Day 50 – One Teaching – We’ll See

Egoic attachment to outcomes can be very misleading.  In life, at times, seemingly wonderful things happen to us and we celebrate.  Then later, as expectations are shattered, we find ourselves judging a situation as negative.  Birth and birthdays, graduations from school, getting married and buying a home are a few of these universally wonderful things that we pursue.  While illness, death, divorce, job loss and foreclosure are all reasons that seem to lead us to feelings of fear, grief, and doubt, these are circumstances we all hope to avoid.  Funny enough, when we achieve the positive outcomes, we have a tendency to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.  Yet when the negative situations occur, we look outside of ourselves for the cause.  (My wife and I have coined this phenomenon, “External factor syndrome.”)

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories you’ve probably heard of the Zen master and the boy.  It is retold by Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Charlie Wilson’s War.

“On his fourteenth birthday, a little boy gets a horse as a present.  He is overjoyed and all the people of the village say, ‘How wonderful!’

The Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’

One day, while out riding his horse, the boy falls off and breaks his leg.  The villagers are devastated by the injury and cry out, ‘How terrible!’

The Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’

After some time, a war breaks out and all the men are called to fight, but the boy is unable to go because of his leg.  Seeing the boy as lucky, the villagers say, ‘How wonderful!’

The Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’”

I think of this story often when something out of the ordinary happens in life.  A real life Monopoly card, “Bank error in your favor”, gets pulled as an unexpected check shows up in the mail and we say, “We’ll see.”  These little wins are usually balanced out by the $75 luxury tax card that we pay and then say, “We’ll see.”  It is a reminder of the both/and (non-dualistic) nature of life.  The boy’s fate is both wonderful and terrible, good and bad.  Perhaps the horse is a synchronicity (Day 48) that connects him to his fate.  Or perhaps we are too quick to judge and are better to remember that life is full of these so-called ups and downs.  Are you skeptical?  We’ll see.

Enjoy this scene from Charlie Wilson’s War:

Photo by Tobias Nii Kwatei Quartey on Unsplash

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