Not at all. It is not about should or shouldn’t. However, if there was a realization and seeing through the illusory “I” and the delusion of attachment falls away, then “you” might not be attached to how things turn out. If you understood how changeable “fortune” can be, then you may not be attached to how things work out or label it as good or bad. It is not about should or shouldn’t, it is about understanding and realization.
Let me first clarify that there is a difference between caring and being attached. Say you are playing Yahtzee with friends. You might care to win, but you are not attached to winning. That is to say, in losing – it is not a big deal nor does the loss adversely affect your day. Winning or losing Yahtzee doesn’t matter, so it is easy to see this. However, the same could be said about “bigger” issues.
It comes down to a concept in Karma Yoga…to act without attachments to the fruits of action. We can act, but we don’t have direct control over the results or what comes from that action. So act for the sake of the action itself, not expecting or feeling you are owed results (the fruit of action).
In this way, it is about the journey…not the destination. In the west (particularly in the US), we are very focused on results and destinations. However, this causes a lot of suffering because people say they can not be happy until something comes to pass. Future seeking will never allow you to be happy. You can only be happy here and now. You can enjoy the journey instead of worrying about the destination.
So often what people mean when they say they care is that they are attached. I am pointing to a non-attached caring. You do what you can and do your best, but leave the results/destination to God. This is what practitioners of Karma Yoga do. They act, but leave the results/fruits of action to God. If you find yourself with a totally different result or in a totally different destination, then it is accepted as God’s will.
Not that you give up (necessarily), because it may be God’s will that you work at it a bit longer…or try again. It is that what-is (this present moment) is accepted and surrendered to…whatever it is. It is from here and now, we can act for a different future. You do not get to a future you would like to see by resisting the present, but only by accepting and working with the present.
Our viewpoint is often too short and narrow to really know how things are working out. We want to label it as good or bad…success or failure…often before the time is ripe. Who knows if it is good or bad?
There was once a farmer who owned a horse. One day his horse runs away. His neighbor comes over and says, “I’m so sorry about your horse. That was bad luck.” And the farmer simply replies “who knows if it is good or bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing the farmer owns.
But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 wild horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “who knows if it is good or bad?”
The next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son. What bad luck!” The farmer repeats: “who knows if it is good or bad?”
The next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg.
Our view is like this…what do you mean when you say, “how things work out”? Those things are only for the moment and those things may lead to the exact opposite “subjective” outcome in future…like the horse story. “How things worked out” could flop back and forth from good to bad depending on the specific point in time. Who knows if it is good or bad?
When I am asked, “are you saying that I shouldn’t really care about how things work out”, my immediate response is that I don’t really care about whether you care or not about how things work out. Depending upon understanding and realization, you may be attached or non-attached…care or not care how things turn out. I would rather you be focused on realization and understanding and let the rest take care of itself.