Zen and the Art of Egoless Driving, Lesson 1

It has happened to all of us, in a crowded parking lot or maybe a four way stop with two lanes coming from all directions. Somehow, you just didn't see that other car. You both come to a hard stop. With a sheepish look, you mouth the word "Sorry." Or maybe you avoid his glance and drive away as your face burns in embarrassment. Your driving record is clean, a good driver, but you just made a mistake. Everyone does.

When the shoe is on the other foot, however, and we were the one brought up short by the distracted driver, we don't seem to think of it the same way. That guy is a moron. He drives like an idiot; shouldn't even have a license. Now wait a minute. If we can make the occasional mistake, why can't he?

When we react badly to the distracted driver, we are forgetting that we is just like him. There are a few morons out there, of course, but most of us get along just fine. Take your ego out of the situation. The ego loves it when it can feel superior to someone else. When you let the ego run unchecked, you are just hurting yourself. The superior feelings of the ego are short lived, but the stress will be with you all day long. If you get cut off on the way to work in the morning, it'll wreck your whole day. It is wiser to just let it go.

It is far better to live with humility. We are all human. There are good days and bad days, but most of the bad days are an illusion of the ego. Next time someone brings you up short, thank them whether they show any contrition or not. Thank them for reminding you of your own humanity; our shared humanity. They have allowed you an opportunity to practice letting it go. The Buddha says all thoughts of selfish desire, ill-will, hatred and violence are the result of a lack of wisdom - in all spheres of life whether individual, social or political. We could use a lot more "letting it go" in our lives. Maybe you can start a trend. Let some of your serenity rub off on someone, but no trading paint in the H.O.V. lane!

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