Sunday, February 17, 2008

Accepting things the way they are

In the Zen tradition, they tell the story of a poor farmer who lost his only horse. His friends and neighbors bemoaned his plight, but he seemed unperturbed. “We’ll see,” he said with an enigmatic smile.

Several days later, his horse returned with a pack of five wild stallions that had joined it along the way. His neighbors rejoiced in his good fortune, but he did not appear to be excited. “We’ll see,” he said again.

The following week, while attempting to ride and tame one of the stallions, his beloved, only son fell and broke his leg. The ever-solicitous neighbors were beside themselves with grief, but the farmer, though he comforted and cared for the boy, did not seem to be concerned about the future. “We’ll see,” he mused.

At the end of the month, the local warlord arrived in the farmer’s village to conscript all the healthy young men to fight in the latest campaign. But the farmer’s son . . . well, you can imagine the rest of the story.

In case you hadn’t noticed, life’s a roller-coaster ride, and you can’t control the ups and downs. If you want to hold on to your lunch — and your sanity — you need to learn how to maintain your peace of mind.

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