“The Cart or the Horse”

by Dr. Larry Morris

There's an old Zen saying, "When the cart won't move, who do you scold, the cart or the horse?" Too often in life we blame the wrong culprit for our predicament. As Alan Watts says, there are really only three questions in life: Who made the mess? Who's responsible? and Who’s going to clean it up? Many of us blame outer circumstances for our problems. What a relief when we can begin to forgive the outer world and release the need to blame anyone, including ourselves. Complaining does not seem to solve our problems. When we relax and release our scolding attitude, we discover that there is nothing and no one left to blame. There's a Taoist story about a man riding in a boat. When his boat is suddenly hit by another boat, the man turns around furiously to yell at the person driving the other boat, but the other boat is empty. How can we be angry, when there is no one there to blame?