Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Freeway Frustration

Posted by Peter Clothier

It's a while since I made an entry myself in Accidental Dharma.  I do read everything that's posted here, and always enjoy the chance to learn from those who send their stories in.  I'm always ready for more...

In the meantime, I had cause to think about the site on the freeway yesterday, headed back to Los Angeles from Laguna Beach.  I had anticipated a relatively easy drive.  It was a holiday, after all, Presidents' Day, so I thought there would be less traffic and we'd get home in a breeze.  No such luck.  Two accidents ahead of us--one with a motorcycle down in the middle lanes, another collision involving, it seemed, three cars--assured interminable delays.  What should have been a one-hour drive turned into two.

I'm not good behind the wheel, I admit it.  I am by nature somewhat less than patient--as my wife, Ellie, will attest--and traffic is the single greatest stimulus to that impatient side of my temperament.  I fume.  I flatter myself that I do it less now than I used to, and that my meditation practice has served to improve my language somewhat (think Right Speech!), but I do still tend to allow my frustration to surface via the mouth.  I have been known to, well, swear...

Now for the gift.  I give myself good marks for yesterday.  I exercised remarkable equanimity, given the provocation.  I watched for the impatience to arise and was impressed when it did not.  True, I was in no particular hurry to get home, and things might have turned out very differently if I had arranged for, say, an appointment in the afternoon.  But even so, I am happy to give credit where it's due.  It seems that I actually have changed, a bit.  And it was a pleasure to observe it.  

1 comment:

LisaN said...

The thing I can't figure out about the freeways in CA is that traffic just slows down for no reason. When I lived on the East Coast, at least there was usually an accident or stalled car or something. But, here in LA, traffic just slows to a stop for nothing. It's extremely frustrating.