Updated: Apr 17
There is an ancient Zen tale telling the story of a wise farmer, whose horse managed somehow to escape his property during a stormy night.
Upon hearing the news, all the villagers immediately approached the old man to convey their regret, to which he replied: "who knows what is good and what is bad."
Some time later, when the horse unexpectedly returned accompanied by other wild horses, the same people went to visit and congratulate the old man for his new fortune, whereat he simply replied: "who knows what is good and what is bad."
That same afternoon, the son of the farmer, a young and strong boy, took on the task of taming the wild horses but one of them rose up against him breaking both of his legs. In that moment, the whole town got worried about the man's fate since his son was his only support and so they all offered, once again, their deep regrets, to which the wise farmer replied: “who knows what is good and what is bad. “
When, one day, the king's delegates arrived in the village to recruit soldiers for war, they took all the young men except the son of the sage because of his disability. Just like the previous times, the villagers addressed the old man to tell him how lucky he had been, whereat he replied again: "who knows what is good and what is bad."
I love this tale.
It has been of great value in my life, especially in those moments when things seemed to go "wrong" or not as I expected them to be. This story not only invites us to consider a single event as a part of the entire arc of our life, but also to widen our perspective on what we consider to be "good" or "bad."
How many times has it happened to you to look back and realize that your greatest pains or losses have actually been the best gifts of your life? Or that if you had obtained everything you wanted you would not be the person you are at this moment? That in reality your "bad" moments have forged your will, your desire to seek and get ahead and above all they have been your greatest teachers on this Life journey?
If we see each pain, sadness and loss with these new eyes, we realize that they have not been in vain; and that they have been very precious in our awakening process.
When we transcend the duality of what we perceive as "good" or "bad", we are able to see the gift of each situation, the "perfection of the whole".
I invite you to the following reflection:
- think of an event in your life (past or present) that bothers you, distresses you or causes you pain;
- ask yourself: “what is it teaching me?”;
- from your new learning and empowerment, see if you are able to reframe the story, to consider it from a space of deep gratitude and see how you feel