“Why is this happening to me?”, is a question we often ask ourselves. It’s a way to make ourselves feel better when we feel the tide of life has turned against us. Actually, what we are also saying is, “This should not be happening to me”. And that, if you consider it closely, is a pretty egotistical statement.
Engaging with life’s ups and downs with acceptance and equanimity can be a profound challenge. Not accepting, however, adds friction and resistance that inhibit further action.
Perhaps we can help ourselves by breaking free of looking at ourselves as lucky or unlucky, fortunate or unfortunate.
The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tsu relates:
‘An old man lived with his son in an ancient disused fortress on a hill. One day his horse, on which he depended, strayed and was lost. His neighbours came and sympathized with him on his bad luck.
“How do you know this is bad luck?” he asked.
Some days later his horse appeared, together with some wild horses, which the man and his son trained. His neighbours this time congratulated him on his good luck.
“How do you know this is good luck?” asked the man.
And as it happened, his son while riding one of the horses, was thrown and became permanently lame. His neighbours condoled with him and again spoke about his ill-luck.
“How do you know this is ill-luck?” he asked.
Not long after, war broke out; and the son, because of his lameness could not go.
The twists and turns of life can be difficult to comprehend. Taking the long view on life can also be challenging in times such as the ones we are facing. But accepting what is happening allows us to respond more creatively, compassionately and considerately in the moment.
Can you recall three things that looked very bad a year ago but which in fact have had positive consequences?
Write to us about them if you will. We would love to hear from you.
Have a good week!