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Not seeing things for what they are

There is a very simple, but profound Buddhist parable that deftly teaches how aggression and the inability to see things for what they really are cause for so much suffering.    it goes something like this:

A fisherman is out for a day on the water when he sees another boat approaching.  He remains calm.  But the boat gets closer and it seems to be coming right towards him.   He signals for the other person to yield. The boat continues to approach.  The fisherman becomes more and more agitated, more and more aggressive.  As the boat ceases to yield, he stands, shakes his fist and begins to scream at the offender.  Yet, he sees when the "boat" gets close enough that it is actually a large piece of driftwood.   So, to whom was all that anger directed?

How often we find ourselves acting the same way at work.  A meeting is held and you are not invited - "They are obviously planning something behind my back."   Your boss snaps at you - "What a jerk!  He doesn't appreciate me."  Co-workers provide little or less than glowing feedback on your work product - "Don't they realize how hard I worked on that?  They must be jealous".   Of course, any of these imagined scenarios could be true...but, probably not.  We cause ourselves so much unnecessary anger and worry as a result of the situations that simply don't exist.    The next time you see the imaginary boat hurtling toward you, consider that it may be just driftwood. 


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