We bring you a very short, sweet and funny Zen story today. Short and funny however does not mean it is not a Zen story. Think about it.
More after the story –
A horse suddenly came galloping quickly down the road. It seemed as though the man had somewhere important to go.
Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted, “Where are you going?” and the man on the horse replied,
“I don’t know! Ask the horse!”
Where are we going?
We wake up, get up from the bed everyday and jump into an endless cycle of things that just repeats daily. Same things go on over and over without an end.
What does this all lead to?
Do we know?
No we don’t.
Life brings us new situations everyday and every other day but we tend to stick to what we are. We rather not change and just react to everything that comes in. We complaint, regret, feel guilty and sometimes proud to have chosen the right thing but essentially we have not.
We don’t change rather we just let the changes pass by. We don’t grab opportunities. We cannot even blame life for the endless vicious cycle because it is not about the life, it is about us.
A couple of people were asked that same usual question – Why are you doing all this?
Most of them didn’t know the answer while the smart ones replied – “To be happy.”
Is it true?
Are we doing everything for happiness?
We earn, we drag ourselves at work everyday, we perform our duties, we take care of our kids and family, we travel and we support them. We fulfill everything but we are not full yet. We feel so empty inside.
Happiness evades us no matter what we do.
Back to the story –
The story is very symbolic. There is no master and no disciple, only fellow travellers. It is a very subtle indication that should be contemplated deeply.
A traveller sitting on a horse is passing by the road and while another traveller watches him. When the horse rider is asked – “Where are you going?”
He replies with something that should be understood well. He says – “I don’t know. Ask the horse!”
This is true. The man on the horse indicates towards the kind of life that we all live. We chase happiness but never find it. The horse drags us wherever it pleases.
Who is the horse?
The horse is your mind. It runs endlessly in different directions and chases things that appear lustrous from the outside. While the person sitting on the horse is you.
Who is driving? You are driving the horse or is the horse driving you?
Think about it. The horse does not need you rather you need the horse more than anything. You have become a victim of your own mind. It is only from the outside that you appear to be in control but things are quite opposite actually.
You saw a beautiful car passing by.
A thought passed by your mind. “What a car! I should have this!”
And the chase starts.
Then you tend to think more and more about the car. Your horse is running behind the car now. Day in and day out you become obsessed with the car. You want to have it at any cost.
You want to buy it, borrow it or even steal if it comes to that. But you want it.
Why? Because you allowed to give attention to that passing thought.
Only if you had just let that thought pass by, it would not have troubled you. Thousands of thoughts are passing by your mind every now and then. You witness a scene on the outside and become involved. This is the horsepower. Your attention and involvement gives the power to the horse. Your attachment with that thought makes it a part of you. Then it covers you and attacks you from all direction like a whirlwind until you possess it.
What happens when you posses it?
You might love and drive that car for some time. You may even take selfies and post it on Facebook to let people know that you have such and such car.
What happens then?
The car goes in the background after a while and you start chasing something else. This is going on for ages.
It is time to literally ask the horse!
Question the mind!
Technique and Contemplation –
Ask the horse.
Whenever your mind starts chasing something – wait.
Ask – What do you want?
Why are you chasing this?
The mind will reply – “Only then I will feel happy and peace.”
Then tell the mind – “You said the same thing last time. When have you felt happy after achieving something? When was the last time you were at peace?”
The race goes on and on. It is important to talk to your own mind and understand that chasing things on the outside does not give you happiness.
Rather when you take possession of something, the thought/dream that was filling the mind completely withers away for a moment and you get a glimpse of Zen.
This is where the happiness comes from. Zen is the source of happiness. Zen is not on the outside or inside. It is your very core.
There are no preconditions to achieve Zen. Just wait, let the horse down and relax. Then, Zen may find you!