(originally posted Feb 2, 2013)
This peaceful moment of typing has been preceded by strong angry thoughts and feelings, oh my! After many seconds of stopping to breathe mindfully I’m feeling solid in the present. Breathe, let go of today’s “close call” with danger. I’m remembering a Thich Nhat Hanh designed watch that has the word “now” replacing numbers on the old-school dial. The time is now. A quarter to now, or half past now, is still now. In all my “nows”, I want to feel safe and happy venturing through daily activities among fellow citizens, especially on local roadways. Could anyone truly want to feel differently? I am a most special and precious being; no more and no less than everyone else. Clearly, all have this desire for safety and happiness at their core.
Cycling for some exercise earlier, on a most beautiful, blue and warm gift of a winter day, I met a freshly broken beer bottle in the bike lane. Yesterday this slightly downhill route was clear. Instantaneously my relaxed calm breath turned shallow and hard as I quickly swerved to avoid large and small glass shards. Fortunately the Gatorskin tires offered excellent flat protection as glass pieces extended 30 or more feet along the bike lane. Steering, as I did, out into traffic was quite dangerous, and my good fortune that no cars were zooming by at that moment. So who would intentionally produce actions that threaten the safety of others, my mind quickly wondered? Children, parents, commuters could easily have a flat on the spot or shortly afterwards when the glass works its way in. After some calm breaths I realized that someone likely has hurt feelings or thoughts to produce an action that could injure others. This drop of compassion inside helped me send a wish that the suffering that cause people to hurt others be understood, comforted, held and healed, with kindness, in time. I also recognized my uncertainty on how that broken beer bottle really ended up in the bike lane. Perhaps, instead of intentionally thrown, it just bounced out of the back of a pickup. I don’t know how it got there, just that it was there.
Looking deeply I see connections between us and our parents, ancestors, the clouds, sun, earth. Strands woven into the web of life. When one suffers, we all suffer. We can all benefit from acts of kindness. Walking down the street with a smile is infectious, has been my experience. Walking with a scowl can generate fear. If there are hazards in the street near our home, such as glass, we can easily clean, thus create safety and happiness. Pedaling home to fetch a broom and dustpan, then returning to sweep up the glass and a nail I felt a positive action has changed a negative action’s karma. I’m grateful that my dogma did not hit your karma. May you feel happy and safe on and off the roadway; cars, bikes pedestrians, & all critters.