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ZEN Story: The Empty Boat

By Marcus Santer

I was driving to Axminster yesterday for a two-day course in how to use a Milling Machine.

On the way I had a driver tailgating me.

Honestly.

I reckon I could have opened my boot and slapped him on the head he was that close.

It was tempting to put my foot on the brake.

But then he’d probably have slammed into me causing an accident.

It was also tempting to slow the car to a stop, get out ask him what his major malfunction was.

Which would probably have ended up in a fight.

Luckily none of these things happened.

Because I was reminded of a Zen story about a man in a boat.

It goes like this:

The Empty Boat

A man is sat in his boat, fishing in the middle of a lake.

He notices another boat coming towards him.

Straight for him.

He reels in his line, waves his arms and shouts for the pilot of the boat to: LOOK OUT!

All to no avail.

The boat slams into him, nearly throwing him into the lake.

The man is angry, ready to give the boat owner a serious ticking off.

But then he notices the other boat is empty.

Starts laughing and goes back to fishing.

And the moral of this story?

Well, the driver tailgating me was an empty boat.

Annoying and distracting.

The lights are on, but nobody’s home.

Because they’re an empty boat.

And what do empty boats do?

They simply float about – pushed by invisible currents – and bump into others.

And there’s nothing you can do to change that.

Because they’re ignorant.

So the next time an empty boat ‘knocks’ into you.

Don’t get mad.

Don’t try and get even.

I mean, if an empty boat bumped into you fishing on a lake you wouldn’t get angry or take it personally would you?

So do the same with the empty boats you meet as you sail through life.

Simply realise there’s nothing you can do to change them.

And because there’s nobody home, there’s nobody to get angry or upset with.

Just get on with what you were getting on with.

As quickly as you can.

Bye for now

Marcus

P.S. If you want to join me in February for the 28 day advanced Qigong class focusing on the Cosmic Shower technique…

You’re running out of time.

Full details here.