Posted in Trying to be Mindful

How the Two Villages Parable Teaches Us About Happiness

Can we choose to be happy or are we victims of our own environment?

This question has puzzled the major thinkers throughout history and I’m not about to give you an answer…I won’t pretend to know the answer but what I do know is that standing back and taking an objective look deep inside is a good place to start.

Will changing the environment make a significant change in my happiness?

When I travel on holiday overseas I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of other people I meet along the way and question my ability to lead such a life. A good example is my travel to India because this environment can be incredibly harsh yet here I have met some of the happiest people, ever… people who have very little and still are happy.

It may be connected to the moral beliefs, religion, having close family & extended family relationships, love of music and festivals, love of Indian food, patriotism for this great country. It could simply be the culture. For whatever reason this atmosphere is cathartic, positive and regenerative.

You can’t help but feel grateful and appreciative to be here when you see dwellings without many modern comforts but the greeting is warm and the food is made with pride.

I always feel more grounded in India and try to connect with the intrinsic belief that living in the present helps you to appreciate each day. That is when I find all worry about the past or the future melts away.

In my opinion, a positive and appreciative attitude can go a long way to creating a happy and healthy life. Starting each day with a positive affirmation appreciating the good things around you will set you up for a more open and welcoming persona that will attract similarly positive people.

To simply change our location will ultimately change very little.

It is ultimately our own attitudes, values, opinions, prejudices that determins our view of others and our view of the world around us.

Was it Aesop or Plato who wrote the Two Village parable? It serves to teach us that our mindset is important, if you focus on the bad that is exactly what you will find.

A traveller came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment. “What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger. “What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.” “Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveller trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked. “What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again. “They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.” “Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”

Please let me know what you think. Have you been able to overcome adversity or have you found it necessary to move to another village?


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