A farmer ploughed the land with a hoe day after day, year after year. One day he couldn't help but ask himself, "Why am I working so hard? Where is my life heading?"
Shortly afterwards, a monk came to his house to ask for alms. The monk looked free and happy, which deeply impressed the farmer. This life seemed admirable and the farmer made up his mind to become a monk.
He went back to his house, packed up his hoe and left his house at last. However, he could not stop thinking of his hoe whenever he came across green paddies. Every now and then, he would rush back home just to feel the hoe and then return to the temple.
After seven or eight years, he felt that something was missing. "Why am I not yet a free and happy monk? There is something I haven't let go of. Now it's time to get rid of my burden!" He rushed back home, picked up the hoe and threw it into a lake. "I succeeded!", he couldn't resist crying out loud.
Just at that moment, a king, happened to pass by. He overheard the cry and went to ask the monk, "What did you win? Why are you so cheerful?" "I have conquered the devils in my heart. I have let all my burdens go."
~ Master Cheng Yen
There's a victory in letting go of your expectations.
~ Mike White