Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stuck in line

If there were an award for most impatient person on Earth, I think I'd win by miles. I fidget in line at the gas station, counting each precious second lost. In line at the supermarket, I try to stand patiently while my mind runs through a laundry list of all the things I could be doing if I had only chosen the right line.

For some reason, I always seem to choose the wrong line. You know, the one that looks shorter but has that annoying customer who insists on paying in change. Maybe I have slow line karma or something.

Anyway, so I was waiting in line at the farmer's market when I overheard two women talking. Both were in their sixties, and dressed in their Sunday finest.

The one in the line opposite me said, "I think he's waiting outside."

The woman behind me leaned over my shoulder to glance out the plate glass window. She shrugged, as if to say, "Oh well."

A few seconds passed as it occurred to me that perhaps these women were in a hurry and, since I wasn't, I turned around and offered the woman to take my spot.

"No, no, no," she said. "That's okay."

Suddenly all of my tension melted. The moment I started to think about someone else's needs, my own obstinate insistence on speed disappeared.

It was amazing. Sure, I've read all about the Bodhisattva's Vow and dedicating oneself to saving others, but here I actually felt it.

Now, I'm not comparing what I did to saving a busload of kids from a fiery inferno--far from it. But it was an amazing experience, nonetheless, as I literally felt my priorities shift from "me, me, me" to someone else. I was no longer consumed with my own worries, because my sphere of experience opened to include others.

My sense of self, I suppose, broadened.

I'm sure this has happened before, but I have never been so conscious of the shift. It was so simple and yet so remarkable.

Thanks ladies, you taught me a lot. More than likely, they were Bodhisattvas!

Image borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: Wesley Fryer.

1 comment:

  1. Never make where you are going, more important than where you are - Rev. Yuanzhi