Came across this little bit of e-mail-forwardish kind of a story at ycombinator.
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.
“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“We’ll see,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“We’ll see,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“We’ll see,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“We’ll see” said the farmer.
I suppose the moral of the story is ‘neighbours should mind their own bloody business’. And equanimity, i suppose. I am fascninated by this concept, I am talking about equanimity here, not nosy neighbours. How nice it would be if we could take in both fortune and misfortune with equal composure. Actually not much. I have meddled with this idea a bit and to be honest, I think the idea is flawed or rather incomplete. I think the best thing to do would be to go overzealous with the good stuff that happen to us and maintain a kind of detachment with negative stuff. Ofcourse, then it shouldnt be called equanimity. I have decided to call it quasi-equanimity, and am adopting it as one of the guiding principles of my life. I plan to write books, give lectures and start a cult based on this. Wanna join?