As we all become caught up in the business of life and perceived need to hurry, accomplish, arrive on time; and as we find ourselves powerless at times and disrespected at others, useful to stop and think, what might the Buddha do? Or Jesus, or Mohammed the prophet. What would Krishna or Confucius or even Moses do?
We may or may not be religious, go to church, pray, meditate or practice a faith, but fundamentally we all know right from wrong.
Too often this knowing is outwardly directed to others in a judgmental way determining whether others are treating us right or wrong rather than internally where we look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we are taking the true and right path, decision or action.
When we drive, we cant look into the eyes of another and even if briefly connect with him/her, instead we are insulated in our cars and trucks and depersonalize others; easily judging their actions as good or bad, right or wrong and in turn justifying behaviour that we might otherwise never engage in. What might Jesus do if cut off? Swearing and tailgating is likely not the response.
But even if you are not a practiser of spiritual or religious values, is retaliation the right thing to do?
Would the Buddha should someone out of the way in the grocery store lineup or intentionally tailgate someone when driving?
Every spiritual leader ever, professed peace and the importance of tolerance, forgiveness and the inherent goodness in all others regardless of their behaviour in the moment. You and I have both behaved badly at some point but has that doomed us to purgatory and forever tarnished us as a bad person?
In fact, we all are imperfect people, struggling to find out way through life, some more skilled in some ways and less in others. Compassion is an appropriate response to poor driving skill seen in others or even intentional aggressive driving.
The angry, blaming, judgemental and fearful are truly the ones that most need our understanding and compassion rather than our retaliation and road rage.
You may have a GPS in your vehicle that guides you to your destination, but each of us has another compass; and internal moral compass that if you listen to it, before acting or reacting impulsively, will guide us to the best outcome for all.
So when you next drive, make a resolution for this New Year to refer to your internal compass about right and wrong and apply it to yourself first before judging others.
Jesus said,"Let those without sin cast the first stone".The Buddha said, "It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell"
Or perhaps Michael Jackson said it best in his song, Man in the Mirror. "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change "
Written By: Spencer McDonald, President, Thinking Driver
About the Author - Spencer McDonald is a respected authority on driver behaviour, psychology and training, and is the founder of Thinking Driver. To learn more about Mr. McDonald, please visit www.thinkingdriver.com.