What do you see in others?
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 has a moment of clarity, and understands that the anger is within him; it merely needs the bump of an external object to provoke it.
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.”
To suggest that current circumstances around the globe at the moment are leading to an increasing sense division would perhaps be an understatement. There are more than enough ‘hot’ topics (mandates, vaccinations, climate change, media bias, welfare systems, heath systems, school systems., general elections…) to trigger conversations rooted in an exchange of positions, judgements and opinions along with triggering a range of emotions on the anger spectrum… ‘us versus them’ or ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ conversations, conversations in which people hold themselves in a cyclic state of conflict believing that the ‘issue’ would be solved by someone else changing their position.
If you’ve found yourself entrenched in such a conversation of late, chances are you’ve walked away feeling disconnected, misunderstood and perhaps more than a little bit angry. Division can be isolating, lonely and often triggers the wounded parts of ourself.
And then there is the opportunity – to extend beyond the judgement, the criticism, the anger and go within, to witness, nurture and heal the hurt and lonely parts of ourself. The more compassion and love we can give ourselves, the easier it becomes to extend compassion and love to others.
We can only see in others, and in the world, that which is inside us.
We are all interconnected: I can’t reject you without rejecting myself.
Journal prompts should you feel drawn to explore this further
What do my comments about others, their actions, their opinions, reflect to me about my own internal world?
Are my observations showing me a fear that I have about the world? Or are they showing me an aspect of myself that I am rejecting or needing to heal?
Is my inner voice coming from a place of self-love or self-rejection?
How can I show myself more understanding, compassion, and forgiveness?
And of course, please get in touch if you would like a deeper sense of support as you navigate these ‘interesting’ times.