|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Just when you think things are going your way and there is some positive momentum, the universe decides that things can't be TOO easy for you.
I am reminded of a story told in Zen master Steve Hagen's wonderful book, Buddhism, Plain and Simple (one of the clearest and cleanest introductions to what Buddhism is, and is not, that I've read). The story is about a wise Chinese farmer whose horse ran off. When [the farmer's] neighbor came to console him the farmer said, "Who knows what's good or bad?" When his horse returned the next day with a herd of horses following her, the foolish neighbor came to congratulate him on his good fortune. "Who knows what's good or bad?" said the farmer. Then, when the farmer's son broke his leg trying to ride one of the new horses, the foolish neighbor came to console him again.
"Who knows what's good or bad?" said the farmer. When the army passed through, conscripting men for war, they passed over the farmer's son because of his broken leg. When the foolish man came to congratulate the farmer that his son would be spared, again the farmer said, "Who knows what's good or bad?"
And thus the story continues.
For every time I just barely catch the subway train before the doors close, are those numerous other times when I'm waiting on the platform for 20 minutes because of some train delay. Of course, with my bike I don't ride the subway much anymore, but I think you get the idea. Lately I've been trying to remember, as master Hagen explains it, "Good and bad aren't absolutes. They are beliefs, judgments, ideas based on limited knowledge as well as on the inclinations of our minds." So one goal I have is continually to see things less about being 'the glass half full' or 'the glass as half empty' (if there is even a glass, which is a whole other philosophical kōan I'm not tackling here), but rather thankful that there IS a glass and there is something in it.
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 7:50 AM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.