Reflections #3: Good, Bad, Who Knows?

Newly in this country, I met this amazing wise man, a shaman, who, among many valuable things, shared this story. I have found the story from this site and decided to share with you this week.

There is a story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields.

One day, the horse escaped into the hills. When the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills. This time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this was very bad luck. The farmer’s reaction: “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off.

Was that Good luck or Bad luck? Who knows!

20, or 30 years later 😊, I am reflecting on this story’s lesson, and how it aligns with yogic teachings. Yoga teaches to be neutral to the occurrences of our lives. A lot easier said than done!

I understand I reap what I sow, to quote the bible. I, the soul, yoga teaches, has lived in many forms for uncountable lifetimes. I have committed infinite actions, and thank God I do not remember them all! I also understand, all my actions produce an equal opposite reactions, to quote Newton’s Third Law of Thermodynamics (also the law of Karma, or action…?) Thus, in the present I am collecting only the results – good, bad, who knows?

Many times, I find myself in situations I do not understand why. I get frustrated, frequently angry, and possibly desperate. Then, I remember: these are lessons so I can progress spiritually; meaning becoming a (more) loving person. And, then my mind revolts again! Bunkers! The same lessons keep coming back in different forms if I have not learned them yet. I mostly get lost in trying to understand the “why me?” This is my ego (false identity with this body) responding, not my loving self. Maybe if I could get past the reaction, and focus on the lesson…

As events happen in my life, I engage my mind in the reaction, and it only attaches me to the event, rather than the lesson behind the event. Not long ago, I was at the grocery store, unconsciously blocking another person’s way as I was reaching into a shelf. As soon as I noticed, I let her pass and heard a (micro) aggressive comment under her breath towards me. I went on shopping. In the back of my head, I was looking for her and thinking of a “smart” (i.e., angry) come back. I carried her all the way back with my groceries home. I got lost in the fear-based reaction, rather than a loving response. I do not know if in a previous life I may have been rude to this or another person (ok, maybe this life, I can think of a “couple instances”). And nothing she said about me is not true, or has, at one point been not true.

Surrendering, with Love, is the most strengthening action for my spiritual life. Yeah, people might consider it weak, or judge me for not “standing up for myself”. Who and what is there to gain from standing up? It is not my responsibility to teach anyone. It is not my duty to show I am good or gain respect. It is only my ability to respond (response-ability) with love what matters in a spiritual life. I can change my perception and reaction to the environment, described as a miracle, a shift. A change of my expectation, a change of my mind, softening of my heart. This might be true courage…

As my intention, not my expectation, is to be good, not to “act good.” Spiritual matters are not material matters. I, like the farmer, want to mindfully engage in the action, not the reaction, which can be good, bad, who knows? My intention is to consciously start walking towards Love. The path is simple, not easy. The path is internal, not external. Surrendering, lovingly; the path might require understanding and welcoming obstacles as reminders of humility. Really listening to our Self. There are only 2 rules: remember, and never forget.

There is Love, and there is maya.

The way to return to Divine Love is everyone’s nature.