Today I invite you to sincerely consider the meaning of "good" and "bad," and whether you know the difference.
Not only that, but whether anything is truly good or bad at all.
You see, we humans like to pretend that we know what we're doing. We like to feel safe, secure, and certain of how things are, when really there is no such thing as security in this universe, and nothing is entirely certain.
We like to pretend that there is the good and there is the bad, and that these are neatly cut and clearly defined.
Well, it doesn't take much effort to notice that different people have different ideas about what's good and what's bad.
And I find myself wondering...
Is there anything truly good or truly bad in this world? And what do we really mean when we use these words?
an old tale
There was once a boy who lived and worked on his father's farm.
This boy would often see other villagers with horses, and would dream of having his own. They were too poor, however, to buy one.
He would say to his father, "How bad it is that we are too poor to buy a horse! It would make our farm work so much easier!"
And his father would calmly reply, "Well, son, I'm not sure how bad it is..."
One day the boy wrangled a wild horse from a small group of horses that would trot near the farm every now and again.
He brought the horse to his father, his face bright with glee, and proclaimed, "Look, father! I've wrangled this wild horse! Isn't that so good! Now we can put it to work on the farm!"
The father stroked his beard and replied, "Well, son, I'm not sure how good it is..."
A few days later, while the boy was taming the horse, he was thrown from its back and broke his leg from the fall.
He shouted in pain, and when his father rushed to help him, the boy said through gritted teeth, "Oh, father! My leg is broken! How bad this is!"
Comforting his son, the father replied, "Well, son, I'm not sure how bad it is."
The very next day, the boy and his father were having tea in their house when a loud knock on the door startled them. It was a military general, gathering young men to fight in the war. Seeing that the father was too old and the boy's leg was bound in a cast, the general carried on his way.
The boy, relieved, said to his father, "Isn't it good that I don't have to fight? Now I can heal and stay here with you."
. . .
I'm sure you can guess how the father replied, Traveler.
This story belongs to many cultures, and illustrates the message I have for you today.
Nothing is good, and nothing is bad.
Good and bad are judgments we make about the world and our experiences in it.
Really, there is no good or bad inherently here.
replacing good and bad
Traveler, can you see what happens when we stop using these ideas of good and bad?
For one, we invite ourselves to be more creative with our language and the way we think about how we relate with each other and our world. We have to go deeper into why we like or dislike something.
“This is good food,” becomes “this food is rich and nutritious.”
This is a bad movie,“ becomes ”this movie is full of plot holes.“
For two, we invite ourselves to take a more powerful stance, grounded in our own personal preferences. Instead of leaning on the vague universal ideas of good and bad and taking those ideas for granted, we have to bring "I" into it, and speak from the authentic self. Doing so, we take responsibility, and thus reclaim personal power.
“I like this,” and “I don’t like that.”
And for three, we open our minds to receiving blessings in disguise, and release our attachment to control. Just like the boy in the story, what seems "bad" (painful, inconvenient, challenging) in this moment, could actually be the unfolding (unwrapping) of a great gift. Likewise, what seems "good" (pleasant, rewarding, victorious) in this moment, could lead us to greater challenges.
This is all part of the Great Journey, dear Traveler. You are here for all of it.
When we let go of good and bad, we open the heart to the full spectrum of riches available to us in this life.
It could be that the greatest riches of all...
…are waiting just beyond a moment of great struggle.
We would never know, unless we are open to seeing the good in the bad, the bad in the good, and the divine balance in all that is.
I am wishing you wellness in all ways, always. Until next time, farewell, Traveler.
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