Master Yu and Master Sang were friends. Once it rained incessantly for ten days. Master Yu said to himself, Master Sang is probably having a bad time, and he wrapped up some rice and took it for his friend to eat. When he got to Master Sang's gate, he heard something like singing or crying, and someone striking a lute and saying:My favorite slogan these days is: It is what it is.
It was as though the voice would not hold out and the singer were rushing to get through the words.
Master Yu went inside and said, "What do you mean - singing a song like that!"
"I was pondering what it is that has brought me to this extremity, but I couldn't find the answer. My father and mother surely wouldn't wish this poverty on me. Heaven covers all without partiality; earth bears up all without partiality - heaven and earth surely wouldn't single me out to make me poor. I try to discover who is doing it, but I can't get the answer. Still, here I am - at the very extreme. It must be fate."
~ Burton Watson translation ~
There are many aspects of this life that we can influence and exert a measure of control over, but this number is far smaller that we might like to believe. While I believe it is important to change those things that we can change to make a better world for all humankind and Mother Earth, trying to alter that of which we have little or no control over is a recipe for anxiety, stress and tension.
There are so many situations and circumstances that we routinely face in which we have little direct control or influence over. At those times, I am learning to say, "It is what it is" and dealing with it on its own terms.
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