How many times do we think there is a right way for things to be? If life is a certain way we’ll be okay? Here’s a Chinese proverb that challenges that idea.
A Chinese farmer has a horse; his neighbor comes over to visit and exclaims, Oh, how fortunate that you have a horse!” The Chinese farmer noncommittally says, “We’ll see.”
The next day the horse runs away. The neighbor comes over to offer his sympathy. “Oh, how unfortunate that you’ve lost your horse.” The Chinese farmer again says noncommittally, “We’ll see.”
The next day the horse returns to the farmer, bringing a new mare with him. The neighbor rushes over to congratulate the farmer. “Oh, how fortunate! Now you have two horses!” The Chinese farmer replies as before, “We’ll see.”
The next day the farmer’s son is out riding the mare to break it in; the mare throws him and he breaks his leg. The neighbor comes over as before, “Oh, how unfortunate. Your son has broken his leg!” The Chinese farmer replies, “We’ll see.”
A month later the army comes through the area recruiting soldiers. They can’t accept the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. The neighbor again comes over to sympathize, “Oh, how fortunate! Your son doesn’t have to go into the army!” The Chinese farmer again replies, “We’ll see.”
I’m familiar with ways I’ve wanted to control the outcome of events so that everything comes out perfect. Working hard and getting everything “just right.” Being very careful to say the “right” thing. Being a “good girl” in general.
I’ve felt relief as each marker is met to perfection. Then onto the next task that needs controlling and accomplishing. Not really trusting the perfection of things.
I believe this pattern of behavior harkens back to not feeling safe and accepted, just as we were, as children. Instead we effort to make things come out “just right” not “badly” as in the parable. Then we’ll be okay for the moment.
One day a few weeks ago my teenage son was angry and yelling at me. Sometimes I might be angry back. This time I was overcome with the preciousness of the moment. A surreal moment in time. Where everything was palpably perfect without judgment and precious just as it was.
For me, this surreal experience is more the truth of reality than our pattern of controlling/feeling relief/controlling/…
Wouldn’t it be delightful to know, in our cells, that our essential nature is simply perfect – without any efforting to earn it – just being ourselves?
In peace and love, Teresa