zen and pulling it all together
In 1999, I graduated from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. One of the coolest things they did there, was to meld together these crazy disparate topics into a class they called a program. My first program was called Springtime in Science and we studied statistics and the mathematics of nature, debated evolution vs design, and learned how to draw. That single program was my full time credit load that semester. I loved the experience and the audacity to build a wonderful learning experience out of such seemingly disparate topics.
Years later, after I separated from my ex, I was still working full time and had taken on guardianship of a mutually adopted teenage Samoan nephew. He and I settled into an apartment in another nearby town. In this time of upheaval, I naturally thought of turning to the church I grew up in. It turned out, my choices were to continue attending the congregation my ex still went to, or to attend her mother's congregation!
So I bailed completely. I had been intrigued by this idea of zen and thought I'd look into that more deeply. I found a few groups in the area, but settled on one that focused more on the zen than on the Buddhism.
With everything else going on, I decided I'd try to go to a Monday night meditation and lesson as often as I could. I loved every minute of it.
The zendo was located deep in the woods on the other side of town. It smelled like the lush evergreen forest it was nestled in. Birds might sing or call some nights, while other nights we listened to the sound of light rain tapping it's chaotic pattern on the roof. These Monday evenings meditating and learning at that small zendo became the most peaceful time of my week.
The hard part was getting to that beautiful peaceful place. Monday nights found me rushing to get home from work, feeding my nephew and getting him wherever he needed to be, then realizing what day it was and getting out the door just in time to get to the zendo before the doors closed and everyone was quietly meditating.
It was then, in my need of speed, that Molly Mom would wander into my lane and slow down. Or Grandpa Jerry would get around to his Sunday drive (a day late)! But I was on an important mission! So I honked and served and screamed down the highway and around the country road corners and made it in time most days.
One day, I got stuck behind two slow trucks, one in each lane . The first was trying to pass the other who was apparently not in the mood to get passed. Driving slowly, ever so slowly, behind them, my blood boiled and hate flowed from my lips, rushing loudly like water from a beautiful fountain.
It was there, in that moment of frustration and anger that my training from Evergreen kicked in and I finally got the joke!
I call it Zen and the Art of Road Rage.
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