The Taoists have a famous teaching about an empty boat that rams into your boat in the middle of a river. While you probably wouldn’t be angry at an empty boat, you might well become enraged if someone were at its helm. The point of the story is that the parents who didn’t take care of you, the other kids who teased and bullied you as a child, the driver who aggressively tailgated you yesterday – are all in fact empty, rudderless boats. They were compulsively driven to act as they did by their own un-examined wounds, therefore they did not know what they were doing and had little control over it. Just as an empty boat that rams into us isn’t targeting us, so too people who act unkindly are driven along by the unconscious force of their own wounding and pain.
Until we realize this, we will remain prisoners of our grievance, our past, and our victim identity, all of which keep us from opening to the more powerful currents of life and love that are always flowing through the present moment.