Dharma and driving
weekend I had a perfect New York weekend, the stuff travel articles are
spun from: Broadway matinee, drinner with friends, drinks at a dark and
crowded bar, followed the next day by a long walk in the park, more
food and drinks and a fabulous chocolate dessert. We had good
transportation karma all weekend long, never waiting more than. few
minutes for a train.
Then came the drive home. About half- way up
Interstate 91 to my central Connecticut home, traffic stopped. Then
crept. I sat for the first few minutes with equanimity. Things have
stowpped; may it be a reminder to wake up and be in the moment. Then I
started to feel frustrated. Why are we not moving? What is the problem
My frustration built up a head of steam until my internal
voice said,"I can't stand this," and my wisdom laughed. Really? You
can't stand sitting still in the car? You can't STAND the uncertainty of
not knowing when you'll get to move? Really? Not even after all those
hours of sitting on retreat or in classes, wondering when the umdze will
ring the gong?
My consciousness got the joke. Frustration lifted.
noticed cars around me. I giggled at the "Extended Stay" motel sign,
which seemed to be an omen. I sent out loving kindness to the other
drivers, and noted that everyone was behaving very nicely. I mumbled,
"Careful,dude," to drivers who cut between lanes. (I consciously started
calling other drivers "dude" instead of my usual "dickhead" a while
back in an effort to create a kinder attitude.)
doing tonglen for whoever caused the backup, but I'd heard rumors of
off-hours construction and wn't sure that anyone was in danger. My
Smartphone showed a hazard without further explanation.
about an hour to travel the distance between two exits. At some point
traffic just started speeding up, with no wreckage, no nothing to blame
for the congestion and frustration.
Life's like that sometimes.
We encounter obstacles -- or create obstacles in our minds -- and the
frustration we feel becomes the obstacle. But if you can relax into it,
look at what's happening in the moment, sometimes it just eases.