If a man is crossing a river
And an empty boat collides with his skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again,
And yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty,
He would not be shouting, and not angry.
If you can empty your own boat,
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you ...
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.
Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration, p. 114-115.