Excerpts - Good or Bad? - Arabian Horse Story
Excerpt from Daytona Beach Workshop 4/21/84*
(*Audience participation is in parentheses--notations in brackets have been added for clarification )
[In this workshop someone is talking about not being able to help feelings and emotions that come up. Dr. Bob clarifies that something one may see as "bad” which brings "bad" emotions may be very pleasant to someone else. He offers this little story which illustrates a point. If one remembers this little story, it can alleviate a lot of predicting and analyzing and aid one to see circumstances with a neutral viewpoint.]
It is said that there was once a gentleman in the middle east. His only possession that really amounted to anything for him, his wife and son, who lived in a little hovel, was a gorgeous Arabian mare. The mare was absolute perfection.
The neighbors always came by and said how lucky he was to have this one beautiful mare. He said he didn't know whether it was good or bad, he just knew he had this lovely mare.
Well, one night she broke out of the corral and when he got up the next morning, he discovered that she was gone. All the neighbors came by and said how terrible, how bad it was that the mare was gone. He said he didn't know whether it was good or bad, all he knew was that the mare was gone.
One morning about a week and a half later, she came back and had seven beautiful Arab stallions with her. She brought those in the corral with her. They were all smitten with her, so they went in the corral too. Now all the neighbors came by and said what wonderful luck he had. They said, "You have these seven beautiful stallions along with your mare back.
He said, "I don't know whether it's "good" or "bad", all I know is I got mare back and seven stallions with her."
So while they looked them over, the son decided to break these stallions so they could be ridden and they could sell them. One of the stallions threw him and broke his leg. So he was laid up with a broken leg. They didn't have those little pins they use now so you could get up and go. He was laid up with a splint.
The neighbors came by and said, "That's bad, your son has a broken leg."
He said, "I don't know whether it's good or bad, I just know my son has a broken leg.
About this time the king sent his men through the area and took all able-bodied young men to send them on one of his war ventures. The son couldn't go because he had a broken leg. The neighbor's sons all had to go.
The neighbors came over and said how lucky the man was because his son didn't have to go because he had a broken leg. He said, "I don't know whether it's good or bad, I just know my son has a broken leg and didn't have to go with the Army.
Then Dr. Bob says: "We can go on with this as long as you want to go." "The point is that you don't know what's "good" and you don't know what's "bad"; and the quicker you get that through your head, the better off you'll be.
(But he just kept reporting "what is.")
You can always report "what is"; and you don't know whether it's good or bad. You know it "is". But you don't know what's good and bad because you don't know the outcome down the road--two days, two months, two or twenty years from now!