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Source: Chinese Zen Fable
This feels quite counter to the way we go about life. Doesn’t it?
We have a tendency to judge and classify whatever comes our way as good or bad.
So, when things go according to plan, we celebrate and try to hold on to them. And when they don’t, we feel sad, angry, and want to go back to the way things were before.
This is a form of attachment, which in most ancient wisdom traditions is considered one of the main causes of suffering.
Reality simply IS. It's us who assign value to the events in our lives, based on beliefs, thoughts and expectations of how life should go. The truth is we do not really know what each moment will lead to. Yet another reminder of the forever changing nature of life.
I’m sure you had experiences in your life where something seemed bad at first yet led to something wonderful. And likewise, maybe good things that ended up not serving you so well?
Last year, I was informed that the role I so much enjoyed could not continue as such. I felt a mix of sadness, anger and overwhelming fear. What a bad luck!
Was it, though?
I recently started walking my first steps as an entrepreneur. My context changed, but my work remained the same: helping others to reconnect with themselves and be their best version.
What I do know - and will be topic for another post - is the importance of knowing who you are, what you stand for, and what impact you want to make in the world. This is what really matters when things seem to go south.
Can we let go of our need to control the blueprint of how our lives should look like?
Here’s my challenge for you today: Can you find 1 or 2 things going on in you right now, and take the farmer’s perspective? How does this shift feel like?
I’ve learned not to make assumptions, but I’d bet that there is an underlying sense of ease.
Please share this post if it resonated with you with whoever might be needing to read these words today.
Let me know your thoughts and please feel free to reach out to me if I can help you in any way.