Hit and run
14 June 2006
It’s depressing when your car gets hit, and even more depressing when the other driver drives off. Mine was hit on my way to my weekly meditation meeting, and the other driver drove off. Funnily enough I could feel the anger rising from the pit of my stomach but it didn’t rise above the diaphragm. In a split second, I caught myself wondering whether I ought to turn around and go home and fret, or carry on to the meeting; I opted for the latter and am thankful for it.
The practice must be helping because I could feel the urge to cling to my anger and self-righteousness, the instinct to play the event over in my head, the onset of self-doubt (maybe it was my fault, I ought to have been more alert?), and yet, I could feel all of it pass in front of me like a parallel life. It’s like I could see the road I didn’t take (no pun intended), which is a weird experience.
Charlotte Joko Beck wrote that when we feel angry we ought not to feed it with righteous indignation and to just feel the anger in our bodies. It must’ve stuck in my consciousness because that was what I focused on — mainly the clenching in my abdomen — and you know, it actually passed quite quickly. Before, I would’ve gone home and phoned every person I knew in order to narrate the story over and over again to seek affirmation for my lack of culpability and choice in the matter, but now, I really only harbour a small twinge of regret. I can’t pretend not to be sad at all but in truth, the damage is mostly cosmetic and I’m lucky it was not worse.
More crucially, I think this incident brought home today just how important the practice is to me, and how I can no longer do without it.