Imagine you’re rowing a boat on a foggy lake, and out of the fog comes another boat that crashes into you!
At first you’re angry at the fool who crashed into you — what was he thinking, you just painted the boat!!
But then you notice the boat is empty, and the anger leaves you… you’ll have to repaint the boat (that’s all) and you just row around the empty boat.
But if there had been a person steering the boat…we’d be angry!
Here’s the thing: the boat is always empty.
Whenever we interact with other people who might “do something to us” (be rude, ignore us, be too demanding, break our favorite coffee cup, etc., etc., etc.), we’re bumping into an empty boat. We just think there’s some fool in that boat who should have known better, but really it’s just a boat bumping into us, no harm intended by the boat.
That’s a hard lesson to learn, because we tend to imbue the actions of others with a story of their intentions, and how they should have acted instead.
We think they’re out to get us, or that they should base their lives around being considerate to us and not offending us.
But here’s the thing – they are just doing their thing, without bad intent, (it has nothing to do with us) and the boat just happens to bump into us.
When we see things with this lens, things no longer make us as angry or stressed.
Our boss was rude? Empty boat. Just respond appropriately. Don’t imbue with a story.
Kid throws a tantrum? Empty boat. Just breathe and find the appropriate, non-angry response.
This is detachment.
It’s seeing the actions and words of others as just phenomena happening outside of us, like a leaf falling or the wind blowing. We don’t get angry at the wind for blowing, and yet the blowing does affect us.
–Another inspiring (and helpful) post from Leo Babauta (of zenhabits), who got his inspiration from Charlotte Joko, author of ‘Everyday Zen’.
Sometimes, all we need is a different perspective.
You can find the book at Amazon. (I couldn’t wait to download the Kindle version!)