You would have liked a “good” thing to happen, but instead you were presented with a “bad” thing.
Although we make superficial judgments of “good” and “bad” all day long, those judgments include a variety of assumptions.
Should you have an emotional reaction based on your view of what’s good or bad, right or wrong?
Do you know what’s good or bad, and which category contains your own actions?
Here’s one of my favorite stories from the Huai-Nan Tzu that I read or think about daily:
A poor farmer’s horse ran off into the country of the barbarians. All of his neighbors offered their condolences, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t good fortune?”
After a few months the horse returned with a barbarian horse of excellent stock. All his neighbors offered their congratulations, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t a disaster?”
The two horses bred, and the family became rich in fine horses. The farmer’s son spent much of his time riding them; one day he fell off and broke his hipbone. All his neighbors offered the farmer their condolences, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t good fortune?”
Another year passed, and the barbarians invaded the frontier. All the able-bodied young men were conscripted, and nine-tenths of them died in the war.
Thus good fortune can be disaster and vice versa. Who can tell how events will be transformed?
Put simply: you don’t know.
Life unfolds independent of your impulse to label and control.
Rather than denying, ignoring, or belittling the pain that you encounter, you can monitor your actions caused by bruised feelings.
If your judgments of good and bad create turmoil and confusion, can you evaluate those judgments to seek clarity?
Peace is a choice, not an entitlement.
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