There is a lovely Zen Buddhist story about a farmer’s response to the ups and downs of life. The story starts with the farmer benefiting from good weather which led to good crops. His friends pat him on the back and say, “what luck” and “how wonderful.” His response is simply, “we’ll see.” The next night wild horses trample his crops. Friends and neighbors pat him on the back and say, “what bad luck my friend.” Again, the farmer replies, “we’ll see.” The next day his son is able to capture three of the wild horses to which friends and neighbors respond, “what good luck!” until the farmer’s son is injured by one of the horse’s and it becomes “bad luck.” The wise farmer continues to respond with “we’ll see.” The next day the army comes through the village to recruit young men to war, but the son is exempt because of his injury. So, the friends and neighbors say, “what good luck; your son will be safe.” You see the pattern of it all. Life is unpredictable. Sometimes, what may appear as being “bad luck” can actually turn into “good luck.” The one consistent response is the farmer’s “we’ll see.”
There are many things in life we can’t control despite our best efforts. When we bring mindfulness to each moment, we are letting go of the immediate judgement (“bad luck” or “good luck”) and resisting the urge to react. What would it be like if you tried the “we’ll see” approach? Your boss wants to talk with you? Instead of this being good or bad, try “we’ll see.” There’s an accident creating traffic on your way home? Instead of jumping to this being bad, “we’ll see.” We can’t know the future, no matter how hard we try, so you might try just waiting to see what happens.
Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself. Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice. Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.” Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday. May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.