The Row Boat is Empty

What we think of as wisdom, is often a clarity of perspective.

In Judith Lasater’s book Living Your Yoga, she shares a Zen story that really shifted how I saw things. Here it is:

empty row boat

One day, a man is in his rowboat on a lake, and it begins to get foggy. Through the fog, he sees another boat coming down the towards him. The boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster.

He starts to shout out, but the boat keeps coming and smashes right into him. The man gets angry and strains to see who was so thoughtless and stupid! And then he sees that the other boat was empty. His anger collapses in that moment.

This is a classic story on our whole life situation…

There are a lot of empty boats out there.

There are a lot of angry people feeling like victims.

Just as an empty boat that rams into us isn’t targeting us, so too, people who act unkindly are often driven along by the unconscious pain inside of them.

By pausing and stepping back, we can find our middle ground and clarity of perspective.

Mantra for Today: “The rowboat is empty”

33 thoughts on “The Row Boat is Empty

  1. Val, I love the message here.
    The story touched a chord as I was out in a beach in dense fog the other day and witnessed a ‘tourist’ launching his kayak and disappearing into the rocky sea.
    I was thinking about him for hours and was so relieved when he drove passed me with the kayak on the roof rack still in a fog!
    We simply can’t govern other peoples actions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree and try to live with that premise, that how others treat me (rude, cutting me off in traffic, etc.) is a reflection on them, not me… but “the rowboat is empty” is a much easier way to see that all have our own path and I can only control mine! Loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear from you ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s