So I find myself driving on Beck Rd, which has two lanes. The speed limit is 45. Usually, when I’m in a hurry and want to drive faster then 45 I end up behind someone who is driving 40. I feel the blood pressure rising and stories appear. Usually involving opinion, critique, and a self righteous attitude that indicate this person ahead of me is using up my valuable time and, or course, is doing it on purpose. I come to the conclusion this person is a dumbass. Separate self, as ego, loves the personal drama in this one.
Different than the first scenario, this one occurs when I’m not in a hurry and someone rushes up on my behind even though I’m driving 45. Separate self as ego becomes outraged. Sometimes, don’t tell anyone, I would slow down to 40 just to annoy them. Sigh, another dumbass. Sometime both parties would resort to colorful finger signs to help communication.
The only thing that connects these two different scenarios is my separate self and ego getting all righteous and telling stories about things I couldn’t possibly know about. So, I decided to start paying attention to how much I don’t know. In Zen it’s the don’t know mind.
In the first event I realize the person driving slowly might be driving as fast as they can safely. Sometimes there’s a child in the backseat or someone who, although an adult, is simply trying to get used to the insane styles of driving in Michigan. (You know, having someone like me drive up right behind you and want you to hurry up!) I reflect on how much time I waste during the day, surely a few minutes isn’t going to make or break my day. So now I tend to breathe, relax, drive slowly, and turn up the music.
In the second scenario I can see the same don’t know perspective coming in handy. I have no idea why that person behind me is in a hurry. Instead of personalizing it I can simply see they are in a hurry and get out of the way. There may be an emergency, the persons ill, or perhaps suffering from road rage from a recent incident. Now I pull over as soon as possible and let them pass. (The reward is it feels so much more mature, well, I guess that’s because it is!)
Notice in both scenarios I switch places with both my poor dumbasses. I’m the too slow guy in front or the guy in a hurry. So I guess I could be considered a dumbass too! And may be, according to the other drivers.
I am slowly learning that the automatic conditioned reactions to life, when see in a clearer fashion, really are centered in separated self as ego. The, “If it’s not about me it’s not about anything” perspective. Reactions are almost instantaneous, so can slip by unnoticed. Regardless, I find myself a much more relaxed driver at this point in life, and am starting to see how this model seems to apply to so many things in life. It’s not the specific content, its seeing how we use the same process that leads to new perspectives.
Take care of you, being human is the most challenging and yet rewarding experience.