The Perfection of the Whole

The events of our lives weave together to tell a much larger, richer story when we step back and see our lives from a grander, larger perspective. I believe the entire universe is a complicated, interconnected web of events and energies, all of it perfectly designed and as those final pieces snap into place, the perfection of the whole becomes obvious.

The following Taoist fable resonates with me because, in my view, the farmer sees everything as perfect, as ordained by something higher, every detail exactly as it needs to be. This is how I’ve learned to view life.

There is an old Taoist fable that tells of a farmer whose horse ran away. The farmer’s neighbors shared how sorry they were at his misfortune, but he refused to label it as such; he just shrugged and said, “Maybe.” The next day, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses for him to tame and train. The man’s neighbors returned to celebrate his good fortune, but again, he refused to label it as such, shrugging once again and saying, “Maybe.” Then the man’s son was training one of the wild horses and he fell, breaking his leg. Once again, the neighbors thought this was a deeply unfortunate thing, and once again, the man shrugged and said, “Maybe.” Shortly thereafter, the army came to enlist all the eligible young men, and the man’s son was spared due to his injury. The neighbors praised the man’s good luck again, but again, his response was the same. The fable goes on like this, with the man alternating between so-called “good” events and “bad” events, but he remains unfazed by all of it. He knows that the events aren’t actually good or bad; it’s only our stories about the events that make them appear so. And with this understanding, he weathers everything that happens without much struggle.

In my view, the man sees everything as perfect—as ordained by something higher, every detail exactly as it needs to be.

Copyright © Judi Miller 2021