“A landlord came to the Zen master in a state of distress. One of his stable hands had left the door to the barn open and his prize stallion had escaped. ‘What a disaster!’ the man cried. The master replied only, ‘I don’t know.’ The landlord left in disgust.
A few days later, the stallion returned to the barn followed by three wild mares. The landlord returned to the master and said, ‘It wasn’t a disaster. It was a blessing.’ The master replied, ‘I don’t know.’ The landlord left, doubting the wisdom of the master.
When the landlord’s son was breaking the mares, he was thrown and broke his leg. The landlord returned to the master and told him of the event and said the master was right that it was not a blessing. The master replied, ‘I don’t know.’
When the soldiers of the emperor came to recruit young men for an upcoming battle, they left the son behind because of his broken leg. The son said, ‘Father, what a blessing my broken leg is.’ The father said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” James 4:13-15
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you feel able to differentiate a “disaster” from a “blessing?” Is that even possible?
- Christians often go around saying this or that thing was a real “blessing.” What does that say about them/us?
- The Buddhist premise behind this story is that we try to attribute meaning where there is no inherent meaning in our world, and that in doing so we no longer see things as they are–but only as we’ve been conditioned to see them. What would be different for Christians? How could your “conditioning” be misleading you when it comes to “blessing?”
Abba, I may not understand what happens in my life or my world, or why, but I can look to you and submit to you to shape me in every circumstance. May it be.
For More: The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger by Susan Edmiston and Leonard Scheff
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow/share my blog. My goal is to regularly share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment/question. – Bill
“I may not understand…” Difficult state for me to be in, and a good reminder of the value of letting the need to understand (and judge) go…
I am always seeking to understand my circumstances. I like to look at why things happened in the past and telling myself, that particular direction, lead to my current state. Understanding pathways is most likely not meant for the human mind to comprehend. Any state that you previously were in, may or may not, have anything to do with your current circumstance-life situation. Wish I could just try not to understand but just walk slowly day by day with the Lord trusting that his pathway is right where ever or what ever the current event may be.
And even if we choose a wrong pathway, or life places us on some difficult pathway, the Lord wants to use it to conform us to the image of Christ/ make us into a good human being. We just need to trust him and submit to him in that process. In the end, that’s what really matters, whether good or bad decisions. I agree that it’s too tempting and easy to get all “in in my head” trying to “unscrew the inscrutible.” I’m trying to stop doing that myself. Thanks for sharing Robbie.