As I was going over some old papers, I came across an old Chinese story I heard long ago, and it filled me with hope about our future. I want to share it with you; it goes like this,
A poor farmer used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills. When the farmer’s neighbors came to sympathize with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills. This time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone believed this was terrible luck, and they came to console the farmer. But the farmer’s reaction was a familiar one, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they didn’t draft him, leaving him to stay with the farmer. Now was that good or bad luck? Who knows?
Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may be an evil. We are wise when we leave it to Higher Power (God) to decide what is good fortune and what is misfortune and thank this Higher Power knowing that He/She is conspiring with you for your greatest good.
Life events are neither good nor bad, they are transformative
I love this story. It is a wonderful metaphor for life. When I reflect on how often I believed I was being punished for being less than perfect because things didn’t go my way, I realize how shortsighted I was. Time has allowed me to gain the perspective that the particular life trial I experienced had been a blessing.
Being separated from my parents at an early age was extremely difficult for me. Reuniting with them four years later was not much better, for that was when we experienced poverty, culture shock, discrimination and similar struggles many immigrants suffer in the USA. Today, I am grateful for these experiences. They strengthened my character by adding large doses of perseverance, courage, serenity, humility and hope.
These times also helped me discover that every life is important, no matter the circumstances. Many of my beliefs today are rooted in those times.
My latest life transition is no different. Reeling from a series of circumstances that left me divorced, unemployed and relocated to a place where I knew no one, I was left wondering what would become of me. The scaffolding that held up my self-image had been dismantled and, for a while, I became discouraged and disoriented. Losing the worldly distractions that dominated my life initiated me into a spiritual transformation. From being a complete agnostic, I moved on from the false identity of my ego to the understanding that I (and everyone else) am connected to the Higher Wisdom that runs the Universe. Never have I been happier inside my skin, experienced so much joy and contentment, or feel so connected to everyone that comes into my life. I see this latest life transition as the greatest blessing I have ever received.
There can be no growth without struggle
Our ego fears suffering. It wants to be comfortable and safe, but this is a formula for stagnation, depression and death. We avoid suffering because we don’t understand its purpose in our lives, yet we notice its effects everywhere. The Higher Power that connects all things is ever expanding, learning and creating, it does not want to feel safe. It willingly struggles to bring life; it is just like a pregnant mother who willingly labors to give way to her baby.
Such are our life struggles; we suffer pain through the transitions but eventually we can celebrate the new life they bring to us.
We can choose not to grow from our struggles, but doing so will only generate similar conditions that will cause us to repeat the lesson unlearned.
Things to remember during tough times
1) Sometimes, amid change and turmoil, you discover there is no parent, friend, money or even a God who can rescue you from suffering. These are the times you must have faith that a Higher Source created you with the capabilities of managing all the struggles that come your way.
2) Perspective is the greatest gift from persevering. The Chinese farmer in the story knew to look at things for the long term. He understood life is more a marathon than a sprint. Reflect on the past and notice how you were able to overcome gruelling life tests. It was hard to determine the good while in the middle, but now you perceive their benefit. Only now are you able to see you were never alone, there was always guidance coming from within helping you one step at a time. You have everything you need; you don’t have to be afraid of what comes, you will succeed if you don’t give up.
3) A Higher Consciousness deliberately created you with a purpose that the world needs. Struggles provide the energy to break through the patterns you have outgrown so that your real self can emerge. Believing in yourself, your value, what you offer and that everything happens for a reason will allow you to convert your greatest challenges into monumental triumphs.
Your life truly matters.
Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash