There is a Zen story about a man who repaints his boat. Once it’s done, he’s so pleased with how it looks that he decides to take it out on the lake, even though it’s a foggy day. As he steers through the fog, another boat slams into his, damaging the new paint job.
The man is furious. Why the hell didn’t the person in the other boat pay attention and watch where he was going? The man turns to yell at the person in the other boat, and finds that there is no other person. It’s just an empty boat, drifting on the lake. The other boat is always empty, even when there’s someone steering it. There is never anyone to get angry with. Even if the person steering the other boat deliberately rammed our boat, his behavior had nothing to do with us. Anything anyone else does is done for their own reasons, and much of the time they don’t even know the reasons. When we see life as it is, rather than our thoughts about it, we see that every time we look for an enemy, someone to hate, someone to blame, there’s never anyone there. Just an empty boat on a foggy lake.