Home 2012 September 05 Traffic Jams

Traffic Jams

Everywhere I go I seem to land up in traffic jams. Which every country, or state I visit, I meet them. Whether I leave early or I leave late, whether it is during school time or not, I end up in a jam of some sorts either due to a broken down car, an accident or construction. I even was in one long traffic cue that resulted from waiting for a mother duck and her duckling family crossing the road! We have all faced traffic jams in some shape or form in the past, or are facing them presently or will do so in the future. It is inevitable. How do you get everyone to where they want to go all at the same time?  Impossible by any physics principle you apply. 
During the traffic jam, the peering out the side of the window to see the root cause, to give a sense of how long a wait it is going to be, or the impatient honking ( like that ever solved the problem!) are typical customary actions that go along with the frustration, the anger, the cursing, and the banging of the steering wheel.  I often wonder how all this can be avoided. I think we are all meant to be somewhere at a certain time. We are all preoccupied with distractions in our lives prior to heading out somewhere and so invariably are rushed as we are “late.” This is where the problem begins. But if we all take adequate time and plan out our day we may arrive to where we wish to be at the right time. However I am also a believer that we always are where we are, because of where we choose to be and we arrive to our temporary destinations exactly on time and on target, not a moment too soon or a moment too late. 
Traffic jams are life’s way of saying slow down and take a second to understand and enjoy the moment. A good time for mindfulness meditation whether for a few minutes or a few hours is  a traffic jam. Like the Snickers commercial slogan “Not going anywhere for a while, grab a Snickers Bar”, we can apply this to the traffic jam. “Not going anywhere for a while, then be HERE” Grab a bite into a fresh rich block of time and be mindful.  If we are always mindful, and not lost in thoughts, or talking there is more time to observe, listen and think. Many a time I take the opportunity to look around me in the traffic jam. Either looking at the trees, sky, or nature around me as each time I looked at it, the scene changes. Nothing is forever, and zipping on by in the car, you miss truly knowing what is around you, and being mindful of your surroundings. Sometimes I observe my fellow “traffic jam buddies” others stuck on their commute. How often do you get a chance at looking at your fellow man? Do you turn down your window and say hello? I do. In this way I have discovered shops in my town that I did not know existed, quaint ice cream parlors, services I thought only were available in other towns. When we are present and mindful, the world opens up and blossoms, with awakening from within. A connection of sorts occurs with you and the universe. The moment you get back into a different focus, your intention and attention changes and so does your connection. 

Not every traffic jam is going to ruin your day. It may have been the perfect traffic jam to delay you from an accident or calamity. The traffic jam may delay you from taking your flight, but in time to meet someone on the next flight you were meant to meet. It may delay you long enough to miss the job interview, but only to allow the right job to come your way. Life is not without its sense of fairness and balance. If we trust it, it will continue to trust you, and you will believe that you are meant to be where you are and will be where you are meant to go, at the right time to the right place. 

You can be locked in a traffic jam internally for years and decades. I am referring to the jam of the mind and emotions. Perhaps a distrustful encounter or a negative experience leading to resentment and we hold onto this anger, grief, the torment for most of our lives. Reliving it over and over again till it consumes us. Until one day we keep honking the horn and there is no one there but ourselves and our bruised egos. Forgiving the past, accepting the present and welcoming the future allows us to step out of those jams. 
If you live in the moment and are mindful you will not only exist happier, more relaxed but will eventually be free of your internal traffic jams. But if you are next time stuck in an external traffic jam, look around and within. You will explore a whole new world and discover that you are meant to be in this jam and like all jams this too does not last forever and you can leave the traffic jam feeling a sense of well being and elated and not frustrated and dejected at being late. After all “ Time is an illusion, sleep time doubly so.”
How do you plan to get out of your traffic jam today?

Author: Brown Knight

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