“There are no obstacles on the path, the obstacles are the path.” — Zen Proverb
Once upon a time lived an old farmer who had worked on his crops for many years. He was considered wealthy because he had a horse to plow his land in a village where many didn’t.
One day, his only horse ran off. When the villagers heard this, they rushed to his home to express their sympathy. “What a terrible thing” they lamented. But all the farmer said was: “Maybe.”
The next week, his horse returned, leading with it an entire herd of about a dozen horses. The villagers rushed over, exclaiming at his good fortune: “now you are the wealthiest man in the province”, but all the farmer said was: “Maybe.”
The following morning, the farmer’s only son was injured trying to get on one of the horses and broke his leg. The villagers rushed over in alarm. “What a terrible thing,” they wept. “Without the help of your only son, how can you plant your fields by yourself?” But all the farmer said was: “Maybe.”
The next week, the emperor’s soldiers rode into town with draft papers as the country was going to war, but his son couldn’t go because his leg was broken. The townspeople once again gathered around to marvel at the farmer’s good luck. But all he said was: “Maybe.”
The Only Constant is Change
External circumstances, whether in relationships, career endeavors, socio-economic issues, politics, and the weather will be in constant flux.
There is no escaping this fact.
It has been my life’s practice to see the many ebbs and flows of these changes for what they are and to be invested in their outcome sparingly.
For me personally, this manifests itself commonly in the often challenging and complicated relationships that come with family. The obstacles I’ve had to work through with those closest have been the biggest teachers. I am grateful for them because I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Acknowledgment that life’s unfavorable circumstances are actually lessons is half the battle. The other half is to embrace the obstacles and jump over the hurdles into the ocean of clarity and wisdom.
Although the changes in external circumstances are inevitable, internally, it is very possible to maintain a level of peace. This goes beyond happiness, which is just another temporary state of emotion.
The stories others have about you will change. People will talk about you. It’s in our innate nature. At some point, it will be favorable, and other times, not so much. Whatever their story is, it shouldn’t be of your concern.
When you start to walk this path with your own truth, what others think matters less and less.
It removes the notion of proving anyone wrong because truth brings about self-awareness, and self-awareness brings about a type of self-confidence where you find love with the self.
Truth is more than just being honest and it may be our highest calling.
Truth is a trait of conviction you carry with you internally wherever you go. Truth is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it, meaning it’s something that will permeate even in those that outwardly deny its benevolence. However, the truth you carry needs no audience.
I have doubted and second-guessed myself more times than I can count. I wasn’t a confident child growing up, and am still working on this. As of recent, I have taken a deeper dive into psychology because one of my sisters has had her own breakthroughs by seeking professional help. I have taken some of her valuable insights and incorporated them into my own lessons for living.
Much like the farmer in the story, I allow the circumstances of life to blossom in the way they were destined to. I don’t have a stake in the game, because my perception of life’s circumstances is the only game I can play.
A good place to start, if you haven’t invested too much time in yourself, is realizing that you have always been enough.
Taking a step back and seeing all of the dualities that life presents from an observer’s lens can help us assess situations when the temporary fires of emotions settle down and are subdued.
The observer’s lens is looking at your emotions outside of yourself. It’s looking outside of our ego. The ego is the neurotic friend we all have and can’t get rid of. It needs discipline, and its power dissipates when we allow ourselves to breathe and see our thoughts and emotions for the ephemeral clouds they are.
“Maybe,” as the farmer said, is looking at perceived fortunes and misfortunes for the relative circumstances they are.
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