Item Link: Access the Resource
Media Type: News / Op - Ed
Year of Publication: 2020
Author(s): Erik Assadourian
This article is republished from Medium, and written by Erik Assadourian; an early and supportive member of the MAHB.
What if we apply Taoist and Zen wisdom to the coronavirus pandemic?
The main idea, as Alan Watts notes in the end of the video version, is: “The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity. And it is really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad. Because you never know what will be the consequences of a misfortune. Or you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune….” In other words you shouldn’t overreact to any life event, good or bad.
Which David G. Gallan says even better:
“It’s not that the farmer is unengaged in life. It’s not that he is unable to be happy or sad. But he has a greater perspective. He sees the bigger picture. He knows that he can’t stop things from happening, but he can control how he reacts to them. And it’s often not the experience that matters as what you do with that experience.”
Of course, the way the story unfolds makes both lessons easy to understand and accept. If the farmer’s son hadn’t broken his leg but died taming the horse, would the farmer have remained as calm and accepting? Hard to believe he would, but that doesn’t nullify the lesson. There are many stories where great misfortune is a precursor for good fortune, where life balances out. My own father’s death in 2005 — the single most crushing moment in my entire life — rapidly matured me and made me better understand what is truly valuable in life and what isn’t. Without his death, I never would have been open to meeting, and marrying, my life partner, who I met later that year, and which led to our wonderful son, and so on. (Of course, I shouldn’t get too attached to my family either — following these lessons — but I admit I’m less farmer and more neighbor, though I certainly try to be the former.)
Read the full article here.