Here is a lovely story I heard recently from my very good childhood friend.
A factory owner once gave a surprise payout to all his employees. Each one of them came up to him, thanked him, praised him and left him with a big smile. Each one, except one. Just one employee, neither thanked him nor praised him. And this got onto the factory owner’s nerves. He just couldn’t understand why this person would not come to thank him.
This kept playing on the owner’s mind over and over. A few months down the line, he announced a cut in salary for this employee. A few days passed, and he was shocked that the employee still never came to him – crying, arguing, or at the very least, demanding an explanation.
Perplexed, the factory owner decided to confront the employee about his unsettling behaviour. The employee said, “Sir, on the day you announced the bonus, my wife gave birth to our son, and I took the bonus as a stroke of luck brought by my child. On the day when you cut my pay, my mother passed away, and I took the pay cut as if she took away what belonged to her. Therefore, I am unaffected by the pay rise or the pay reduction.”
It is said that one of the hardest feats a true yogi can achieve, is to remain equanimous in the face of duality. Especially in the face of life’s opposites – joy versus sorrow, pain versus pleasure etc. Life is full of such extremes – with today’s pain leading to tomorrow’s pleasure which then leads to further pain and the cycle continues forever.
Once we accept and realise that life is cyclical, we will be able to objectively evaluate each situation life places us in – and respond appropriately. Moderation is the key – and if the good doesn’t matter much, the bad won’t either.