My favourite tale from the buddhist tradition goes like this:
Buddha is sitting in a forest one day with some of his monks, when a farmer appears, looking very unhappy. Asking him what the matter is, the farmer replies, “I have lost my 12 cows, I am so unhappy, have you seen them?”
They reply that they have not, and the farmer runs on, distressed, in search of the cows.
“Friends,” says Buddha to his monks when the farmer has gone, “you are lucky, you don’t own any cows”.
The idea is that the more things we have to look after, and the more things we have to worry about, and the more projects we have on the go, then the less space we have in our life to just relax and be happy.
Every now and again I do an exercise I call “how many cows have I got at the moment?”
At the moment, my ‘cows’ list looks like this:
1. Being a good dad and husband
2. Work/the business
3. Writing this blog
4. Looking after 2 other blogs that I’m not updating right now
5. Art class on tuesday evenings
6. Sorting out the car problems before the MOT (ITV here in Spain) runs out
7. Finishing minimalising my stuff
This is at least 2 more cows than I want to cope with! In fact if I ditched all but the first 3, I’d be a lot more relaxed, and do a much better job at them!
But I see that I can release cows 4 to 7 by the end of the month – then I’ll have to watch out I don’t immediately invite 5 more cows onto the ranch!
Have you got (too) many ‘cows’ on the go right now?