An old Zen story once was told about using the terms “good” or “bad” to judge situations and events as they happen to us. Perhaps you’ve heard it before. The story is about a farmer who’s horse ran away. When the neighbors heard the news, they said, “Such bad luck!” whereas the farmer replied, “maybe.” The next day, the horse returned with three more wild horses, and the neighbors once again exclaimed, “How wonderful!”, and the farmer again said, “maybe.” The following day, the farmers son rode one of the wild horses and was thrown off and broke his leg. The neighbors said, “How unfortunate!” and the farmer’s response was “maybe.” Finally, the day after, the military was passing through to draft young men to the army. The farmer’s son couldn’t go, in which the neighbors rejoiced and said, “How fortunate”, and the farmer finally said, “maybe!”
Easier said than done. If you really lost your job tomorrow, could you truly be at peace with it? I think it is crucial for our evolution to stop labeling events that happen to us as good or bad, and instead take on a neutral attitude. Life is all about perspective. By expanding our understanding of this universe on Earth, in which we call home, perhaps we can see that our day-to-day interactions are a mirror of who we are and how the universal laws are evident in us too. Everything is connected. How we treat ourselves is how we treat others. Our attitude about what we are capable of is a direct reflection of our hope for humanity. I invite you to watch Neal Degrasse Tyson in this short video that truly did, astound me.
One way to elevate our consciousness is to dive into beginning to understand more about the universe we live in. It is easy and very natural from a young age to only interpret the data we collect from our five senses and then formulate beliefs based on those perceptions as to what is real and fake. Besides our five senses, we are conditioned by our environment just as significantly, as to what is true, real, fake, and important, and the messages are very vague, shaky, and unclear. From a young age we are taught to obey authority in school, and in our family structure, we learn the same unconscious limitations that are bestowed upon us. As we grow up to be an adult, we start to get glimpses or shimmers of the truth, but we are still unsure. I believe that it is not only important, but perhaps essential that we begin to question our existence, something that mass media is amazing at distracting us from. They are solid at tuning in to the ego side of us that feeds into illusions and our five sensory perceptions of what is real, and then they belittle, criticize or ostracize anyone that wants to go a little deeper or question things. I think the paradigm needs to change and perhaps it is shifting. We used to look to our elderly folks and sages for their wisdom about how to live more fulfilling lives, and today we are seeing the shift from wisdom to stupidity, glamorizing and exploiting youth. Ultimately, I believe this is happening for a reason, but I want to promote that we can change the world, by being the change we wish to see, as Gandhi best said it. There is only so much we can control “out there” and so it is only wise to change “in here” so that what we see “out there”, is not something harmful, threatening, or negative, and instead necessary for the evolution of humanity’s consciousness. This is where pure love resides, when we can see the love among the ugliness of the ego. Neal Degrasse Tyson stated two facts about the universe as:
1. We are in this universe
2. We are part of this universe.
He said more importantly, “the universe is in us.”
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. In understanding this, things become more light and less heavy. We have less resentment and anger and become more curious and compassionate. We are less serious and more humorous. We don’t become our emotions and let them drive us, we instead observe our emotions and detach from what no longer serves us. The connectivity he refers to I think is most obviously evident in reproduction. Two souls merge to invite a new soul to Earth.
The story about the farmer is relevant here because we get so caught up in our everyday lives, judging everything that occurs as bad or good, and we fail to see that doing so is counter productive to our evolution. A situation is only “bad” because we label it that way with our mind, and then respond to it with our body as if it were true. Its not good or bad, it just IS. Everything is connected and we are all part of a long story called humanity. As Mitch Albom says, “The world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”