The Neglected Boat - A Parable

2001-4-18 11:16:00

Judes writes:
"If we all will eventually be 'saved' from the mistakes we make here and get to move on the higher spheres...why not just sit-back...kick-off our shoes and be a couch-potato during the endurance of this mundane existence?

"Sorry...I do not buy that. I think that only those that get off their duffs and adhere to the Path are going to get out of here."

In addition to Rick's fine comments I'll say a few more words here.

First, Judes, I do not believe we disagree here, but just need to look at the bigger picture.

"Why not just sit-back...kick-off our shoes and be a couch-potato during the endurance of this mundane existence?"

The answer is simple. If we sit back and do nothing then no progress will be made, but the point overlooked here is that no one will sit back and do nothing forever.

"I think that only those that get off their duffs and adhere to the Path are going to get out of here."

That is correct, but not all of us choose to tread the path at the same time. Take, for example, the parable of Decision in the Immortal. Two moved forward and two were afraid to choose and stood still, but they will not stand still forever. Sooner or later they too will move forward.

Perhaps a short parable will illustrate.

Bill, Jack, Don and Bob decided to go fishing and checked into renting a boat. There was only one boat left and they looked it over and all were excited about taking it except for Bill who had an expert knowledge of boats.

Said Bill, "This boat has been patched several times and does not look safe to me. I think we should wait a while for the next available boat and suggest to the owner that he retire this one and refurbish it."

"We didn't come here to wait around all day. We came here to fish and enjoy ourselves," said Jack. This boat looks like it has served others well for years. I'm sure it can last one more day."

Don and Bob agreed and the three were determined to rent the boat so they could proceed without delay.

Bill shook his head and said: "You'll have to go without me. I'm going to wait for a better boat."

But the three were impatient and rented the boat and proceeded with their fishing. After they were boating and fishing for about an hour Bob reflected on Bill's warning and started examining the weak points of the boat that he pointed out. He noticed near his feet an area where the wood was deteriorated and damp. He spoke to the others.

"I think Bill may have had a point. The wood right here looks rotted and could spring a leak at any time. Let's go see if Bill rented another boat."

"Quiet," said Jack. "You'll scare the fish with your yapping. We came here to boat and fish and that's what we're going to do."

Bob took another look at the weak area and it seemed to be getting wetter. "I think you need to take me back to the shore he said. "I want to see if Bill found another boat."

"I can see that we are not going to be able fish in peace until we get rid of you," said Jack as they rowed back to shore.

Bob tried to warn them about the weak spot but Jack and Don were in no mood to listen.

Bob got off the boat and found Bill who was in the process of renting a boat in good condition which a customer just returned. Jack and Don meanwhile rowed back out in the middle of the lake and resumed fishing.

After a short time Don moved over to Bob's old seat and examined the weak spot. He took out his pocket knife and picked at it and was disturbed to find out the wood was indeed weak and soft and the area seemed wetter than it did earlier.

"Maybe Bill had a point," he said. "This wood looks pretty bad."

"Not you too," said Jack. "Do you think it's possible for you guys to just leave me alone and let me fish?"

"If it comes to fishing or risking my life, well I'll skip fishing," said Don.

The two sat in awkward silence for a time. Then Don noticed Bill and Bob in the new boat in the distance. "Look," he said. "There's Bill and Bob. Let's row over to them and join them and tie this boat behind us and fish together in safety."

This statement just aggravated Jack who said: "We'll row over there all right. I'm going to put you in their boat and go off by myself and fish the rest of the day in peace."

At that they rowed over to Bill and Bob and Don joined them. Jack started rowing off and shouted back: "Good riddance you wimps!"

But as he was rowing off his foot kicked the weak spot and a small leak started, but grew in strength. Rather than call out for help his wounded pride forced him to use everything at his disposal to plug the leak but to no avail. Finally when he saw there was no hope in salvaging the boat he shouted to the three in the other boat for help.

The three made a point to not stay too far from Jack just in case he did need their help and as soon as Bill, Bob and Don saw that he was in trouble they rowed over with full speed and saved him.


As the four were examining the boat to rent there was a point of truth of which only Bill was aware. The reason he was aware was because he possessed higher knowledge of boats than the other three. Because of his understanding he left the boat. Then as this same understanding became clear to the others they also left the boat.

Question: Does this analogy apply to our own progression?

If we are in a sinking ship do we all discover this "truth" at the same time?

When such a truth dawns upon us with surety then will not all eventually act upon this knowledge?

Even so will all of us in the end discover higher truth and act upon it?