Once upon a time there was a farmer who had some mouldy hay left over for his cows.
He didn’t have much money, so he wanted to make sure his cows ate the hay… fresh cow food was not cheap where he was.
So, he put the mouldy hay out, but to his dismay, the cows didn’t touch it. They knew it was mouldy and wanted the delicious fresh hay they were used to.
Then, he came up with a clever plan. He mixed up some of the fresh hay with the mouldy hay. That way, the cows would probably not suspect it’s mouldy, and would go ahead and eat it.
But his cunning plan didn’t work! They push away the mouldy hay and ate the fresh stuff.
The cows were too smart.
Then, as he watched his cows, he noticed they often poked their head out, through the fencing to try and reach the hay outside of their paddock. There was other perfectly good hay available within the paddock. But they were not fully happy with that. They wanted to try and get to the hay that was just out of reach.
So, he had a genius plan.
He placed the mouldy hay outside of the fenced area, so it was almost completely out of reach… but if they stretched their head through the gaps in the fence, they could eat it.
And you know what happened. They stretched hard to try and reach the mouldy hay, and happily ate it all!
We always desire what’s out of reach.
We want what we don’t have, without thinking about all the disadvantages the new situation or person or experience will have on us. We are often reaching out to eat mouldy hay!
Your Work Is Good Enough… or Enjoy No Work!
Do you really need to change your job? What you have may be good enough!
There’s research to show it’s not so much what kind of work you have, but your attitude at work that makes the difference. You could be a simple cleaner, but if see how your work helps people to enjoy a cleaner, more organised environment, then you’re a happy cleaner! Check out the article on job, career or calling.
And if you’re out of work, think about all the free time you have! You may get some small financial benefits to cover basic accommodation and food… and with all the free time you have, you can learn a new skill, meditate more and go for nice walks with friends. People with jobs only have a few weeks off a year, if they’re lucky, and don’t have any free time ever!
Just look at how stressed your friends are on a monday morning at 9am to remind you that perhaps things aren't as bad as you think.
Your Relationship Status is Good Enough
Are you single? That’s great! I am too! You have the freedom to do whatever you want. At any time, you can go anywhere you like, without having to ask permission from anyone. You don’t have to waste money on extra presents and dinners…and you don’t have to deal with all the massive stresses that go along with being in a relationship. When things don't work out, they can be the cause of so much suffering. If you're single, no worries for you there!
Are you in a relationship or married? Wonderful! You don’t need to constantly seek the company of others because you have a partner. You can practice your mindfulness and kindfulness skills. You can grow emotionally and spiritually, whatever your partner is like. Ultimately all men and women are the same so try and be happy with who you have. It's a great practice in letting go of your ego and learning to be kind to yourself and each other.
Do You Have Enough Children?
Want kids? Why! Do you really want to fill up every single waking hour of your day with looking after children? You’re quite likely to worry about your kids for the rest of your life. Are they okay? Why are they not home yet? Have they done their homework?
And if you have children, do you really need more of them?! Doesn’t the planet have enough human beings on it already? And with the state of the world at the moment, isn’t it better to just live your life as best you can with the children you already have?
If you have kids, that’s great too. You are nurturing a human being, hopefully in a mindful and kindful way if you are the sort of person that reads this blog. You're practising letting go of your own personal desire to bring a beautiful being into the world - that's a lovely practice to do too.
You Have Enough Money
Rich people have rich people suffering and poor people have poor people suffering. If anything, go for the middle way. Science has also shown that an average salary to meet your basic needs is ideal for your wellbeing and happiness.
Have you not noticed how stressed rich people are? They are constantly trying to work out how to invest their money. And people are always after them, asking to borrow money or invest in this business or that venture. And most of them work so hard, to try and make even more money! They have huge bills because of their big cars and houses and so can often feel trapped. If wealth created happiness, then why are there so many miserable rich people out there? More money isn't usually the anser.
And poor people aren’t happy just because they're poor either. If you're rich, don't idealise the poor. They struggle to pay their bills each month, and often worrying about how to make ends meet.
So if you’re rich, sell the big house and car, and live more simply. Be happy with what you have - you have enough.
And if you’re poor, be content with the fact that you have enough already. If you’re reading this blog post, you have enough money for accessing a computer, internet and time as well! So you’re quite rich already. And there are so many other forms of capital - time, community, friendship, nature, education, happiness, peace and kindness. These are the qualities to measure your life with - not just your bank balance.
Yes, poverty is a real problem if you don't have enough to meet basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. But ultimately that's all you need. So if you have that, be grateful and that's enough!
You Are Famous And Sexy Enough
Do you want fame? Why! Don’t judge people on their outer circumstances. Have you not noticed famous people with not only fame but great wealth and amazing relationships still suffer so much inside, they sometimes even contemplate suicide?
That’s because it’s people inner world that matters most - not their outer circumstances. Don't judge people on flashy pics in magazines - you know it's all been photoshopped anyways!
If you’re famous, you’re constantly being harassed. You can’t even walk down the street without people stopping you for a selfie or a chat. You lose so much of your freedom. And you don’t know if people love you for who you are, or just for your fame.
And beauty. Why do you want to be more sexy? Beautiful people are constantly being harrassed. I'm so grateful I'm not too hot! When someone meets a beautiful person, all they see is their beauty...not their personality or intelligence.
Wear less makeup. Go easy in the gym. Be content with your body and be grateful you're not a superhot supermodel being chased around left, right and centre. That's the opposite of peace. That's stress!
Promotion and Gaining Power & Influence
Why do you want to get promoted at work? You’ll end up with more responsibilities and more stress! Aren’t you stressed enough already?
You’ll probably have to work longer hours and have less time with your friends and family. And with the extra money, you’re more likely end up getting a bigger flat or house or car, and then you’re stuck in that trap! So practice being content with the position you have.
Be content with your position and enjoy the extra free time to be mindful, spend time with friends and family and maybe do a spot of volunteer work instead.
You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. That’s enough!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below. I promise to read and respond to them all.
Please note, no cows were hurt in the writing of this blog post.