This morning, I was given an opportunity to ‘Walk The Path’. It was only a personal opportunity as it did not involve another person seeing the results, but it was an important victory for myself.
Historically, I have been inclined to feeling road rage at the apparent lack of consideration that other drivers display. I hate dump trucks, and big rigs, and tractor trailers, and any manner of large, slow, dirty, heavy, industrial vehicle. I despise having my view blocked, or my progress delayed.
But this morning was different. On the way to the bank to drop off my paycheck before heading into work, a large dual wheeled vehicle towing a trailer with a large tractor pulled out in front of me, causing me to have to put on my breaks and reduce speed by 25 mph. Normally, I would be furious and curse, spit, and wave my hand or honk my horn at the obvious discourtesy that the other driver showed me.
As I felt the rising tide of my quickening pulse, the drawing in of a breath, and the twinge of rage begin to build, I remembered The Path.
I said “Thank you, sir.” aloud to myself as if the other driver could hear me. I didn’t say these words with sarcasm, or with an alternate meaning. Rather, I sincerely felt thanks. I was grateful for the opportunity this anonymous driver had given me to conquer my anger. I let go of it, released my breath, and my pulse slowed once more. Certainly, if I would have acted by blowing my horn, or following too close, the other driver would have thought me to be the rude one. It is better that the other driver not know of my feelings and continue on their way.
I followed at a slower rate of speed, at a comfortable distance behind, for only one mile. The driver turned off and I continued on my way. Not being angry in that moment set the mood of my day, and perhaps that of the other driver’s as well. When we are angry, we cannot experience joy.
The means cannot contradict the ends.
If I am angry, my actions will be taken in anger, and the results will cause anger in others. I do not want to live in a society of angry people as I now must. I cannot make people courteous by yelling insults, honking the horn, or giving them the finger. Instead, maybe they will see a calm, courteous, kind, and joyful person that blows off adversity with a smile. I believe that is true power. The power to inspire. To show people that the utility of anger is inferior to joy.
That is a step along The Path.