In Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, he refers to life’s difficulties as “situations” instead of “problems.” He explains that if any situation makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from it, change it, or accept it totally.
Remember, in a prior post, I mentioned that I’d been striving to do better with my impatience behind my car’s wheel? Well, without being aware of it, I utilized Eckhart’s method.
First, I realized I can’t remove myself from driving. Well, that is, unless I get a chauffeur (which I’d be more than happy to accept). My life does not exist exclusively in my house, it’s in many different cities. Therefore, driving is a requirement.
Second, the situation cannot be changed. The fact remains, there are many drivers on the road who insist on moving below the speed limit, thereby blocking numerous others who want to get to their destination. Others feel it is their divine duty to control every car lined up behind them.
So, that left me with one option: acceptance. At first, I felt like I would be admitting defeat, that impatience was the victor, and I was a failure. Then I realized it merely is what it is. I have totally and completely accepted the fact that I am an impatient driver. I’ve embraced the realization that if a car on the road is poking along and I can safely pass them, I’m going to continue to do just that.
Surprisingly, with this acceptance, my patience has improved. What?! Yes, it did. It filled me with a feeling of peace, and I’ve discovered that I don’t rush quite as much. Of course, I still pass slow drivers when it’s safe to do so and go my merry way. Overall, driving is now a less stressful task, and I’m on my way to actually enjoy it. Wow.
This Monday, on my way home on the 6-mile country road, I encountered three very slow driving vehicles. Of course, one by one, I passed them all. I drove a couple miles further, and as luck would have it, I spotted a turtle in the middle of the road. By the way, I need a bumper sticker that says, “I stop for turtles.” Anyway, I stopped to save the little guy from imminent destruction. As I was carrying him to the side of the road he was heading toward, all three cars that’d I passed came along, slowed down, and allowed me to finish my life-saving turtle placement. One guy, driving a small white pick-up, stopped and said, “So you were in such a hurry to pass everyone just to stop and get a turtle out of the road?” I could’ve used some choice words, ignored him, or flipped him the bird; however, with my newfound acceptance and inner peace, I responded, “I am what I am. I didn’t hurt anybody,” and he drove away. I smiled.