A few days ago, I heard a (many-versioned) tale of a farmer and his luck. I haven'tbeen able to get it out of my head since.
It goes something like this…
One day, a farmer’s wild horse broke free and ran away.
When his neighbors heard the news, they pitied him. “Your only horse is gone. How unfortunate!”
The farmer replied with just three words. “Maybe. We’ll see.”
The next day, the horse returned, more alive than ever.
His neighbors cheered. “Such good luck!”
The farmer replied, ever so coolly, “Maybe. We’ll see.”
The next day, the farmer’s son went out to train the wild horse. He fell and broke his leg.
The neighbors returned. “Oh snap!” (I’m paraphrasing here.) “Your struggle is so real.”
But the farmer kept cool and farmed on. “Maybe. We’ll see.”
Soon, a war broke out. The recruiter passed by the farmer’s house. The boy, still injured, still watching horse training videos on YouTube, was in no condition to serve in the dangerous fight.
“Wow!” the neighbors cheered. “Such good luck!”
“Maybe. We’ll see.”
The boy recovered but suffered a limp and was teased mercilessly.
“Oh no! Such bad luck.”
“Maybe. We’ll see.”
The soldiers lost the war, and the farmer and his son were the only abled men in the village. They sold an abundance of food and became extremely wealthy.
“You must be so happy! What good luck!”
“Maybe.” the farmer said. “We’ll see.”
On my journey to balance, I’ve noticed just how much my mind chatters and schemes. The mind loves to label people, things, and events to make us believe that which is defined can be understood and that which is understood can be controlled. It’s a taxing emotional investment that attaches us to an outcome that may or may not come.
Rationally, the best thing we can do is understand that all judgements are mental reactions, and while certain things feel worse at the time than others, our perception on that feeling may change as time goes by. The farmer wasn’t a passively pessimistic, miserable old man who disliked his son. Rather, he was wisely able to live in the moment, free from the fleetingly conditional (un)happiness, and not label any situation as neither good nor bad.
So remember the farmer this upcoming week. Lose the labels. Break a leg. Let your wild horses run free.