Monday, November 7, 2011

A moment on the highway

I'm driving down an entrace ramp to get on to Rt. 66.  A slow truck is puttering along in front of me on the single lane ramp, and my mind starts its litany - "What an idiot!  Can't he drive a bit faster!  Get out of my way, will ya?  Geesh, why does this have to happen to me?", on and on.  I've heard myself say those things a million times, but now awareness keeps kicking in.  My mind responds, "You know, this has to do with you, not with him.  He's not doing anything wrong."  The words soon have me a bit sober - all the stories in my mind - he should go faster, he shouldn't even be here, it's a bad thing that he's slowing me down, it's a bad thing if I am delayed 10 seconds, even though I am in no hurry - all the stories are twisting reality once again, as they have since I began to think.

So what's the big deal, I ask myself.  It's only a moment on the highway.  But no escaping that way - part of my mind quickly answers back, you're living in anger that is not only necessary, but is based on lies, falsehoods produced in your brain.  You do this often. Is this the way you want to live?  This incident may be trivial, but what about your feelings about life, or people, or other things?  How much trust are you continuing to put into this thing that repeatedly lies to you and distorts the truth?  I start to think about how many years I hated myself until I finally noticed what I was doing - not that it's "bad" to hate myself (a lot of good *that* belief does), but that I have the belief because of lies I swallowed a long time ago, and because I never questioned the subsequent story.  The story, having not a shred of truth in it, lived with me for much of my life, unchallenged, unquestioned, creating much misery, because I was never really aware of it to even question if it were true.

So I look again, because I realize how important it is to me to know the truth about myself and the world around me.  It is true the truck driver is doing nothing wrong - do I want to live my life being angry and upset at things that are in reality perfectly okay?  Doesn't sound like a characteristic I would be proud of at the end of my life, looking back.  So what is the truth I am avoiding, why would I create such a crazy story as he is bad for driving slow?

I start to smile.  I've found something else in me to love.  This foolish story is what so many of us do.  This is what it is like to be human.  We struggle with our own crazy twists, because of the fears and desires within us.  The realization of how crazy it is to believe a story like this no longer brings shame, no longer creates a secondary story of how bad I am to create stories like this.  I smile at this ignorant, foolish part of myself.  It is a bit like a precious child throwing his food on the floor.  Yes, it's got to be cleaned up, and it's exasperating at times, but the child is still just as precious.  I look at myself with partial exasperation and partial love, and I feel the connection with all of humankind's struggle, and it's okay.

So I look at the story again.  What is the real truth?  I want to know what is really happening in front of me, and inside of me, *without* any interpretation or story. The truck's going slow.  Check.  I'm angry.  Check.  I was carrying a story, and until a second ago, was fully believing it.  Check.  The anger starts to fade, and reality starts to dawn.  Why, it's only a truck, not an evil person bent on ruining my day!  How silly of me - why on earth did I ever think that?  Why, I don't have to hurry - I've got plenty of time to get where I'm going!  How silly to be caught up thinking I always have to rush!  I start to let that in, start to relax, and suddenly I am noticing the trees along the highway.  I start to see the crisp blue skies.  It feels so good to break free of what I created.

I am amazed at how much of the time I seem to live with story glasses on.  It seems continuous sometimes.  The stories repeat so often.  But I'm learning that when something never changes or moves, it's probably dead. These stories have been identical as far back as I can remember.  They don't change.  I don't learn anything from them.   I'm following the orders of a dead man when I'm in story.  But when I stop to notice reality, what a difference!  Experience hits me flat in the face, and I realize I have been dreaming, not living.

I breathe and notice the sky again, and move on to my destination.

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