Who knows what’s good or bad? This parable explores this contrast of ideas and perspectives. There is an old story of a chinese farmer who accidentally left his gate open, and his horse ran off. His foolish neighbor came over to console the wise farmer, who simply replied with “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

The next day, the horse returned with a large band of other horses following her. The neighbor came over to congratulate him on his good fortune. The wise farmer just replied “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

Then, the wise farmer’s son broke one of his legs trying to ride one of the new horses. The foolish neighbor visited them to console him again, with which the wise farmer once again replied with “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

When the army then passed through, looking for more people to add to their army, they passed over the son because of his broken leg. The neighbor came to congratulate him on being spared for the army, once again he was met with “Who knows what’s good or bad?”

The moral of this story asks, truly what is good or bad? It is merely a perception of the mind. We are told certain things are positive and others are negative based on how we understand, feel and experience them. Getting hurt might be considered a bad thing, but is good in the understanding that we learn from it, and thus do not make the same mistakes. Beyond that, as the story implies – one bad thing might be a blessing in disguise, and one that we simply cannot see yet.

Everything is fundamentally a lesson, and we are the ones who decide what is good or bad. Ultimately, it is subjective to each person. Someone who finds something good, might be perceived as negative to someone else. It’s all a construct of the mind. So staying balanced and neutral in your thoughts is a very powerful practice.

Credits Music: Little Girl by Vanessa Cuccia
Background Music: Seth Mikhail

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