A Sufi Tale

To understand my world view, you must know that I painfully came to grips with something described in this story that I heard as a Sufi tale (badly told here, I’m afraid):

A farmer had a horse he used to till his field. One autumn day, the horse ran away. The farmer’s friends came by and offered condolences. How would he till his fields in the spring? How would he survive? The farmer said “I cannot know if this is good or bad” Several weeks later, the stallion returned with a beautiful mare. The farmer’s friends came to offer congratulations! How wonderful? The farmer said “I cannot know if this is good or bad” Sometime later, his son was breaking the mare. He was thrown and crippled his leg. The farmer’s friends came and offered condolences. How would his son find a wife and have children? Who would care for him when the farmer when he became old? The farmer said “I cannot know if this is good or bad” A month after there was a war and the emperor sent soldiers to conscript the young men of the village. The farmer’s son was left behind because of his injury. Sadly the young men did not return from the war. Each year the mare had a beautiful foal and the farmer gave each to one of his friends for being so kind.

This is the moment we live in. Much of this moment we make for ourselves. It is OK to celebrate and mourn. Emotions are as a much a part of life as breathing. But to declare true value in the events of our lives – to allow them to be good or bad within our psyche is the recipe for an unhealthy kind of desire. To wish for something to happen or pray it will not happen says we know what will be good and what will be bad. As soon as we step into the quicksand of such unhealthy desire, we unleash the Pandora ’s Box of fear. We fear something will happen or not happen. This fear can freeze us, and it almost always puts a veil between us and the beauty of the one moment we are sure of – the moment we are holding right now.


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