Once upon the time there was 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.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” 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 for his misfortune.
“Maybe,” 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.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
Explanation: The farmer is practicing non-judgment. He understands the true nature of life, that you can’t judge any event as an “end” in a way. This Buddhist tale tries to enforce that our life doesn’t play out like a work of fiction. There aren’t definite breaks that separate one moment versus another, and there isn’t a perfectly formulated end which everything builds to. This cannot be truer than now with the world battling COVID-19 and we are not sure which way the events are leading up to.
Realizing this truth and living in a way that we’re constantly aware of it leads to peace and happiness.