❝ The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.❞
The past few weeks have not gone according to plan, at least not the one I had envisioned. Thousands of ‘what ifs’ have bombarded my mind, and none of them plays out exactly ‘right’; there’s always a possible twist or turn leading in different directions.
My best friend reminded me of ‘The Chinese Farmer Story’ (or ‘The Maybe Story’). It’s so easy to think in binary terms—this OR that—but life is hardly binary. As much as I think ‘this sucks’, there’s something far more true in response, ‘maybe, maybe not’. The sensation in my body is the invitation to be malleable rather than rigid.
❝ The Chinese Farmer Story
Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.”
The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”
The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.”
The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”❞
I see three very clear lessons.
1. Move smoothly, in concert with life. I’ve tried for years to foster this but thanks to a recent encounter with a Hawaiian Green sea turtle (HI: honu) during one of my swims, there’s new awareness. For me, the honu moves gracefully, smoothly in harmony with his environment—‘holo mālie’—providing a clear example to follow.
2. The value of human connection. I have so much more to learn on this front, even though I’ve come a long way from the stubborn lone wolf who tried to do everything on his own. It would be tremendously loving to make this much more of a priority in my life. Authentic connection definitely benefits everyone and all life.
Iñaki de la Parra recently published a piece on Medium entitled ‘There is always a new beginning’ that resonates deeply with these two lessons. He reminds me that there are other perspectives outside my myopic hamster wheel. “Recall that every day is day no. 1.“
3. The relative mind creates urges and plans out of imagination. In a way, this is the overarching lesson that includes all others. My job is to realise the craving for results, look beyond and see that my suffering is a result of identifying myself with the world.
❝ M: Ultimately there is no inner, nor outer; the light of consciousness is both the creator and the creature, the experiencer and the experience, the body and the embodied. Take care of the power that projects all this and your problems will come to an end.
Q: Which is the projecting power?
M: It is imagination prompted by desire.
Q: What is wrong with purposeful action?
M: It does not apply. In these matters there is no question of purpose, nor of action. All you need is to listen, remember, ponder. It is like taking food. All you can do is to bite off, chew and swallow. All else is unconscious and automatic. Listen, remember and understand — the mind is both the actor and the stage. All is of the mind and you are not the mind. The mind is born and reborn, not you. The mind creates the world and all the wonderful variety of it.
…Don’t identify yourself with the world and you will not suffer.❞
~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That
✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏
This is my personal journey—a soulful sojourn in which I share musings arising in and from self-inquiry. I don’t always go into all the characterising details; To me, such minutiae carry more value when explored as pointers in investigation occurring in both silence and when teased out through vulnerable conversation. The purpose is to share some insights that may resonate for you in your own journey.