Saturday, December 31, 2005

Rescued volunteer

Rescued volunteer, Amherst, NH, September 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/40 sec @ f7.9, ISO 64, with flash © Steven Crisp

This is what is known as a "volunteer" from the bird feeder. A sunflower seed, meant as food for our feathered friends, falls instead to the lawn below. And then against almost all odds -- not to mention the lawn mower -- just happens to get enough water, enough, shall we say, bird fertilizer, and stays close enough to the bird feeder pole such that it can mature and grow.

When it came time for some landscaping this year, we had to move the bird feeders, which would of course mean the death of our little volunteer, but for some reason I potted him up, and placed him against our house, in the one spot that wasn't being excavated or bull-dozed.

So what does it mean? What is the significance of this one "volunteer" being rescued (there were others that weren't) for the season? Only this. It was by no "action" on its part, no special drive or purpose, no unique will to survive that this happened. Rather, this sunflower seed was just "being", not "doing" and "trying" or "worrying" or "hoping"; just being its inherent sunflower-nature.

So what then is its purpose? What is the significance of this rescue? Only this. By it just "being" we have this beautiful sunflower photo that can be admired. Indeed, that is the essence of it. Everything just "is" and if we are quiet and present, we can see the beauty in it.

Some have called this beauty by other names: "perfection", "Divine Plan", "Grace", etc. But these are just words and concepts, typically mis-construed, to try to describe the inherent beauty found through acceptance. Accept that "it is what it is" and open your eyes to the beauty all around you, every day, wherever you are.

Happy New Year, friends.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Winter sky

Winter sky, Amherst, NH, December 2005, Sony DSC-T7, Exposure 1/50 sec @ f3.5, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

Just goes to show that you should always carry your camera with you. Here I was snowblowing my driveway, trying to get done before I lost all daylight. But the storm which had dumped more than a foot of snow, at times under near blizzard conditions, had blown away as fast as it had blown in. Leaving only a few wispy clouds remaining as the sun was setting. And yielding this winter postcard.

Happy Holidays to all.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Buddha on the boat

Buddha on the boat, Chiang Saen, Thailand, November 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/500 sec @ f5.6, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

It is hard to get an appreciation for the scale of this Buddha. (His right hand is probably about as big as a person.) I actually scanned the collective consciousness (er, Google), for some facts, but couldn't find anything on it, I think because it is brand new. It was a very impressive sight to see.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday Greetings

2005 Crisp Holiday Photos © Steven Crisp
Please click on the montage to see the larger version


Well would you look at that. Next year, I guess I'll move the holiday newsletter and photos right on to the blog. Seems to work like a charm. Isn't technology wonderful?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Eye to eye

Eye to eye, Elephant camp, Anantara resort, Chian Saen, Thailand, November 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/400 sec @ f4.4, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

These are magnificent creatures. And you can definitely see their intelligence and their personality, by watching their eyes. Their skin was not at all as I expected -- much softer, but interspersed with random hairs everywhere. Elephants have about the same lifespan as humans; this one is about 65 years old, if I remember correctly. The elephants in this camp have been trained to understand about 40 words -- commands for movement, getting up, sitting down, even blowing water out of their trunk. It was great fun to work with them. I will report more on my experiences in a few days on my Just Un-Do It blog.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The stealth present

Alli's quilt present, Amherst, NH, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 42/2521 sec @ f2.8, ISO 71, with flash © Steven Crisp

This year we all had our lists, and we all got what we wanted (and expected). But Allison had something special planned for Carol. With much stealthiness and subterfuge, she worked at our neighbor's house under false pretenses, and having never sewn before, made this wonderful quilt for her Mom. It is spectacular, and it was a special treat for the master quilter. As Alli said on her card: "Like mother, like daughter."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Crisp Family Xmas

2005 Crisp Family Xmas, Amherst, NH, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 42/2521 sec @ f2.8, ISO 51, with flash © Steven Crisp

The presents unwrapped, some eggnog consumed, dinner with family and friends, and much gratitude for a Merry Xmas and wonderful year.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, Crisp residence, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 3253/2948 sec @ f2.6, ISO 50, with flash © Steven Crisp

Well, the presents are finally under the tree (Santa comes early to the Crisp house). And now we wait to rip off the paper with which we just wrapped them. Such is the ebb and flow of life. Essential then to enjoy the journey, since you have already seen the destination. That is where you came from.

So relish the wrapping, and savor the unwrapping. Enjoy the selecting, and rejoice in the giving. And should the harried pace become a problem, just reflect that there is only one thing to be done now, and I hope that you enjoy it. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The addiction

The Addiction, Gourmet Mints, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 42/2521 sec @ f5.6, ISO 51, with flash © Steven Crisp

Becha can't eat just one. At least I know I can't. Have you ever had these things -- called gourmet mints. A little bigger than an M+M, chocolate center with a thin mint coating, and a hard candy shell. This is the devil's food ;-)

Addiction is an interesting phenomenon. Obviously both a psychological and physiological component. And to imagine that I get physical cravings for this garbage (nutritionally speaking) is amazing; for some reason my body is trying to trick me into eating more unhealthy stuff. Why does it do that? It's not in its long term interest, I can assure you. I can only imagine what smokers and drug users go through when they need their "fix".

So I've decided to go cold turkey. This is the closest I plan to get to gourmet mints again (they are pretty, aren't they?). At least until I can figure out what will enable me to conquer their addicting quality. Sounds like something worth meditating on. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A beautiful accident

Bye-bye '93, St. Albans, VT, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 57/16474 sec @ f3.6, ISO 50, no flash © Steven Crisp

It's a parent's worst nightmare. A phone call in the middle of the night to report a car accident. This photo shows the result.

So how can such a crash be beautiful? Well, in this case it was the rear-end of the car that hit the rocks, and my son Greg was not injured. Nor was anyone else involved. The only casualty was our '93 Honda (totalled), but it had lived a good and full (175K miles) life.

I picked Greg up this morning, and I was especially glad to give him a hug. We talked about existentialism all the way home. Oh, what a beautiful accident, and the ability to appreciate its beauty makes life rich indeed. Happy Holidays to all. Give your kids a big hug.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Solstice shadows

Solstice Shadows, Amherst, NH, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 3/2143 sec @ f2.6, ISO 50, no flash © Steven Crisp

Today is the winter solstice, which in our country marks the beginning of winter (ha! - they haven't visited Amherst, NH this year). In China, it actually marks the middle of winter, which seems about right to me.

The sun is at its lowest point in the sky, hence these long shadows on the snow. And of course this is the shortest day of the year. So that means we should be heading in the direction of Spring tomorrow, right? Call me when we get there. I'm going to curl up by the fire in the mean-time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Chilly Gargoyle

Chilly Gargoyle, Amherst, NH, December 2005, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure unrecorded @ f4.0, ISO 50, with flash © Steven Crisp

Symbols are interesting things. Some people see gargoyles (actually, this would be called a 'grotesque' since it does not serve a purpose) and think they are unholy. Of course, they were originally carved on cathedral drain spouts to ward off evil spirits or the devil. Where do our superstitions come from? Who knows, I just like having this guy adorn the top of our driveway. But he sure does look chilly, doesn't he?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Iceberg, Ho!

Iceberg, Ho!, Bay Bulls, Newfoundland, Canada, July 2003, Sony Cybershot, Exposure 1/640 sec @ f10.0, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp

Those are seagulls you might be able to see on the left side of the iceberg -- to give you an idea of scale. So this has melted down to just a little guy at this point in its journey. But icebergs floating by nevertheless ... some would shout "Global Warming!" I'm not particularly interested in furthering that agenda, but instead offer a related thought. I think a reasonable question is by what right does anyone consume a disproportionate share of the earth's finite resources? And what are you doing to keep such consumption in check?

I received an e-mail today with a nice article on some eco-friendly building in the UK. Do you think such an approach can ultimately have an effect on our housing strategy? Think 1970s oil embargo and the immediate switch to small, fuel efficient cars that left the Big 3 US auto makers wondering what hit them, saying "but we only build what the consumer wants ..." Hey, similar situation again with Hummers and mega-SUVs and now the trend toward Hybrids. Well, perhaps this approach to housing could also spark something of a revolution. Have a look:

Inspiration of the Day:

Bedzed (Beddington Zero Energy Development), is the United Kingdom's most revolutionary housing. Bar none. For a start, Bedzed is Britain's first carbon-neutral neighborhood, which means that it contributes zilch to global warming. You could go crazy with the shower thermostat, switch on every light in the house, yet sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that you're still saving the planet.


Read the article here.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Precipice

The Precipice, Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada, July 2003, Sony Cybershot, Exposure 1/130 sec @ f5.6, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp

Hesitantly, step by step, inch by inch
You move forward while clinging to the rocks
you edge yourself tantalizingly, terrifyingly close
to the precipice, and peek into the abyss

All around you the wind is whirling about,
Pushing you closer, calling you over, shouting at you
You feel chilled, from the cold or your own fear?
You look over the edge, and pray not to fall

You see the waves, surging in and out, flashing
captivating colors of turquoise and aquamarine
You feel the power of the sea, hear its throaty roar,
smell its salty breath, so close it could take you if it wished

Or if you wished. You understand its message ... its grace.
A sacrifice is what it asks - not here, not now, but soon
And into greater depths, where siren songs are muted,
And artists palettes are muddied. Deeper, deeper still.

Over the precipice of your mind, and into the fertile void
Let go of your ego's ledge, and jump with all abandon.
You must surrender who you are, and freefall to your source
At once terrifying, and at the same time serenely beautiful.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Panic Perspective

Panic Perspective, Tokyo Tower, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, December 2003, Sony Cybershot, Exposure 1/125 sec @ f2.8, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp

Have you ever tried this? I've been in a few high buildings and towers that have a small section of their floor made out of glass so you can look straight down, and even walk over a "window", as shown in this picture. It gave me a strange sensation. I've watched many people who can't even bring themselves to step onto the glass. And though I'll do that, it still comes with a variety of uncontrollable thoughts -- based on fear and panic.

Imagine that. You sit over to the side, secure in the rational knowledge that the tower is structurally sound. In this case, it's been there for over 50 years, so you "know" it is not going to fall down. So there you are, reasonably comfortable in the corner, and you look over to this small glass window in the floor. You see people walking around it, then giggling, and walking over it. You see a few brave souls jumping up and down on it. Once again, you know it has been over-engineered so that it will not fail, and yet that panic emotion arises in you anyway, to some degree, as you step onto the glass and look down.

How can it be that we have this well-trained mind, and yet we can't fully control our base emotions? I realize they are instinctual, to help protect us from falling into the abyss, and I also realize that we do control them to the point where most of us can step on the glass. But why can't my rational mind, my "higher" mind, tell these emotions to just cool it, and not to bother me. Like the smoke detector in my house, that beeps when the battery dies: there seems to be no way to completely silence this mind that is trying to protect you from harm.

Or is there? My curiosity was peaked so I did something that was not possible only a few years ago (we are so lucky) -- I Googled it! And sure enough, I came upon an article that makes specific use of mindfulness techniques to focus on the present moment. Amazing to me because of my recent exploration into the Now (see this post for more information).

Anyways, I found the whole experience fascinating, and believe it can give us some direct experiential insight into how the mind works, and what to do about it! Enjoy your ability to scale new heights!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Footsteps in the sand

Footsteps in the Sand, Hana, Maui, Hawaii, February 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/500 sec @ f7.0, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

Do you remember walking barefoot on the beach?
Listening to the surf, soothing you with its voice
Did you feel its warm, moist sand squeeze
Between your toes and gently caress your soles?

Soon they are gone, wiped clean by the waves
Do you mourn for them, and wish they would remain?
Let go of this, and all you are attached to
It is no secret, no surprise; this is the flow of life itself

From the snow that falls on an isolated cave
Hidden high in the mountains where a recluse
Meditates through a cold and desolate winter
Until spring returns and the ice begins to drip, drip, drip

So the brook can babble and the stream can shout
And the river calls to fields of fragrant flowers
Swelling ponds and lakes, and feeding waterfalls
While bringing life to creatures great and small

It continues its journey -- its destiny,
Relentlessly, dispassionately, to the sea, to the sea
Where once again it will erase your footsteps
And one day, it will cleanse your soul

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Frozen branches

Frozen Branches, Amherst, NH, February 2002, Sony Cybershot, Exposure 1/160 sec @ f10.0, ISO 100, with flash © Steven Crisp

Imgaine if you will this picture represents the "Now". Frozen in time, like these branches, indeed beyond time, for time does not exist.

Now imagine what came before -- realizing it is no longer real, but just a memory trace. It was cold, hovering just below freezing. Clouds covered the sky, the air was thick with moisture, and then it came -- it could be rain, or snow, but this time was ice -- time frozen ice.

When the dawn came, the clouds had retreated, and sun glistened through the branches beneath a vibrant azure sky. Reflections of beauty everywhere as the ice glistened like a treasure chest of diamonds. Every living thing caught outside in that storm was ice-covered. And now the sun gave it radiance, and gave it warmth, slowly, but surely.

If you slept in that morning, you would have missed it. The trees are alive and they shake their tender limbs, and remove their frozen coats just as the wind had blown away their colorful autumn sweaters.

Life is beautiful, and is captured here, in the Now. Don't oversleep. Don't miss it. It is the only Now you've got. But it is always there for you -- if you would just awaken to it!

But how? How you ask? Look around, it is written everywhere and has all been said before. My own experience is found here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A swan's life

Swan in the Moat, Imperial Garden, Tokyo, Japan, February 2003, Sony Cybershot, Exposure 1/320 sec @ f8.0, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp

That's you! You are that swan! Beautiful, graceful, bathed in sunlight. Yet swimming in those dark waters, with all manner of slithery, slimy life underneath, the bottom feeders, just inches from your tender underbelly.

Die to them both -- the world is not black and white -- you know that deep inside. The world just 'is.' Look within and you will realize that it is all beautiful, and your true self, which is found beyond the world of black and white, is indeed radiant.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Your Life Story

The Colloseum, Rome, Italy, September 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/320 sec @ f4.3, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

OK, so I really don't have a picture for this thoughtful quote. But since it's about imagining your life being seen by many thousands of people, I thought the Colloseum might fit -- kinda, sorta, maybe. Plus I like the photo. But even more I like the sentiment shared by a gentle soul who calls himself The Happy Guy. See what you think, and please share your comments.

YOUR LIFE STORY

Ever flip on the biography channel and marvel at the great lives of history?

Every one of us lives a great life. As humans, we have unique super-powers that most creature do not have.

We can control so many aspects of our own lives if we choose to.

We can think great thoughts if we choose to.

We can know God if we choose to.

We can choose to make the world a better place.

We can love deeply every person we choose to.

We can rise above our situations, if we choose to.

Imagine the story of your life on the biography channel. Now think ... what do you choose to do?


David Leonhardt,
The Happy Guy

Monday, December 12, 2005

Red and Purple Sunset

Red and Purple Sunset, Rockport, MA, August 2003, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/160 sec @ f4.6, ISO 160, no flash © Steven Crisp

Consider the wisdom in these words from a Native American:

"Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I come before You, one of Your children, I am small and weak. I need Your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things You have made, my ears sharp to hear Your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things You have taught my people, the lesson You have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me ever ready to come to You, with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to You without shame."

Yellow Hawk, Sioux Chief

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Essence of Buddhism

Big Golden Buddha, Chiang Saen, Thailand, November 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/250 sec @ f5.0, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

What is the essence of Buddhism?
"Respect all forms of life, and then compassion and affection toward all sentient beings, with the understanding that everything is interdependent - so my happiness and suffering, my well-being, very much have to do with others."

Dalai Lama

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Happiness is a blank mind

Wet rocks, Hana Bay, Maui, HI, February 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/40 sec @ f2.8, ISO 200 with flash © Steven Crisp

What were you expecting? What do you think this is? It certainly would make a helluva jigsaw puzzle. Use the lack of clarity about what the subject is, along with an examination of your expectations, and your judgment as to whether it is beauty or not, as impetus to contemplate the following:

"Reflect upon this strange secret of happiness: If you do not know what will make you happy, do you have a problem? No. Only when you assume that you know are you in conflict, for then you must decide between several possible courses. You must decide whether to marry or not, whether to move to another city, and so on. But suppose your mind was blank, having no possibilities. In that blankness is quietness."

Vernon Howard

Friday, December 09, 2005

Cloud breath

Cloud Breath, Amherst, NH, March 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/500 sec @ f5.6, ISO 64, no flash © Steven Crisp

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.


Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happiness is a butterfly

Swallowtail at Tucker Pond, Tucker Pond, Warner, NH, June 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/50 sec @ f7.8, ISO 64, with flash © Steven Crisp

Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864 American Novelist)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Look closely for the beauty

Liquid Sunshine, Keanae Arboretum, Maui, Hawaii, February 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/125 sec @ f2.8, ISO 64, no flash, © Steven Crisp

Sometimes, to see the beauty, you just need to look a little closer. This was just one philodendron leaf out of hundreds, climbing one of many trees. But as the sun broke through the clouds, some raindrops were still holding on for dear life, and it struck me as beautiful.

I find that true for just about everything in life. Seen from one perspective, people and things are just cogs and gears for the daily grind. But seen from a closer perspective, with proper attention, their beauty shines through.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fallen leaves

Fallen Leaves, Lexington, MA, November 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/25 sec @ f4.4, ISO 200, no flash, © Steven Crisp

I asked the leaf whether it was scared because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, "No. During the whole spring and summer I was very alive. I worked hard and helped nourish the tree, and much of me is in the tree. Please do not say that I am just this form, because the form of leaf is only a tiny part of me. I am the whole tree. I know that I am already inside the tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. That's why I do not worry. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, 'I will see you again very soon.'"

That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave this branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, becuase as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, and I knew that we have a lot to learn from the leaf.


Quoted from Thich Nhat Hanh, Essential Writings, 2001, p. 65.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Fooling the eyes

Incredible Fresco, Glory of Saint Ignatius fresco painted by Andrea Pozzo in 1685, in the nave vault of St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, Rome, Italy, September 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/30 sec @ f2.8, ISO 400, no flash, © Steven Crisp

I am amazed at the ability of some artists to turn two dimensions into three dimensions for the human eye. Can you not see arms and limbs reaching out of this picture? And yet it is only an illusion, but such a beautiful one it is.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Seeing beauty in everyday objects

Purple Umbrella, Doi Tung Royal Villa, Golden Triangle area of Thailand, November 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/50 sec @ f2.8, ISO 64, no flash, © Steven Crisp

It is relatively easy to see beauty in nature; you just have to be still, be present, and be open to see it. You will find it everywhere.

It is a little harder with inanimate, everyday objects, but the beauty is still there. You might see it in the color, or the shape, or the contrast, or the symmetry. Keep looking, with a child's eye, and you will see it.

But slow down. Be aware so you don't miss it. So many of us speed through life seeing only a blur of man-made objects, merged into a disharmonious collage, telescopically compressed onto the focal plane of your eye without any dimension, texture, energy, or meaning.

If you can find the beauty in everyday objects, at the same time you will find lightness in your step, a smile on your face, a kind word on your lips, and joy in your heart.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Finding God in the Park

Butterfly in the Garden, Amherst, NH, July 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/40 sec @ f7.9, ISO 64, with flash, © Steven Crisp

Parks and gardens can be such magical and inspirational places. See a related post at my Just Un-Do It blog, entitled Finding Buddha in the Garden, for what I mean. Remembering all of that made me think of this story, another from Michael Josephson:
Finding God in the Park

Abe was fiercely independent even at the age of 85, but after a mild stroke his son insisted that he move in with him. Abe missed going to the park near his old apartment and one Saturday he set out to find it. When he became disoriented, he asked a young boy where the park was. The boy, named Timmy, said that he`d like to take Abe there, but that he didn`t have time because he was out looking for God. Timmy said he needed to talk to him about why his parents were getting a divorce.

"Maybe God is in the park," said the old man. "I`d like to talk to him too about why he has made me useless." And so they set off together to find God.

At the park Timmy began to cry about the divorce and Abe lovingly held his face in both hands and looked him straight in the eyes. "Timmy, I don`t know why bad things happen, but I know it`s not because of you. I know you`re a good boy and your parents love you and you`ll be OK."

"Are you sure?"

"I`m sure."

Timmy gave Abe a big hug and said, "I`m so glad I met you. Thanks. I think I can go now."

From across the street Timmy`s mother had seen them hug so she approached him and in a worried voice said, "Who was that old man?"

"I think he`s God," Timmy said.

"Did he say that?" the mother demanded.

"No, but when he touched me and told me I`m going to be OK, I really felt better. I think only God can do that."

When Abe got home, his son in a scolding voice asked, "Where were you?"

"I was in the park with God," Abe said.

"Really? What makes you think you were with God?"

"Because he sent me a boy who needed me, and when the boy hugged me I felt God telling me I wasn`t useless."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Not My Cows

Not My Cows, Amherst, NH, July 2003, Sony Cybershot, Exposure 1/80 sec @ f5.6, ISO 200, no flash, © Steven Crisp

One day the Buddha was sitting with a group of monks in the woods near the city of Sravasti. They had just finished a mindful lunch and were engaged in a small Dharma discussion. Suddenly a farmer came by. He was visibly upset and shouted, "Monks! Have you seen my cows?"

The Buddha said, "No, we have not seen any cows."

"You know, monks," the man said, "I am the most miserable person on Earth. For some reason, my twelve cows all ran away this morning. I have only two acres of sesame seed plants and this year the insects ate them all. I think I am going to kill myself." The farmer was really suffering.

Out of compasision, the Buddha said, "No, sir, we have not seen your cows. Maybe you should look for them elsewhere."

When the farmer was gone, the Buddha turned to his monks, looked at them deeply, smiled, and said, "Dear friends, do you know that you are the happiest people on Earth? You don't have any cows to lose."

So, my friends, if you have any cows, look deeply into the nature of your cows to see whether they have been bringing you happiness or suffering. You should learn the art of releasing your cows. The key thing is to let go and free yourself.
As quoted by Thich Nhat Hanh, in Essential Writings, 2001, pp. 86-87