Life is a “foggy lake”

There is an old Zen story. A man is in a rowboat on a foggy lake. He notices through the fog that a boat is coming towards him. He tries to row away from the boat and yells in the direction

of the boat for its occupant to change direction. The boat continues on its straight course toward the boat. Finally, the boats collide; the other boat was empty of any occupants. It was just drifting. It was moving mechanically through the water. We, according to what Gurdjeiff explains in his Work, are moving mechanically through life. People, at least most people, won’t yell at a radio that doesn’t work, so why yell at people who are just as mechanical as the radio? Our problem is that we think people, including ourselves, are conscious. This idea that we are machines and therefore not conscious of what we do or why we do it, was said in a different way by Mark Twain, who commented, “When one remembers we are all mad, the mystery disappears and life stands explained.”

What i am saying is, when something goes wrong we tend to blame others or the situation and end up in the state of internal turmoil.

“Empty boats are everywhere”

Acting from an awareness gives you space to choose your response. This is much more effective than just reacting. The phrase, “she/he made me mad,” for example becomes a complete non-starter. Nobody can make you anything. You get to choose your response, and it helps to put a little space between the thing you’re responding to and your response.

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