Can Any Experience Be Defined As ‘Bad’?


In my last blog post I discussed that life always hangs in a delicate balance. We experience seeming opposites in our relative experience in this world as part of that balance. The truth is that we are not our life stories or the thoughts and emotions that they generate. Who we are is far greater than we can imagine.

In fact, it is only by seeing beyond our experiences that we can get to the truth of who we are and know our true nature. The reason why most people do not know who they truly are is because they get distracted by their daily grind and the accumulation of what we call our life story with which they end up identifying with.

Our story does not define who we are, however, the experiences that make up our life story have been given to us as gifts to help us rediscover and remember our true nature. Sometime these experiences are difficult and judged as ‘bad’ when we are in the midst of them. However, if we had the insight to step back and see what we are going through from a broader perspective, we would not judge anything that we go through.

The best way to describe this is through a story which has been passed down through many generations. It’s a story of a farmer and his horse.

One day his horse runs away. His neighbour finds out about this, comes over and says, to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says “Who knows what’s good or bad?” The neighbour is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns.

But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbour comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbour comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in a war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg.

And this story can go on and on like that. Good. Bad. Who knows?

The truth is that most people live their lives like the neighbour above and judge every experience based on its outer appearance. They become victims of their experiences and are never able to find true joy or inner peace.
The way we should be living is like the farmer who allows himself to fully be in the moment with whatever he is going through so he can discover the deeper meaning behind these occurrences. Does this mean that we will be free from pain, challenges and adversity? Of course not.
However, it does mean that we will achieve true freedom because he will not be at the whim of what we go through but will be able to see beyond them to what we are meant to learn from them. This will free us to not resist life, take more risks and grow and evolve which is why we are here in the first place.
Nauman Naeem MD

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