Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You Never Know...

You never know what's going to happen...

...when you pick up a pen or brush to make a mark, to start a painting, to write a set of lyrics. You might think at the end that you've made a mess of things, then someone else takes a look or listen and falls in love with it. Or you might love the thing yourself when no one else ever looks or listens twice.

You never know what's going to happen to any of your children, to your projects or pieces of work, your best efforts. When I wrote The Roswell Incident, I could not possibly have expected that someone would write Swedish lyrics to the tune, produce the result with a hot Swedish band, win a Swedish Grammy, resulting in my buying a house and building a studio.

Thinking about uncertain outcomes of what might feel like happy luck or the most challenging relationships and difficult situations, I'm reminded me of a couple of Buddhist stories.

The first story, from the Taoist tradition, is about a farmer whose working horse runs away.
Upon hearing the news that the farmer's horse has escaped, his neighbors sympathize and say, “Such bad luck!”

“Maybe,” the farmer replies.

On the following morning the horse returns, bringing along three wild horses. The neighbors exclaim, “How wonderful!” exclaimed.

“Maybe,” says the farmer.

The next day, the farmer's son mounts one of the wild horses, is thrown, and breaks his leg. The neighbors say, "What a great misfortune!"

“Maybe,” the farmer answers.

On the following day, military officers arrive in the village to draft young men into service. Because of the son’s broken leg, they excuse him. The neighbors congratulate the farmer on his great luck.

“Maybe,” said the farmer..

The next story is excerpted in whole (without permission) from Eckart Tolle's A New Earth
Is That So?

The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a town i Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. Then it happened that the teenage daughter of his next-door neighbor became pregnant. When being questioned by her angry and scolding parents as to the identy of the father, she finally told them that he was Hakuin, the Zen Master. In great anger the parents rushed over to Hakuin and told him with much shouting and accusing that their daughter had confessed that he was the father. All he replied was, "Is that so?"

News of the scandal spread throughout the town and beyond. the Master lost his reputation. This did not trouble him. Nobody came to see him anymore. he remained unmoved. When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to Hakuin. "You are the father, so you look after him." The Master took loving care of the child. A year later, the mother remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the young man who worked at the butcher shop. In great distress they went to see Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. "We are really sorry. We have come to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father." "Is that so?" is all he would say as he handed the baby over to them.

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