I woke up one morning sort of in a funk. Eh...maybe not a funk...that might be too strong of a phrase. I wasn't sad, tired, or upset...but I was something and that something was enough for me to take notice and acknowledge it.
Whatever it was, I didn't like it. I didn't want that to be how my day started. Now from here I didn't necessarily consciously do something specific. If anything I guess I just kind of mentally made a resolve and released it out into the universe...that whatever this feeling was, it was not welcome.
As the morning progressed I seemed to be running into delays. Nothing major; I just ended up leaving my place later then I wanted to, having the gas gauge remind me I had to get gas, etc. Because of all of these things, I consciously thought, "Ok, I'm gonna relax and slow down. It's not like I'm really late for anything."
While I'm pumping gas, I looked up at one lone tree across the street. Its leaves were in the process of changing color. What really struck me though was as to how...dull the tree looked. It wasn't this full, bright, vibrant autumn yellow, but rather a pale-yellow, faded-green, orange-ish collage. I thought to myself how pretty it was even though in a more traditional sense it may not be the most picture worthy scene.
As I'm driving on the highway, I couldn't help but notice the glory that is Autumn in New England. The trees were all sorts of beautiful shades of Fall.
Thinking about it now, that whole scene could be viewed as a macrocosm of the tree I saw earlier...but that would lead to a whole different discussion
Anyways, from that point on, the rest of my day was great. That moment of simply witnessing my surroundings and perhaps experiencing something larger then myself really seemed to take away whatever that feeling I had from the morning.
IT IS NOT ALWAYS WISE TO LISTEN TO ONE'S THOUGHTS
This story is a favorite of mine; I have forgotten from where I heard it.
The rain was coming down furiously and the man received a flood alert on his phone. Calmly he went about his business, thinking "God will save me."
The rains continued and the river at the foot of his property, approaching the second floor of his house. As the man looked out his second story window, he saw some people in a rowboat calling urgently, "get in, we don't have much time." The man shook his head and repeated, "God will save me."
Now, having climbed up to the roof, a helicopter above him dangled down a ladder, but still the man shook his head and thought, "God will save me."
The man drowned.
When he met God, he asked God, "why didn't you save me?"
God responded, "what do you mean? I sent you a flood alert, a rowboat, and a helicopter!! What are you doing here?"
Now, what happened to the man was that he was paying total attention to the world his thoughts were presenting and not to what was actually happening around him.
I have another real life story about this. I was recently rear ended and when the other driver explained himself, he said, "I did not think you were going to come to a complete stop."
He believed his thought created reality rather than what was actually happening in front of him.
The Buddhists say that this is the source of all suffering, and I am inclined to agree. We develop expectations and perceptions of certain people or events and pay attention to that rather than to the actual person or event. Thus racism, sexism, phobias and all other misunderstandings arise, making us feel angry, fearful, and other sorts of unhelpful emotions.
What is more helpful is to take a real look at exactly what is happening, exactly who this person is and respond in a helpful manner to that. If the situation is awful, then we focus on a solution rather than how awful it is. None of us would want a first responder who is weeping, wailing and/or panicking over the circumstances we lie there broken and bleeding!
So let's see ourselves as a first responder to all our present moments. We calmly assess what is happening, who this person is in his/her heart, and respond from a place of love and compassion. Our lives would be much simpler.