Good or Bad, Who Knows

There once was an old Zen farmer. Every day, the farmer used his horse to help work his fields and keep his farm healthy.

But one day, the horse ran away. All the villagers came by and said, “We're so sorry to hear this. This is such bad luck.” 

But the farmer responded, “Bad luck. Good luck. Who knows?”

The villagers were confused, but decided to ignore him. A few weeks went by and then one afternoon, while the farmer was working outside, he looked up and saw his horse running toward him. But the horse was not alone. The horse was returning to him with a whole herd of horses. So now the farmer had 10 horses to help work his fields.

All the villagers came by to congratulate the farmer and said, “Wow! This is such good luck!”

But the farmer responded, “Good luck. Bad luck. Who knows?

A few weeks later, the farmer's son came over to visit and help his father work on the farm. While trying to tame one of the horses, the farmer’s son fell and broke his leg. 

The villagers came by to commiserate and said, “How awful. This is such bad luck.” 

Just as he did the first time, the farmer responded, “Bad luck. Good luck. Who knows?” 

A month later, the farmer’s son was still recovering. He wasn’t able to walk or do any manual labor to help his father around the farm. 

A regiment of the army came marching through town conscripting every able-bodied young man to join them. When the regiment came to the farmer’s house and saw the young boy's broken leg, they marched past and left him where he lay.

Of course, all the villagers came by and said, “Amazing! This is such good luck. You're so fortunate.”

And you know what the farmer replied?

“Good luck. Bad luck. Who knows?”


This story always touches me because it reminds me that duality exists within the mind only. We think in terms of good bad, right wrong, light dark and it is so because we are human beings living in a dualistic world generated by the mind. The mind can make fantastic stories from what is happening. 

But to live only in the mind and it's stories is to live only in duality. 

When we move beyond mind we meet our essential nature as oneness and non-dual consciousness. There is only what is happening. No story. No right, wrong, good, bad. It is what it is.

To be with WHAT IS, without attachment and aversion is freedom. Liberation.

We realise that there is no separation and duality. There is only now. And even that is not an accurate a description. But it is a reminder that we can live in the vastness of the heart of consciousness itself when we move beyond the mind's version of reality.

Our practice of yoga helps us to move beyond dualistic thinking and be with what's happening moment to moment.

Sounds, breath, thought, feeling, trees, sitting, walking, eating ...... 

With love & gratitude,

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