I was having a great day. Driving casually through Santa Monica, I was feeling fortunate and full of love for humanity. I was on the look out for pedestrians to let cross or cars to let in, one of my favorite ways to practice harmonious living.
I came to a stop sign at an intersection where my ability to see on-coming traffic was limited. I looked left, then right, then left again and began to pull slowly forward. Then, like a bat out of hell, this woman in a tan sedan came barreling through the intersection from the right. The moment I realized she was there, I slammed on my breaks. As she was flying though the intersection at mach 3, she literally hung out her window and gestured at me like, “What are you doing, stupid idiot??? Learn to drive!!”
The generosity and love I was feeling for humanity evaporated into scorching steam as my first thought slammed into my mind, shattering my peace. “Jesus, lady! Slow down!” I was completely incredulous as I sat there, realizing how close I had come to getting T-boned by a crazy person with no regard for anyone but themselves. As I was about to weave a scathing tapestry of profanity in righteous indignation for her for her wrongness, I stopped myself.
It dawned on me that what just happened was completely related to my previous mindset and not a jarring random event. If I was truly going to participate in harmonious living, I couldn’t just do it on my terms. That “crazy lady” was showing me something. She showed me that it’s easy to be harmonious in my little comfortable bubble where everyone acts the way I like, which happens to be like me.
I must have gotten proficient at that level of practice because I was just provided with my next challenge. I came to see that the next step is to be compassionate with to someone even though you don’t appreciate how they’re behaving and you may even take issue with it.
Step one: consciously look for ways to practice being in harmony.
Step two: practice compassion when you meet an individual who may be looking for a fight. (as was effectively demonstrated by the high-speed menace)
Even though I see this lesson and completely get it, I give myself the latitude to feel how I feel about it. Which is generally conflicted. My head intellectually believes that we are all from the same source consciousness and to judge another is to reject my own imperfections. Then there is my heart which really wants to learn forgiveness and patience and can see the lessons in every challenge. Then there’s my primal gut, which tells me to make use of all of the adrenaline by getting in that drivers face and yelling, “Slow Down before you kill somebody, you jerk!!!”
Then I realized that I am only generous with people who I approve of who have not offended me in some way. Very imperious of me, the benevolent Leo Queen. Which means I have to figure out a realistic way to deal with my completely valid urges to judge people and stick to my boundaries. My resolution: Stop and breath before I allow the primal instinct to worsen the situation. My action in this instance is non-action. Realize that taking the high road, although unsatisfying in the moment, is ultimately the most satisfying option because it cultivates peace. Having peace is definitely more important to me than verbally accosting an unsafe driver who’s probably out looking for a fight.