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Who Knows What's Good Or Bad?

We have all experienced times in our lives that, at the time, feel bad.  Maybe they feel really bad or even hopeless. Sometimes it may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps something "bad" is happening to you right now. The problem is we can't possibly know what event is "bad" or "good" in our lives at the time the event is happening.

Unfortunately, not until the end of the book of our lives will the different chapters make sense.

Maybe you've experienced this truth in your life already. Can you remember a time where you were going through something that seemed so bad at the moment but that now seems like a blessing in disguise?

The following ancient Chinese parable demonstrates this principle perfectly, and it goes something like this:

An old farmer lives on his farm with his teenage son. He also has a beautiful stallion that he cares for lovingly.  The farmer enters his stallion into the annual country fair competition. His stallion wins first prize. The farmer’s neighbors gather to congratulate him on this great win. He calmly says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

Puzzled by this reaction, the neighbors go away.  The next week, some thieves who heard about the stallion’s increased value steal the horse away. When the neighbors come to commiserate with the farmer, they find him again very calm and gathered. He says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

Several days later, the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and finds his way back to the farm, bringing with him a few wild mares he has befriended along the way. To his neighbors’ excited rounds of congratulations, the old farmer once again says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”  

A few weeks later, the farmer’s son is thrown off one of these new mares as he is trying to break it in and his leg is fractured. As the neighbors gather to commiserate with the old farmer, he once again reminds them, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”  

The following week, the imperial army marches through the village, conscripting all eligible young men for the war that has just broken out. They spare the old farmer’s son because of his fractured leg. The neighbors no longer bother to come to the old farmer to congratulate him. By now they know what his response will be: “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

I bring this up because even while learning and using the power of intention in your life, you will experience times that don't feel good. You will go through times that feel "bad." But don't let that dissuade you from continuing on your path of intention for it may be that the very thing that feels "bad" is the very thing that leads you to the long term good in your life. After all, who knows what is good and what is bad?

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