The Two Farmers: A Mindfulness Analogy

The Two Farmers

The tale of the two farmers reminds me of when a friend asked me what is mindfulness?  His question was so spontaneous that it caught me off guard.  That day what spontaneously came to mind was practically the analogy of the two farmers. 

Ploughing the field

Two farmers set out ploughing their field.  While ploughing their field right in the middle of their field they find a rock jutting out of the soil. 

On such an encounter one of the farmers abruptly stops.  He starts to think, “how am I going to plough the field with such a huge rock set right in the middle.”  He says to himself, “I know, I will remove it.”  He positions himself grabs the rock with his bare hands trying to dislodge it out of the ground, to no avail.  Frustrated by such thinking to himself he says, “I know, I will get a spade dig around it and when I reach the bottom, I will lever it out.”  He starts digging around it to no avail and all the while the rock is just getting bigger. 

Thinking again to himself he says, “I know, I will get a mechanical digger, sure that will do the trick.”  He acquires a mechanical digger and starts removing the soil and chipping at the rock.  Finally, he says with a smile on his face, “the rock is gone.”  He gets out of the digger and dusts his clothes.  Then looking around, he realises that by the time he had finished, there was no more “a field” to plough.

Cultivating the field     

Likewise, while ploughing his field the second farmer also encounters “a rock” in the middle.  He stops, looks at the rock, but never loses sight of the field.  He dislodges the plough and continues ploughing the field.  At the end of a hard day’s work.   He looks at the field and sees the rock.  He approaches it, sits on it and comes to the realisation of what a vantage point the rock is at giving him a view of the whole field.  Such is the cultivation of mindfulness.  Not only through the practice of meditation but also in our actions in everyday life.

Reflection – On two farmers

Likewise, in our everyday mindful endeavour’s our actions can reflect in one of two farmers.

Similarly, to the second farmer.  The essence of mindful action lies in the fact of an appreciation of what we got.  Coupled with genuine gratitude towards the fact that we’re alive.  Further, such appreciating and gratitude that we are alive.  Will help us make certain choices that not only affect our own lives in a positive manner.  But also, the lives of countless others. 

Reflect it is good to engage in a contemplative practice, whatever it is.  But if such a practice does not go beyond the cushion and reflect in our actions.  In helping, serving and an expressed loving compassion, not only for oneself but also for others.  What would be the use and meaning behind our contemplative practices?

What are your thoughts comment below?

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4 thoughts on “The Two Farmers: A Mindfulness Analogy”

  1. David Kinsella

    Speaking on behalf of myself, I sometimes find myself expecting myself to be happy all the time and everything perfect… to my disappointment, of course. Life is full of ups and downs, of course.
    Besides, sadness and other negative emotions are important for us as contrasts, to know what positive emotions are. We should only be concerned with doing our best and with what we have and the rest is in God’s hands, as they say. And if we don’t do harm to others, we can sleep with a clean conscience at night.
    One thing which I find fascinating is how we can be inspired and encouraged by other people’s stories and we can do the same to others with our stories… sometimes without realising it. We may be amazed how we give courage and insight to other people who may be going through the same situations or something similar. And, unbeknown to us, they remember us, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
    It relates to finding meaning in suffering by helping others and the psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, immediately comes to mind.
    I firmly believe that our testimonials of how we overcome our ‘rocks’ in the field leave impacts on other people. And other people on us, of course. There is a lot of good to be done and we certainly will be rewarded for it in the next life.

    1. Just love the story. It really highlights how important is to stop, observe and think.
      Everything has its purpose, we only need to recognize it. ❤️

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