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Zen and the Art of Letting it Be

Updated on May 7, 2007

Relax, Trust, and Allow Good to Come

When something "bad" or unexpected happens is it really "Bad". Could it turn out to be good in a couple of days or in a thousand years? So then what is truth, what is good, what is bad? These are tough questions to answer, and probably can't really be answered.

The following taoist story illustrates this:

In ancient China a farmer's horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck.

He said, "We shall see."

The next day the horse returned, and brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune.

He said, "We shall see."

And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune.

He said, "We shall see."

The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer's son was rejected. Then the neighbors came to say how fortunately everything had turned out.

He said, "We shall see."


And this goes on and on as life and existance goes on, and effects go out like ripples from a pebble thrown in a pond. They never end. And no one can predict, except maybe God or the Universe. So all we can do is what the farmer did who was of course a Zen adherent and say "We shall see." Of course the farmer being wise will try not to be overly attached to whatever the outcomes from the events are, as all kinds of outcomes will come in the days and months. Trust and allow is all that can be done. And Zen says action to take will be revealed in the trusting of the Universe.

Steve Chandler, who is a business coach and motivator, says in one of his books, "Trust the Universe to reward the inner game. It is in the process of being who you want to be right now, this very moment, instead of straining to reach a future goal."

Zen says that the yin-yang view of the world is serenely cyclic. Fortune and misfortune, life and death, whether on small scale or vast, come and go everlastingly without beginning or end, and we trust and say "We shall see."

So the aim of Zen is to live today, trust in today, seek a better tomorrow, but not too hard, and relax and allow the outcome. And at the end of the day, try not to have been too hard on yourself, or anyone else.


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    • linmac profile image

      linmac 10 years ago from NE Scotland

      Nice one, Bob. I like the Zen philosophy.