Road Compassion

Let’s say you are driving on the highway. And as you are zipping along, someone cuts you off and speeds off.

Do you yell at them? What do you say? What do you call them? Because it is not so much the yelling as it is the message.

Here’s the thing: you don’t know anything about that someone except that he or she has a beating heart. Or you could say, we don’t know anything about her except that she has a soul.

And so when you are yelling, be aware that it is at her heart that you are yelling. It is at her soul. And what message did you send to that stranger’s heart? What did you choose to impart to her soul?

The highway is a great place to learn about loving-kindness. Other than driving, you are not particularly busy. You are too busy to meditate, but not too busy to be mindful. Try looking at the other cars and imagine that the drivers are all your favorite people. They are your grandparents, your grandchildren, your favorite teacher from third grade, and your most beloved friends. Because that’s just what they are: grandparents, grandchildren, favorite teachers, and beloved souls. If your favorite teacher from third grade were to cut someone off in traffic, would you hope that someone called her an asshole?

If you must yell – and it is a natural response to being cut off – try thinking of something caring to say. How about, “Oi, be careful! You might hurt someone or yourself!”

If you train yourself to make this simple change, you will notice the difference. You will be on your way.


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