My friend Bob tells the story of the Chinaman who lived as a sharecropping farmer. He had one horse, which in his town, made him a bit wealthier than his neighbors. But still almost all of what he grew went to the landlord. He and his one son tilled the earth day after day.
One day, the horse ran away. The neighbors all came to him to say, “We’re sorry – it’s so terrible that your horse ran away.” To which the farmer replied, “It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is.”
A few days later, the horse returned back to the farm, bringing five wild horses, making the farmer the richest man in the village. The villagers all came to him to say, “It’s so wonderful that the horse came home. You’re so rich now!” To which the farmer replied, “It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is.”
The next day, as the son was riding the wild horse, trying to break it in. The horse threw the boy, and his legs were mangled and broken. The villagers all came to comfort the farmer saying, “It’s terrible what happened to you son.” To which the farmer replied, “It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is.”
The Chinese army came riding through the town that week, conscripting all able bodied boys into the army to fight a war they’d never return home from. Because the boy had been injured, he could not go off to battle.
When events happen, which we perceive to be negative, we have to remember to withhold judgment until we have further information. We may never understand why something happens to us. That answer is beyond our human understanding and comprehension. However, our judgment of a particular event and how we react or respond to is, is in our control.
How can we respond?
- When we can pause before judging something that happens to us and say, “It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is.”
- We are not as likely to get caught up in the negativity that accompanies our reaction.
- If we can wait to judge an experience, we will have perspective.
- We can understand something had a reason it happened. Even if we don’t get to know it in this life
And even if we didn’t like the way it manifested in our lives, we don’t have to be defined by the event. It can be neutralized and “it just is.” And then we can be free from the negative emotions that come from our judgment.
Do you have something you viewed as negative, that you later realized wasn’t what you thought?