Archive for April 13th, 2011

The Unexpected Gift of that Slow Car in Front of You

This week we’re talking about step-by-step shifts in consciousness to move from tension and reaction to more conscious relaxed responses. We’ve discussed accessing a “neutral” state and moving from there one step deeper into appreciation. Today, we’ll travel the next step into an even more powerful state—gratitude. To illustrate that, I have a brief anecdote.

On Sunday, I left my house about ten minutes later than I had planned to assist my wife with her Spring Student Concerts (she teaches singing). These concerts are a tremendous amount of work for her, so I wanted to be on time to help out. Because I left later than planned, I began my trip with the mental edge of rushing to get there.

As often happens when I feel hurried, the driver right in front of me was going “extra slowly”—about 28 mph. My first impulse was to pull up tightly behind that car, but then I pulled back, not wanting to add tension to the situation. I took a deep breath and shifted into neutral. “O.K. It is what it is. In reality, I have enough time,” I said to myself.

Shortly, we passed a sign that said Speed Limit 30. O.K. I thought, that car is not really going that slowly. Besides, I recently got a speeding ticket in a school zone and this is reminding me to slow down. I began to appreciate the other driver for slowing me down.

In another few hundred yards we passed a police car tucked behind a building waiting for speeders in this slow speed zone. I instantly shifted from appreciation into gratitude. I was now thankful for that slow car, because I almost certainly would have gotten a ticket. I felt as if Life was watching out for me and smiled, feeling completely differently than I had only a minute or two before.

And, yes, I arrived at my destination in plenty of time. I generally have a strategy of allowing ten extra minutes to account for the unexpected. So, my needing to rush was just a story I completely made up. I’ve learned that most of my tension is the result of stories I’ve made up.

As we practice shifting from tension and reaction to acceptance, appreciation, and gratitude, Life teaches us that there is yet a fourth stage to complete the process. More on that, tomorrow.

Enjoy your practice,

Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. Meditation is a great way to practice slowing down, relaxing, and being more conscious. Learn more here: “Secrets of”

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