Hello again, fellow travelers!
Click for a version of the Source Material.
This story really hits home with me. Basically espousing the premise that we cannot know what is good or bad, that it just simply is. I think this is an apt follow-up for the previous post because it really puts a nice story to the idea that we cannot know; to save ourselves from the emotional turmoil of judgement, we should simply accept things for what they are.
Now, I am not saying that we should be passive. No, I think that what this old story is about is not becoming overly emotionally invested in any particular event. Why? Because we do not have an omniscient view of life, and as such have no concept of what any one event means for our future. Why lament something that may turn out to be a boon? If it does turn out to be a negative thing, then you will deal with that as it unfolds. Would you rather deal with the negative emotions, thoughts and behavioral repercussions, and then also deal with the outcome of the event on top of that? If it turns out to be a positive thing, then you will have punished yourself, dozens of times over, lost in your suffering before you realize that things did not turn out as bad as you thought - needlessly creating an undesirable space of mind.
This story hits home for me because I truly believe that it's message directly illuminates the vast majority of suffering I see in others (and of course, myself). This propensity to hang on to judgements about a situation, amplifying feelings until (for some) they become all consuming. As the old man shows us, if we wait, perhaps something good will come of it, perhaps not. But what does all of our obsessing and going over it and talking and figuring change? Has the horses disappearance lessened due to his neighbors judgements? Is it any less gone? Is the future any more certain because of our judgements? I don't think so.
So, let's take a page from the Old Man's book, and just see what today brings :)