One is never able to live in the moment when the mind is wrapped around the future expectations, or the past disappointments.
There is an old Chinese proverb I often read to my students, and recount myself in many situations. The story broadly goes like this:
An old man and his son lived in a small mountain village, with their horse which was a lovely mare of good breeding. The man and his son were very poor and were often chastised by the villagers for keeping the horse. The villagers would exclaim “old man you fool, why don’t you sell the horse and have the money to live on rather then paying to keep the animal?” The man would calmly reply, “how can I sell her, she is part of our family? Then one day the mare disappeared from the stable and the villagers quickly berated the old man, “see you should have sold her then you would have the money, now you have nothing.” The old man graciously replied, “how can you say that, you know nothing, how can you judge a book by its cover. Simply say the horse is gone, we know nothing more then just that.” The villagers walked away in disbelief, “silly old man they uttered.” The next day the mare returned with a herd of beautiful wild horses behind her, some of the most valuable horses in the land. As soon as the villagers found out they exclaimed “old man you were right, look at the great fortune that has been bestowed upon you. Now you will be wealthy and famous.” The old man laughed and with a smile said, “you take to much meaning from this gesture, simply say there are some beautiful horse in my stable, more then that we do not know.” The villagers again mocked the old man and said, “you are a crazy old man.” The old man’s son began to train the horses but soon fell and broke his leg. Immediately the villagers returned with their statements of judgement, “you were right old man this has turned bad your son is now a cripple, and now what will you do with all of these horses, how will you take care of them?” The old man not surprisingly replied “you villagers are missing the picture, you are only seeing a fragment when the whole of the situation is not known simply say, my son is injured anything more we do not know. We cannot read a book by only looking at one sentence.” Sure enough the next day the villagers sons were all called to war, but they old mans son was spared. The villagers were weeping the loss of their sons, and admiring the old man in his wisdom who still had his son. Judgement is a stale state of mind. One is never able to live in the moment when the mind is wrapped around the future expectations of the past disappointments. Judgement is a default which seems automatic in many situations. To be free of judgement of any sort requires great attendance living in the moment and accepting what is.
This past weekend I had a great opportunity to test my ability to stay in acceptance and non judgement against all odds. It is very easy to be in a place of acceptance and non-judgement when things are going our way. It is much more challenging of course when we meet adversity or emotionally charged situations what occurred to this weekend for me was another test of pulling my awareness back into the ¡°now¡± and at the same time allowing my expressions and emotions to be released. The trial in this instance was a very negative nurse, an over-reactive unco-operative bowel and a desire to be with my family who had come to visit. Nothing worked out as planned and insult was only added to injury by what I determined was a harsh and unsympathetic nurse .It takes great courage to live in the present moment the raw experience of mind. In deed her approach does not convey positively or encouragement. However, I realized after complaining about her again and again to my family that my judgements were becoming more important then my own piece of mind. The more I focused on her negative qualities the more I found myself exaggerating and adding fuel to that fire. In my last posting I mentioned the yamas and niyamas exaggeration is the third yama or thing to avoid. Exaggeration is often the sugar coating around judgement or the extra fat. We do not know if the horse leaving the stable is good or bad, so too we do not know all of what is behind the moments that occur in our lives. The simplest and the most peaceful place to be n the poignant truth of what is; no judgements, no exaggerations, simple acceptance. It takes great courage to live in the present moment, in the raw experience of the mind.
Peace and Love Mary-Jo