They help make us a better person.
They come from either our own experiences or those of others.
They do not necessarily have to be gained by big events or big journeys. In fact, the best lessons come from seemingly mundane and day to day occurrences.
Routine daily life makes for great insights and experiences.
Take, for instance, traffic. Not the best feeling invoked by the mention of it?
Can be a great teacher in character building and learning about life.
Let’s break it up.
A great day on the way to work (or another destination) is when there is no traffic.
A bad day is when there’s queuing traffic with no exits in sight.
The former can make us feel really great – that we chose the best route, the correct lane to be in and what’s more, left home in just the right time to hit the road in perfect time.
The latter can really frustrate us – frustrated with others on the road (who seem to be doing all the wrong things like lane hopping, going too slow or too fast – you name a wrong thing to do and someone is doing it); and frustrated with ourselves for choosing that route, not leaving home in good time and so on.
Now if you really think about it, how different are these traffic experiences from the ones which concern seemingly bigger things in life – when things work out for us and when they don’t?
The feelings they invoke are quite similar.
We are happy with ourselves when things work out and happily take the credit for it and enjoy the positive feelings invoked by the experience.
We are frustrated and angry when things do not work out.
But the thing to remember is that a queuing traffic is generally made worse by the circumstances that are not entirely in our hands – there’s simply too many cars and motors on the road, lights not working, road works, accident, police checks and so on – getting frustrated in not likely to help.
Best solution is to keep calm, look at alternate routes, think about calling ahead wherever you are heading so there is some future planning set in place. Fuming at the road or at the fellow drivers is unlikely to make matters better.
Similarly, in a life adversity, don’t blame the situation or those around you.
Keep calm and think about what can be done to improve a bad day.
- Bring yourself to be completely present in your current moment. This means forgetting about what could have been, what should have been, how it should have been. Just deal with how it is now.
- Weigh the actual problem. What is the problem here?
- Think about the possible solution.
- Weigh how much of that solution is in your hands.
- Should you decide that you can’t actually solve this problem as it’s out of your scope or its out of your hands then think about what you can do to ease the burden of that problem. There’s always something that can be done.
Similarly, the day the traffic is good, remember that a lot of things have to line up to give you a good day – green lights, no road works, no accidents etc.
So a good run on the road is not really entirely one person’s doing but an alignment of lots of out of control elements.
Keeping this simile in mind for the good days in life helps us keep grounded.
The good times are not just a one man job and we would be wise to not take all credit to ourselves as good circumstances are often a happy result of a number of things lining up in our favour.
We are but a small part of something big – our universe- and we will do well to keep that awareness and have tolerance for others and abundance of patience for ourselves.
I don’t own all the good days, hence I don’t own all the bad days.
I think about the good days and strive to do more of what role I played in making it good and I think about the bad days and strive to do less of what made the day bad.
But I share my days with the universe – with those around and our experiences together connect us and help “I” feel less lonely – a curse of our present day generation.
Be one with you but remember to be one with your surroundings too.
Its an illusion of ours to think that we are separate and we can do and achieve things on our own. We are part of universe and part of that universe is within us. Once we understand this, it helps us develop more understanding and tolerance for ourselves and the fellows.
The path to discovering self, the greatest of all quests, is to look within.
Its to know self.
To know self is Ego.
Ego is good.
Ego is positive.
The path to loosing self is to be full of self.
To be full of self is Egoism.
Egoism is negative.
To feel the connection with the universe around is a big step close to achieving the idyllic content state of being – Nirvana.
So when on the road tomorrow, let your Ego rule, not the Egoism.
Feel that you’re part of the universe and not alone in your good fortune or your suffering.
Reflect and analyse what can be done to improve your situation but stay patient with those around you – most are in same boat as you, they just seem different as some are more gracious in adversity, others less so.
You stay true to yourself, don’t let your behaviour be guided or influenced by others.
Stay true to yourself and add a grain of glitter to the universe for everyone.
So much learning – from the traffic jam!!
Bless the jam!
I guess the person who came up with the great saying – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade – thought somewhat along the same lines:)
In present day though, it can be adapted thus:
When roads give you traffic, practice Ego and not Egoism.
I’m already relaxed.
Bring on the traffic, there’s a great deal more reflection to be done!