Whenever I finish my shift at work on W57th St. in Manhattan, the first thing that I do after entering and starting my car is take a deep breath and remind myself verbally NOT to get caught up in the rat race that is commuting to and from NYC. Despite the fact that I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, I still make it a regular ritual.
Well, for me anyway, it is important that I bring my mind under control before I deal with the lunatics driving on the West Side Highway that have virtually none.
It is not unusual to find cars zooming by at 80–90 mph on a City highway that is designed for people to do 50! And, motorcycles often wiz by you at speeds in excess of even that.
So, I use this simple mantra, literally saying out loud: Frankie, don’t go there. All you have to do is get home.
This may seem overly simplistic but for someone who’s nature is to be ultra competitive it is absolutely essential. It takes some work, especially in one of, in not THE, most competitive cities in the world to find emotional stability. That’s why the path to Mindfulness is called a practice — it takes effort to keep things in perspective. Freaking out, using foul language, flipping someone the bird, or cutting another car off in anger may work in the short term (i.e. venting can be cathartic) but in the long run it just makes us as ugly as the person we were so angry with in the first place.
Remember, Karma is more broad and complicated than just what goes around comes around. Every moment of our lives, not only every action but every thought, in a sense, contributes to the so-called Wheel of Life. If we contribute positive thoughts and deeds, the world in general is a better place for EVERYONE (not just you).
So the next time some inconsiderate asshole obliterates you on the highway, instead of responding in kind, try waving and smiling. It’s hard not to react (or, OVER react). It’s easier to meet anger with more anger. But, that doesn’t make it right. Besides, you may be pleased to see the surprised reaction on their face when you do so. It’s sure worth a try.