Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Buddha in the Backseat
I try to keep peace and I make a deal with myself to remain calm and centered for the entire commute to work (which is not a very far drive). At the first light I feel the impatience growing as I sit behind a lady who won't turn right on red. I recall my intention and get back into my happy/angst-free state quickly. Then, we finally turn right and I am halted at the next red light. As commuting trips go, I have a pretty simple and easy one but I am usually overrun and there are a lot of opportunities for red lights and cars coming every which way on the well traveled road with a lot of businesses and driveways within the 8 mile 15 minute time period. One instance I was being very aggressively tailgated and threw my hands up in disgust after I was very rudely passed and then incited a case of road rage in the driver of the truck who decided to stop dead at the next light.. As I go around the truck stopped at a green light, I speed up and enter the next lane the truck gathers speed and impeding my lane and pushing me towards the curb. My life was being challenged and anger (not mine) was being forced down my throat. I was in the bike lane and had another maneuver been necessary I would not have noticed or been able to perform it. Finally the truck relented and turned left, unsatisfied that I did not return the anger. I was shaken but surprisingly more aware of the realization that other people are in a pained state and sometimes are trying to bring me into that.
The Buddha statue was sitting among several objects placed on a sheet outside of the studio after a class on Saturday morning. I looked over the items; books and tins and records. I saw the Buddha and wanted him right away. I had only $5 in my purse and sheepishly asked the price. The owner was haggling and negotiating with another customer and asked for $20, but they offered him a check. I piped in that I had $5 in cash and it was mine. I immediately loved the statue made out of resin or polymer. It was about 9 or 10 inches tall and not made of expensive material or excessive artistry. It represented a quest or desire for quiet inner peace.
I contemplated where to store his naked/unpacked body for the trip home in the car. The armrest in the backseat was down, revealing a small cubby between the seats and I placed him securely there. I drove home and checked on his travels by looking in the rear view mirror and marveled that the calmness remained and how cute and perfect he fit and existed in the cubby hole.
Upon arriving home I began unpacking my car of various items to take up to the apartment and reached for the Buddha statue. I hesitated and thoughtfully wondered where he could reside in the house. After a moment, I did not see a clear location I realized he was already seated in a prime spot.
Now I see him from time to time when observing the traffic behind me and when I turn to get something from the back. I have Buddha in the backseat to watch over my driving and bring a peaceful mind to my drive.
I renewed my vow to have a zen-ful minded inbound commute and remain as peaceful as possible. I set off on the same old boring drive to work and at a stop light, I did my usual mirror checks and glanced in the rear view mirror. Somehow the dawn morning light was bending and refracting so that an image of the Buddha statue was appearing somewhat hovering transparently on top of the backseat. I knew it was a play of reflection with the mirror and lights, but this struck me as so odd and awesome that I laughed out loud alone in the car. Hearing my own laughter out loud only caused me to laugh again and soon I had forgotten traffic and my struggle to find peace with the drive. I was simply alive and free and in joy.