Vietnamese Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh writes: “Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects.” I touched on this topic back on my post “When One Door Closes.” In his post, “Reclaim Your Mind: One Story That May Change Your Life” Elisha Goldstein tells a very interesting story that will make you think twice about life’s disappointments. It begins this way …
There is a story of a very wise old man in a village: Everyone in the village looked up to him and sought his advice. One summer day, a villager came to him in a state of panic, “Wise sage, I don’t know what to do, my ox has died and now I am unable to plow my fields. This is the worst thing that could have ever happened.” The sage looked him in the eye and replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” In a state of disbelief the man returned to his family and proceeded to tell them how the sage was no sage after all and that he had lost his mind because surely the death of the ox was the worst thing that could’ve ever happened.
The next morning the man went on a walk to mourn his ox and in the distance saw a strong young horse grazing in the field. Immediately he had the idea that if he could catch the horse then his troubles would be over. He brought the horse back and realized how blessed he was; plowing was even easier than before. The image of the sage came up in his mind and the man ran over to him to apologize. Upon seeing the sage the man said, “Please accept my apologies, you were absolutely right. If I had not lost my ox, I wouldn’t have gone on that walk and would never have captured the horse. You have to agree that catching this horse was the best thing that ever happened.” The old sage looked into his eyes and said, “Maybe so, maybe not.”