Have you heard the story of a Chinese farmer?
I had never heard the story of a Chinese farmer, but when I did — it changed everything for me.
A farmer and his son had a beloved horse who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbours exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”
A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild horses back to the farm as well. The neighbours shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”
Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the horses and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The neighbours cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”
A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg. The neighbours shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
It is really impossible to tell whether anything that happens is good or bad.
You never know what the consequences of misfortune or good fortune will be, as only time will tell the whole story.
Things may look great at the start, but over time it may not become what you had imagined it to be. Similarly, you feel bad about something but some day it could be one of the best things that happened to you.
Everything changes. The universe is ever changing. There is no room for judgement, for nothing is truly black and white.
“ Trust that the universe is unfolding as it should. ” – Max Ehrmann
This story helped me gain a deeper sense of the concept of mindfulness.
To be able to forget the sorrows of my past and worry not about the uncertainty of the future — to be able to truly live in the present, and see life as not good or bad but just as is.
And so I wonder, did the story of a Chinese farmer do anything for you?
Maybe so, maybe not. You’ll see.
If you enjoy Jay’s words, be sure to check out more of his writing.
Jay Mavani (aka jaymavs) is a Mumbai based visual-artist & storyteller. He’s known to express his passion for problem-solving, creativity, philosophy and humour by playing with various canvases.
Boom, biddy bye bye.