Lin Chi was a monk who lived by a beautiful lake. The lake was surrounded by a thick forest of trees, and there were snowcapped mountains in the distance.
Every morning Lin Chi would go down to the dock, untie his boat, and row to the middle of the lake. There he would sit in quiet meditation as the sun rose, in the still serenity of the beautiful lake.
One morning as he was meditating, something startling happened. There, in his solitude, Lin Chi felt something bump into his boat. Lin Chi felt anger and irritation instantly rise within him. What kind of person would be so inconsiderate as to interrupt his bliss? Who would do such a thing?! He turned quickly; ready to confront the person who had disturbed his peace. What he saw surprised him.
There, in the lake next to him, was an empty boat. The boat had come untied from the dock and drifted out to the middle of the lake and – just by chance – bumped into Lin Chi’s boat.
Lin Chi laughed at the sight. There was no one to blame; no one to scorn. It was just an empty boat. He turned back to resume his meditation. One slow deep inhale, a long full exhale, and he was back in his blissful state of meditation.
And so it is with each of us as we go through our days. May we be mindful of those times when something happens to rock our boat. During those times, when there’s really no one to blame, no one to scorn, may we return to our breath and allow the empty boat to drift on by.