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Mon Apr 24, 2017, 12:43 AM

The Compassion Files: Just when you think you are starting to get pure....

I'm a trucker. In trucking you often deal with people when they are at their worst. It's hard to keep your cool out there on the road sometimes. I experience people doing aggressive, ignorant, and stupid things every day I'm out there. I know the best way to handle it all. You learn to expect stuff like that out there so when it happens you aren't really caught off guard and you can avoid knee-jerk reactions that could lead to a lot more trouble. But it doesn't always work out that way...

I had a wonderful and moving dream the other night. I won't go into that because that's not the purpose of this post. But I started crying toward the end of the dream the tears of someone who has received salvation. I woke up crying and cried for about 15 minutes. There was this dull wrenching pain right in the middle of my chest and it's like all of the tears were coming from there. I rarely cry and I've never cried that way or felt that way when I've cried before.

I took all of that as a sign of spiritual awakening. Then I dutifully marched off to work to hit the road.

I was driving on the interstate and I had just come out of a large city with a lot of traffic. The highway narrowed down to two lanes going one way. I looked up ahead and there was a tractor-trailer on the shoulder of the road. I looked to my left as I approached the semi to see if I could move over, but there was too much traffic. I was doing about 65 mph. I looked back ahead and the trucker on the shoulder decided to come out into my lane. It was everything I could do to get stopped and avoid a terrible collision. We're talking black streaks and a trail of smoke down the highway. I'm lucky no one rear-ended me. I was fortunate that I was loaded lightly or I would have tagged him.

I was shaking with anger and fear. Guess what? Knee-jerk! I got on the CB radio and said, "That was some stupid shit right there." The other driver did not respond. He might not have had his CB on. I don't know. Then I continued down the road.

Yeah, I guess there are worse responses than that. That would have been enough to throw some people into a retaliatory rage. But I had just been thinking that I was this loving being of light and peace earlier that morning and there I was calling another human stupid.

However....lesson learned. I won't react the same way next time. And there will be many next times. It's in the nature of the work.

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Reply The Compassion Files: Just when you think you are starting to get pure.... (Original post)
Tobin S. Apr 2017 OP
Chevy Apr 2017 #1
No Vested Interest Apr 2017 #2
StarryNite Apr 2017 #3
Warpy Apr 2017 #4
JudyM Apr 2017 #5
Tobin S. Apr 2017 #7
grantcart Apr 2017 #6

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Apr 24, 2017, 01:52 AM

1. Feel for ya sir

 

Old roommate was in a brutal accident when another trucker stopped in the middle of a highway for no reason. Had to be air lifted to hospital. One leg has nothing but metal in it now and much pain. Worse yet he said before going on that trip was that how bad the other drivers are getting.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Apr 24, 2017, 02:06 AM

2. This experience just shows that you are human.

You're doing the best that you can at any given moment.
And maybe the other driver was, too.
He's human too.

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Response to No Vested Interest (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 24, 2017, 03:23 AM

3. Nice reply and so true.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Apr 24, 2017, 04:02 AM

4. Sometimes a knee jerk reaction is apporpriate

Your knee jerking so you stood on your brake probably saved a lot of lives.

And that's why you called him stupid, he did a very stupid thing that could have hurt a lot of people in heavy traffic.

Consider that when he pulled out and cut you off, for that one moment, he definitely was stupid.

And consider that you'd much rather see stupid than be stupid.

That's where your compassion lies.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Apr 24, 2017, 10:32 AM

5. Love your post. Deeply human. It's a long process and regaining your center more quickly is also

growth, even if your immediate reactions are heated.

One of the most encouraging things I've read about this is by Tara Brach, a well-respected Buddhist teacher and psychologist that leads the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. After decades of serious dedicated training, including at an ashram, she concedes humbly that her mind still jumps to judgment, and that she has come to accept that that will likely not change, so the work is to spot it and move through it as intelligently as she can each time.

Her weekly group meditation/teachings regularly draw about 200 people and you can listen to her talks on imcw.org if you are interested: http://imcw.org/Talks/Audio-Browser?S=Tara%20Brach

As for me, I drive up and down 95 a lot and have taken to calling the truck company when I see dangerous driving like you experienced. They just want to know the location and license plate and a description of what happened. I feel better not as a venting thing but as if that driver just did this s/he's likely risking other people's lives as well. I've seen some frightening stuff; truckers aren't all the great drivers they used to be.

Stay safe out there!

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Response to JudyM (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 25, 2017, 01:53 PM

7. Thanks, Judy.

I will check out your link.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Apr 24, 2017, 11:49 PM

6. this is the University of Life, you just paid your tuition for that lesson.


When I was 8 years old I was going on an errand with my father and we went downtown and as we were passing a seedy part of the city he saw a homeless guy laying out on the ground. He stopped the car, told me to stay in the car and he went over and gave first aid to the guy who was a wino who had passed out and was bleeding from the head. He eventually got the guy patched up and called an ambulance.

Fifteen years latter I was in Grand Central Station in New York and noticed a guy who had passed out and was on the ground, I froze.

I thought a lot about my reactions and meditated on rewiring my reflexes.

Over a 16 year period in Thailand I was on hand to witness about a dozen serious accidents where the Thais were standing around watching. In two of the cases the head had serious gashes. One was a motorcycle that had hit a truck going the other way at 60 MPH. The Thais thought that the lump in the road was a corpse. I saw his diaphragm move and told my assistant to drive and I carefully picked him up with a broken arm and leg (we were in the country side and there would be no ambulance) and got in the back seat. He regained consciousness about a block from the hospital and was in shock and wanted us to drop him off by the side of the road. Three or four of the accidents probably resulted in saving the guys life.


You said that you reacted with anger and fear. I am guessing that you acted with less anger and less fear than a year ago. I am guessing that next year there will be less.
It wasn't me, I was just doing what my father had taught me when I was 8. Sometimes we just need a little practice to change the wiring.

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