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  • Writer's pictureJack Paschal

Not feeling good is a part of the human experience. #GoodAdvice #SuccessfulBusiness #Remember

The Joy of Not Getting What We Want - Tiny Buddha

“Remember that not getting what you want Is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~Dalai Lama

Let me tell you a story.

I first read it in a book on Taoism, but I’ve seen it in at least a dozen other places since then, each with its own variation.

Here’s the gist:

There’s this farmer. His favorite horse runs away.

Everyone tells him that this is a terrible turn of events and that they are sorry for him.

He says, “We’ll see.”

The horse comes back a few days later, and it brings an entire herd of wild horses with it.

Everyone tells him that this is a wonderful turn of events and that they’re happy for him.

He says, “We’ll see.”

The farmer’s son is trying to break one of the new horses, it throws him, and he breaks his leg.

Everyone tells the farmer that this is a terrible turn of events and that they’re sorry for him.

He says, “We’ll see.”

The army comes through the village.

The country is at war and they are conscripting people to go fight.

They leave the farmer’s son alone because he has a broken leg.

Everyone tells him that this is a wonderful turn of events and that they’re happy for him.

The farmer says, “We’ll see.”

Now let me tell you who I was when I first heard that story.

I was twenty-three or twenty-four, trying to get off of drugs and stop drinking and turn my life around in general.

I had recently rolled my car out into a field, lost my wife and most of my friends, and had moved to West Texas to start over.

I was smart enough to know something had to change, but I wasn’t quite smart enough to know how, so I tried to do what I thought smart people did—I started going to the library.

I initially got into a bunch of weird stuff like alternate theories about the history of the world, cryptozoology, and things like that.

Not really the change I needed.

One day I went to the library looking for a book about the Mothman, but Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was sitting in its place.

I didn’t know anything about this book or the things it talked about, but the title was cool, and libraries are free, so I checked it out.

It’s hard to exaggerate how much this book revolutionized my view of the universe and my place in it.

It was thrilling to recognize how much there was out there that I didn’t know.

Atlantis and Bigfoot were replaced by quantum mechanics and string theory.

I eventually stumbled onto The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav, rearranging my worldview again.

Having grown up in a pretty strict evangelical home, any sort of eastern philosophy was completely outside my frame of reference.

This led me to begin studying Taoism and Buddhism, most specifically Zen Buddhism, and to the story I started this post with.

I started to recognize that I had a mind, but I was not my mind.

Meditation showed me how this mind was always grasping and wanting and reaching out for different things.

It was a craving and aversion machine.

It wasn’t long before I realized that it wanted these things solely for the sake of having them, and that none of them were all that important.

I just wanted what I wanted because I wanted it.

This changed everything.

I had spent the previous fifteen years running from one thing to another in order to avoid anxiety, fear, anger, and depression.

I did this through drugs and alcohol and taking crazy risks with my life.

These things have consequences.

These consequences came as car wrecks, jail time, hospitalizations, and a long string of destroyed relationships.

I was so captivated by my wants that I was running through life with my eyes closed, blindly chasing them, with predictable results.

Realizing that I was not...

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