An old and poor Chinese man had a beautiful stallion that many kings coveted and wanted to buy from him, but the man was not willing to sell it. One day the horse was gone and the villagers thought he was a fool for not selling the horse. “What a misfortune!“ they exclaimed.
To this, the old man simply stated, ”You cannot know whether it is a misfortune or a blessing, because it is just a piece of the puzzle, and who knows what will come of it.“ Later the horse returned to the stable, and brought a dozen wild horses with him. The villagers told the old man, ”You were right! This was not a misfortune, but a blessing in disguise!“
While training the horses, the old man’s only son fell off of one and broke both legs. Again, the villagers judged what had happened, ”You were right again. This was a misfortune! Now you are poorer than ever!“ The old man said, ”This is nothing but a fragment of life and you cannot tell whether it’s a misfortune or a blessing!“
After a few weeks, the country went to war and all the young men were taken for the military, except for the old man’s son, because he was crippled. The villagers came to see him and exclaimed, ”You were right again, old man! Your son being crippled was a blessing! Now our sons are all gone!“ To which the man replied, ”You are obsessed with judgment. Only God knows whether it is a blessing or not. Nobody else knows!”
Indeed, we never know whether something is going to bring us pleasure or pain. Too often the mind makes us believe that if we can have something we desire, it will bring us happiness; then, when we get it, we discover that it really doesn’t. So the mind holds on to another desire, another hope, another illusion of happiness and fulfillment. And the mental tape goes on and on, “If only I could… If only I had… If only I were…”
Letting there be room for not knowing, without assuming and without judging, allows your true self to manifest. It is in the act of surrendering that you open yourself to a myriad possibilities, instead of simply repeating the usual mental tape. Even if things don’t seem to go the way you’d like them to, and you feel inclined to question your fate, you don’t really know where life is going to take you next. Like the old Chinese man in the story makes clear, we only get one fragment of life at a time, and we cannot know how all the fragments will end up shaping our destiny.
When you face a big disappointment, you don’t know if it’s the end of the story, or if there is more to come. It may be the beginning of something completely new and unexpected. Most of us are not open and receptive to life because we want to know and avoid the fear of not being in control of any situation life throws at us. So we hold on to judgments, assumptions, labels, and beliefs because they makes us feel like we know something and we are in control, at least mentally.
The Art of Surrendering To What Is
Like anyone else, you want to make the right decisions, avoid mistakes, and find the most pleasurable or convenient outcome. You may even consult psychics and astrologers to find out what the future has in store for you; then you allow their words to become part of your reality because you believe them and make them part of your mental filing system. Hey, if someone else said it would happen, it sure will, right? Or are they simply stating just one of the many possibilities the mind—and you as co-creator—can manifest?
The ego-mind likes to trick you into believing you can control life and others, so you won’t try to control the only thing you actually can and should: your mind. I knew of a man who wanted to prematurely induce his child’s birth to the exact day and time he considered auspicious according to astrology. Instead of allowing this soul to be born when it was meant to, the father wanted to manipulate the situation in order to feel in control of his and someone else’s life.
The need to control life arises from fear and insecurity. There is an internal sense of weakness and inadequacy that prompts the ego-mind to try to keep things tied to a mental desire or agenda. Yet life allows no agendas and is very quick to destroy expectations. No, there is no God out there trying to punish you. You create your own reality and, well, the Self enjoys the freedom of simply being in the moment and is continuously trying to break free from the barriers imposed by the ego-mind. When you finally accept and surrender to life, you can breathe freely and relax. It’s a beautiful feeling!
Embracing uncertainty allows you to have the flexibility of a shoot of grass, to bend without breaking, while learning about yourself in the process of experiencing life. Not having judgments or expectations gives you the freedom to choose and move as you see fit, moment to moment, in that process. If you don’t know, meaning you don’t label and judge, you can create and re-invent your life one step at a time, without preconceived beliefs or ideas. You can learn from the bumps on the road and allow yourself to be guided by the inner voice of your intuitive wisdom. Now, I think that is freedom. What do YOU think? Are you ready to start developing the emotional flexibility and freedom you need to live a joyful life? Contact me today to begin your journey of self-exploration and self-empowerment!
© Yol Swan. All rights reserved.