The Obstacle is the Way – rush hour traffic

This meditation is in the same vein as Marcus Aurelius Meditations. Marcus Aurelius was a stoic philosopher and the last of five “good” emperors of Rome. He wrote frequently in his journal meditations on life such as getting out of bed in the morning, the shortness of life and not being too proud of your position. He would frequently write letters to himself to remind him that even though he is an emperor, he is no better than any other man in Rome.

While he never experienced San Diego Rush hour traffic I’m sure that daily life in Rome was much worse than sitting in a leather seat,  air conditioned car, in San Diego.

I fundamentally believe that driving in San Diego rush hour traffic makes me a better Man, Husband and Naval Officer.

A few days ago someone did what drivers have been doing since the beginning of the Eisenhower Interstate System.  Cut me off. I had to swerve, hit the breaks and If I had not acted we would have had an accident.

While there was nothing remarkable about getting cut off, what was remarkable was  that my first emotion was not anger or even getting upset; my first emotion was humor. I laughed out loud slowed down and proceeded on my way.

And that action, for me, was remarkable. Laughing at the situation rather than getting upset was the culmination of 2 year in self mastery.  You see I never had a problem with traffic. I was never the type of driver that angrily tailgated, flipped people the bird, or drove aggressively. However, I did realise that I was not always the most kind to people at work, sometimes upset with my wife, and on occasion angry with my kids. And this is what I wanted to change.

As such I took a cue from my favorite philosopher and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius; he said

“Reject your sense of injury and the injury disappears”

If I could reject the sense of injury for something as pedestrian as a stranger cutting me off on the freeway, then maybe I could also reject my sense of injury when dealing with an upset coworker, disobedient kids, or an unhappy wife.

So while maybe in the far future I’ll post about responding in love and humor to an unhappy coworker or family member; today I just happy that I took the first step moving toward the man I want to become.

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