So I’m leaving church today, and am minding my own business driving on the highway.
I’m feeling pretty good, enjoying the sun shining and thinking about the sermon that I just listened to.
As I’m switching lanes, a guy in a huge truck comes up on my car, totally hauling ass. He almost hits me, and flips me off with both hands (slightly dangerous…). I, being the smartass that I am, slow down to what turned out to be the speed limit (I was previously speeding), but it pisses him off nevertheless. He pulls past me in the left lane and, in an attempt to cut me off, hits the side of my car with his enormous truck.
I’m mad. My hands are literally shaking, and I want to scream at this man for being angry with me and hitting my car. For coming into my space and harming me.
But I’m given a moment of pause.
I remember the teachings I talk about, and claim to practice. I remember the eight limbs of yoga, and the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps this man’s child is dying of cancer at home and he’s in a rush to kiss him goodbye. Maybe his wife is in labor, or if he doesn’t make it to work in the next 10 minutes, he’ll be fired. Who knows? And even if he’s just an asshole, I still have to practice the principles of:
>Non-violence (in both tongue and action)
>Honesty and humility (I did slow down and provoke retaliation.)
>Non-stealing (Who’s to say that portion of the highway was “mine”? My entitlement can tell me that everything belongs to me.)
>Moderation (in my emotions and actions)
>Contentment (I’m totally taken care of, and trust that everything happens for a reason.)
And, maybe most importantly:
>Self-awareness (If someone were watching my actions, would I be proud of how I behaved? Probably not in this circumstance.)
We pull over, and a tiny man jumps out of this huge truck and apologizes profusely for being such an agro asshole. He gives me his information and takes full blame for the accident. As he drives away, I am able to wish him a beautiful rest of his day, and feel gratitude that I no longer have to live in a series of “rage blackouts,” as one of my best friends fondly refers to this terrible cycle.
I couldn’t be more thankful for these guidelines to live by, and moments to pause. With a little bit of humility and acceptance, I am now able to walk, with class, through situations that used to lead to utter deterioration.
Thank you, yoga, and thank you, tiny little angry man, for today you were my guru.
Kyra deGruy is a snow-shredding, bacon-loving yogi who has an uncontrollable wanderlust. For the last five years, meditation has been the foundation of her spiritual and emotional expansion. When she is not pretending that she has a gluten intolerance (or not, depending on what she wants to eat that day) she is watching cat videos, pumping iron, or drinking coffee. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, or check out her website.
Like I’m not “Spiritual.” I just practice being a good person. on Facebook.
Assistant Ed.: Jayleigh Lewis/Ed: Kate Bartolotta