There is a man in a Zen tale: He has a horse that escapes from his stable one day, and the neighbours come to visit him and say, “Oh, what tragedy has befallen you to lose a horse.” He responds, “Maybe, who knows?”
Two days later, the horse returns with two wild horses. When his neighbours come to see him and exclaim, “Oh, what great fortune has come upon you,” he once more responds, “Maybe, who knows?”.
The man’s son attempts to ride one of the wild horses the following day, but he is flung off and breaks his leg. When the neighbours returned and said, “Oh, what tragedy has befallen your child,” he once more responded, “Maybe, who knows?”.
The following week, soldiers arrived at his doorstep to enlist boys for the front lines of battle. They move on to the next residence after spotting his disabled son. The neighbours say, “Oh, what excellent luck for you and your boy,” as they leave. He responds, “Maybe, who knows”.
The illusion of control
How much of life’s currents do we actually control? You decide to step outside one Friday night and then meet someone who changes the trajectory of your life forever. An infinite number of variables could have placed you in a different place, at the same time, or in the same place at an additional time and yet missing out.
“The illusion of control is a tendency to overestimate how much control you have over the outcome of uncontrollable events.”
We then need to relinquish this illusion of control, not to say to sit back and do nothing, but rather make conscious efforts and not self-deprecate over those efforts failing.
There’s an intelligence within the universe that oversees the outcomes of every entity. Some call this intelligence a supreme deity ruling over the affairs of all living beings. Irrespective of religious inclinations, we can learn to find an alignment with this intelligence.
Peace comes from within!
We contort our lives around our likes and dislikes; holding on to pleasurable things and resisting things that bring us discomfort.
When we stop avoiding problems and let go of intentionally sustaining pleasures, we step into a more even playing field, expanding on the realm of possibility. From this centred place, we see things more clearly and what responses emerge naturally within ourselves.
When we go through difficulty, we strive to work our way out of it. Through this strife, we begin to build an extra layer on top of our suffering. This extra layer is seen as resistance, and it is often more subversive than the difficulty itself.
The challenge, however, is whether we can consistently learn to surrender ourselves to life, with all the good and bad as they come.
Whether we can learn lessons from the situations that we would much rather not face.
Whether we can accept our current predicament as it is, without the projections and expectations of what we want things to be.
Whether we can grow from it rather than wither away.
Whether we can stop resisting and find peace within.
When peace exists outside of external circumstances, only then can peace be true.