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 comments on “The Row Boat is Empty

  1. Great illustration of the folly of our thinking, with a better alternative. Thanks, Val. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A perfect & perfectly tru little wisdom story. Thanks Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Agreed Dennis. Thank you 🙏


  4. Wonderful zen story Val. A good reminder to see a wider perspective. Often the empty boats only crash into to us to wake us up and heal! 💚💚 Namaste friend 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel less foggy now, Val! Thanks for the beautiful boat and blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A boatiful parable. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so true, Val! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So many empty boats bombarding us daily. Excellent, Val. 💘

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Perfect mantra, Val. I’ll remember that. Thank you. Have a lovely Sunday. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this one, Val! Sometimes we do need to remember that it really isn’t “all about us.” Sometimes bad things just happen. But I love the image of the empty row boat!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 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

  12. suzicate

    Rule #1: Take nothing personally…Love the wisdom of the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely thoughtful post Val. We all have our own personal boat of problems – no one is free from difficulties even if on the surface they may appear trouble free.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 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

  15. Brilliant! There ARE a lot of empty boats out there. 😉


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