Story: The Empty Boat
A monk decides to meditate alone, away from his monastery. He takes his boat out to the middle of the lake, moors it there, closes his eyes and begins his meditation.
After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the bump of another boat colliding with his own. With his eyes still closed, he senses his anger rising, and by the time he opens his eyes, he is ready to scream at the boatman who dared disturb his meditation.
But when he opens his eyes, he sees it’s an empty boat that had probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake.
At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization, and understands that the anger is within him; it merely needs the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him.
From then on, whenever he comes across someone who irritates him or provokes him to anger, he reminds himself, “The other person is merely an empty boat. The anger is within me.”
--Story has been copied here and there, I don't know where it really originated from. Tell me who and I will insert here.
Do I need to explain more? All emotions come from within us...
I'll give my own story.
You receive an inheritance.
Your parents leave behind $1,000,000 to you.
Are you happy? Probably, you would say, "YES!!!"
What if you have a brother who got $10,000,000 in the will.
Would you still be just as happy?
If your brother only got $100,000, would you be happier?
What if your parents are Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan?
They are billionaires and have left you only $1m.
Would you still be just as happy?
What if you found out that the rest of the money went to charitable organizations to eradicate illnesses?
Would you be less unhappy?
In the end, you still only have $1 million inheritance.
Anything else is created by you.
That does not mean external factors cannot make us unhappy.
A bad boss can make our lives miserable.
An inconsiderate driver on the road can make us angry by driving dangerously.
Or our partners can disappoint us by doing something unexpected.
Does that mean we should control our emotions and just accept them?
I don't think so.
I think we should always try to improve our situation. We are all human and have emotions.
We shouldn't just control ourselves all the time and just force ourselves to be happy. It's very tiring.
Rather, I think we should be aware that emotions come from within us.
For things that we can change, we change.
For things which we cannot change or are not important, we accept.
Like we can talk to our partners and try to come to a good conclusion.
We can change our jobs to escape maniacal bosses.
But if I encounter a lousy driver on the road, I'd just let him pass, cos for 5 seconds of nonsense, it's not worth an accident.
Or if the prata man pours fish curry over my prata instead of chicken curry when already requested for chicken curry. I'd just eat it and remember next time to watch him as he pours the curry.
Or when the restaurant changed their menu, I take it as an opportunity to stop going to this restaurant and explore other places to eat. Same as if they remove a discount/promotion.
Somethings are just not worth the anger or unhappiness. Others are.
I'm human. I have emotions. I'm no monk.
But I try to be aware and decide when it is worth being upset, or to just let the matter pass.
Like if someone steps on your foot unintentionally. He apologizes. You scold him. What does that achieve? The incident has already passed. There's nothing more you can do about it. Are you going to step on him back? Are you going to punch him? Are you planning on going to the hospital?
No? Then let it go.
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