As is my habit in the mornings, I sit outside in what I now refer to as my sit spot. Have a cup of tea, do my rehab exercises and watch the surroundings waiting for the bird life to arrive. Not much was happening so I started scanning You tube and came across an old Chinese story told by Shia Lebeouf and how it effected him.

Your asking well what has this got to do with bushcraft? Well I was sitting there not getting any bushcraft done. My knee aching, my back aching, my shoulders aching and not finding any motivation to train, study or write. Then I listened to the story and my attitude changed.

I’m still in pain but my mind reset and I wanted to write this before having any pills and I’m sick of having pills.. Ive been pushing myself to get back on my feet and came to that place where your either working flat out on good days, doing nothing on bad days and doped up to the eye balls but not focusing on what is happening. Which is what happens when you have more bad days than good days. I didn’t need to focus I just needed to accept this is where I am at the moment and chip away a little every day.

The Parable of the Chinese Farmer

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”

The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.

The moral of this story, is, of course, that no event, in and of itself, can truly be judged as good or bad, lucky or unlucky, fortunate or unfortunate, but that only time will tell the whole story. Additionally, no one really lives long enough to find out the ‘whole story,’ so it could be considered a great waste of time to judge minor inconveniences as misfortunes or to invest tons of energy into things that look outstanding on the surface, but may not pay off in the end.

The wiser thing, then, is to live life in moderation, keeping as even a temperament as possible, taking all things in stride, whether they originally appear to be ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Life is much more comfortable and comforting if we merely accept what we’re given and make the best of our life circumstances. Rather than always having to pass judgement on things and declare them as good or bad, it would be better to just sit back and say, “It will be interesting to see what happens.”

Why not simply declare that everything is good and seek to find the good in the bad? The present is perfect.

How the Story Resonates Today