Have you ever been in a situation too fluid to judge whether what is happening is bad or good? Being in my home town right now, I feel something similar. There are the “bad” things that used to rile me up in the past, and there is the “great” stuff that made me love it so strongly. Only, in recent years, I haven’t been able to muster up the mental energy for strong emotions. Everything appears just so, and I find myself unwilling to be jumping from judgment to judgment and making big pronouncements.
I am reminded of the story about the old man whose field was being destroyed by unknown forces. His fellow villagers pronounced him unlucky. Until one night, when he went up to the fields and discovered it was a wild horse that was trampling all over his fields. So, he took it home, and the whole village pronounced him very lucky. Only, his son fell off the horse while trying to tame the wild animal, broke his leg, and the village people once again pronounced the family unlucky. Just then, a king envoy came to the village and conscripted every able man to the king’s war effort. The old man’s family was now pronounced very lucky – their son was the only young man to avoid war. Do you get the picture? I find myself more and more filled with wonder but without the desire to pronounce good or bad lucks.
And that is how I feel right now vacationing in the town of my birth. There are beautiful places and places far from pleasing. It is the same for everything – people, objects, situations. My mind is disengaged and strangely at peace. So, what can one do about it but to bring out the camera and take a few pictures? You know, just as a fun project and not so much as an intense experience of likes versus dislikes.
Is that what it means to “simply be?”