Zia Hassan

Row Your Boat A Koan

Row row row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

It occurred to me that this children’s rhyme might be a Zen koan (a puzzle with no answer). Rowing is an active movement, a choice. And we do it merrily, to enjoy life and pay no attention to suffering. But a stream carries us, whether we want it to or not. We can’t choose what shows up on the shores nearby. 

We move and yet we are also being moved.