Us kooky humans … we tend to get attached.
To things, to stories, to people, to relationships, to experiences and, most of all …
We get attached to outcomes.
There’s an old Taoist fable that’s gone around and around forever. It’s the story of an old farmer who goes through life – or, more apropos – flows through life not attached to anything – particularly not to outcomes.
He was a wise soul who learned not to attach a label of any kind to the things that happen to us in life.
The story is a sweet one as the farmer and his son go through all kinds of obstacles. You know, that crazy game called life.
His neighbors look over as his horses run away, exclaiming – Oh no! That’s so bad.
Then, the son goes off to chase after the horses and he breaks his leg.
Once again, the neighbors exclaim, Oh no! That’s terrible.
Meanwhile, through it all, the farmer just keeps on keeping on. His response is always, “Maybe.”
Not good. Not bad. Simply neutral.
The story ends with the son’s broken leg saving him from having to go to war.
The way of the Tao is non-attachment. Buddhism teaches us that attachment leads to suffering.
I sense many of us kooky humans can relate to being attached to something, someone or to an outcome in life and when things don’t go the way we hope – what we believe is “good” for us, we suffer.
We pine away over lost relationships. We ruminate over how things could have turned out differently. We hold onto stories even when they hurt us. We stay attached to certain outcomes while we close the door to opportunities awaiting us.
What would life be like if we could view things differently, from a higher vantage point, from a spiritual perspective and to see that we never really know what’s good or bad for us at any moment?
Who does know?
I was talking with my daughter last week. She’s in Atlanta for 3 months as the lead actress in a new series.
I mean – THE LEAD!
Like the show is named after her character.
Let’s back this up a moment.
At the time she was up for the lead in the series she’s filming, she was also up for a lead role in a movie with one of Hollywood’s A-List Stars.
Both were amazing projects.
One had the highest caliber star power.
Fortunately, my girl has been on the spiritual path for some time now. She’s a big believer in letting go as things always seem to work out the way they’re meant to.
She landed the lead in the series and headed to “Hot-lanta.”
Not long into filming, the story came out that the hot Hollywood star had backed out of the movie and the entire project was canceled.
My girl and I had a good laugh. She knew she was exactly where she was meant to be. Somehow, that universe always knows. It’s at your back whether you know it or not.
You see, us kooky humans are down here looking up while all those divine beings are up there looking down.
Gee, I wonder who has the better lens to view life through?! The far grander more spiritual lens is always the one from above.
To the truly enlightened, there is no good or no bad. As Rumi teaches us so beautifully, “There is a field between right and wrong. I’ll meet you there.”
Living life from a neutral vantage point, not plopping good or bad labels onto things, people, experiences, and outcomes saves us from a heck of a lot of suffering.
Looking back on my life, I can see far more clearly now than I ever could. So many times, I’ve judged things as good in the moment only to have them kick me in the ass later. I’ve been attached to outcomes, manipulating situations to ensure I got what I thought was best for me only to learn later on that it wasn’t.
As I climb higher and higher on the spiritual rungs of life, I’m far more aware of my kooky human eccentricities and far more willing to let them go. I’m aware of that egoic grip that tends to hold on tightly so my less egoic, more authentic self can loosen that grip and let things go.
So, the next time you see something you desperately want, perhaps it’s a thing or a relationship or an experience or an outcome of any kind, step up a rung or two on the ladder of life and consider letting go of the good or the bad label – or the belief that you must have this thing. Why not call on the Universe that has so much more wisdom than us, and let go and let God, or Source, or Buddha – or whomever you trust to call on – take over while you get back to flowing with life rather than trying to control life. Why not trust in whatever happens is exactly what’s meant to happen.
After all, just about everything in life is outside of our control. Except for that beautiful inner world of ours. That’s where we have the most control.
In the meantime, I’m heading to LA to babysit my girl’s kitty cats while smiling to myself about just how damn cool this crazy kooky life really is!
See you in the field. You know that glorious place between right and wrong.