You really discover a lot about yourself when you are behind the wheel in certain traffic situations, especially when you're in a hurry to get somewhere.
The other day I got stuck in traffic when I was running errands.
The light had turned green, and the person in front of me didn't move. I waited. And waited. Finally, I honked the horn. Nothing. I honked again. Nothing. Other horns began honking. Nothing. I felt my blood pressure and a wild impatience rising.
"What the...? C'mon!" I yelled aloud, throwing my hands into the air.
So I laid on the horn, hoping to get the person's attention. I got it alright, when he flipped the one-finger salute, screaming into his rear view mirror at me before speeding off...just as the light was ready to change to red. I was stuck.
I had just landed myself in Ugly 101. And I needed to get out fast.
Why did I get so annoyed and impatient? That was so uncharacteristic of me. It was the "spiritune" moment to get back to practicing compassion. So, rather than seethe about what had happened, I took a few deep breaths to get my Zen on.
The current moment is the only thing that really exists. And in the presence of now, the future and the past are irrelevant. Why was I in such a hurry? There was no need to be in a hurry, but for some reason I created that need and fell into its trap. I took a few more deep breaths to center myself and to release the panicky misperception that I needed to get someplace else fast.
I chose to remain in the moment and breathed my way back to sanity, without the need to rush, push, or panic. Instead of cursing the driver ahead of me, I sent blessings his way and quietly thanked him for reminding me that the only place I need to be is here, now. I would inevitably get to my destination.
It's not traffic or being stuck at a light that makes us lose perspective; it's our own doing, when we get caught up in petty thoughts and feelings, thinking that someone has wronged us in some way. What this driver did was nothing personal; I happened to take it personally when I had no real reason to take it so.
Lesson learned. Again.
With that, I heard a honk behind me because the light had turned green. I turned around, and instead of getting ugly with the driver, I blew a kiss and gave the thumbs up sign before driving off.