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The Empty Boat

inspiration Nov 22, 2021

My dear friend, Kristin, shared in a group text a perfect story by Nhat Hanh. 

It was so beautiful and reminded me of the infinite power we have within us, well I just had to share! 
 
A monk decides to meditate alone. Away from his monastery, he takes a boat to the middle of the lake, closed his eyes, and begins to meditate. 
 
After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the blow of another boat hitting his own. 
 
With his eyes still closed, he feels his anger build, and when he opens his eyes he is ready to yell at the boatman who dared to disrupt his meditation.
 
But when he opened his eyes, he saw that it was an empty boat, not anchored, floating in the middle of the lake...
 
At that moment, the monk reaches self-realization and understands that anger is within him, it simply needs the hit of an external object to trigger it. 
 
After, that whenever he meets someone who irritates or provokes his anger, he remembers; the other person is an empty boat. Anger is inside of me. - Nhat Hanh
 
Pretty profound, isn't it? 
 
It can be challenging to understand that nothing outside of us, our kids, our spouse, a situation, or circumstance is NEVER the cause of our anger, it is just an external object that triggers it. 
 
The anger is within us and when we deeply understand this truth, we stop projecting our pain, fear, anger, and suffering into the world, and instead, we chose to heal and deal with it. 
 
As we move into the Holidays, we will have plenty of opportunities to be triggered. 
 
We will either choose to respond as we always do, recreating the same experiences in our lives, OR we can choose to respond with love and compassion... knowing that everything we feel inside is because of us, not because of anyone or anything else. 
 
We must take radical responsibility for our lives and the way we show up in the world. 
 
Just so you know, I struggle with this and the work is not easy. 
 
It's much easier, in the short term, to blame others for our anger, but if we truly want to create heaven on earth, then we must be courageous and take responsibility for all our thoughts, words, and actions. 
 
Those three are the fundamental building blocks of our reality. 
 
If you can slowly create them with more intention and love, your entire existence will shift! 
 
So this week, instead of seeing your triggers as annoying and insufferable, maybe begin to see them as the biggest gifts you are given. 
 
They are simply messages pointing to a false belief, old story, or outdated way of living. 
 
You are ALWAYS creating... so go and create the life you want! 
 
It's not easy work, but is staying in fear, suffering, and projecting your pain on others easier? 
 
NOPE! 
 
A great place to start is just to become aware of your triggers, negative patterns, and those phrases you always use when something happens that you don't like. 
 
Just stay in neutrality and begin to open to those wounds begging you to heal them. 
 
In time, with awareness and non-judgment, you will see that to make the decision to shift towards love rather than fear in these moments becomes less painful and proves to create the reality you so long to create! 
 
I love you and wish nothing but the best for you! 
 
So be like this monk, and realize that the other person, circumstance, and experience that triggers you is an empty boat.
 
Anger is within you. 
 
In love and light, 

 

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