The Little Story: To meditate alone with no interruptions, a monk decided to go to a nearby lake. He took a boat and moored it in the middle of the lake, closed his eyes and began meditating. After a few hours of uninterrupted solitude passed and he was in a deep meditative state, when suddenly, he felt the bump of another boat colliding with his own. His eyes were closed still, but he was agitated, and felt his anger rising. By the time he opened his eyes, he was about to scream at the boatman who had so carelessly disturbed his meditation. On opening his eyes, however, he was startled to find that it was just another empty boat that probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake.
That moment the monk had a profound realization: all the anger was within him; it merely needed the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him. And that moment on, whenever he came across someone who irritated or provoked him to anger, he reminded himself that the other person was merely an empty boat; it is he who has the choice to react independent of the whatever the other person did.
There have been times when I would feel frustrated and hopeless about things and myself, and it gave way to so much anger I didn’t know I was capable of. It is easy when you think you have a wrongdoer in your life to blame. But in absence any villains, one confronts the stark reality of one’s own nature. After the fact, realizing how it was making others feel would kill me. I felt powerless and at mercy of this intensity of the emotion I had no explanation for. Thats when I stumbled upon this story.
It hit me in the head like a brick. Past the cleverness of the story and the intellectual stimulation such stories might give, a space needs to be created for a lot of work to be done on self: take it in, assimilate the knowledge, contemplate on it until it shines back out as wisdom, becoming a part of one’s nature.
I wonder if you can relate to it…