“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”   — Japanese proverb

This morning I got into a little back and forth with a driver who was tailgating me.  

I could have changed lanes.  I could have slowed down and let him pass.  I could have shown him some zen-inspired lovingkindness. I could have, as an old friend suggested, generated compassion and empathy by imagining that any driver who is speeding and tailgating must, of course, be transporting a sick child to the local hospital’s ER.

But I didn’t.  I engaged him. 

I tapped my brakes to let him know he was too close.

And then it became a thing.

Before I knew it, we were exchanging impassioned words and frenetic gestures–Words where we questioned the others’ genetic heritage and gestures that, at first, began as random and abstract expressions of confusion and frustration, but eventually evolved into nonverbal gestures with specific messages attached.

In short, I participated in just about every single behavior that I use this blog to advise you against.  

I’m not proud of my behavior.  I stumbled.   I ignored my Zen training and fell off the road rage wagon.

And since I cannot change what happened,  I can only begin by standing up, brushing myself off, and honoring my Zen philosophies by accepting my behavior, not judging myself too harshly, and recommitting to a life approach of lovingkindess and compassion.

So it’s all right to stumble.  In fact, it’s unavoidable and inevitable.

The key is to acknowledge it, own it, and recommit to the walk.

And remember, just because we’re going to stumble doesn’t mean we’re not on this journey together.

The lesson here is two fold:

1) We are fellow travellers on the Zen path.

2) But don’t follow me too closely. 🙂  TZT