“Aw, man.” I thought as I heard my alarm go off. I must have snoozed a few times and now there’s no time to meditate this morning. I got ready for work, threw my hair in a ponytail, jumped in my car and was off…about eight minutes later than I should’ve left. Not to mention, I still had to swing through Wawa to get some coffee. I normally had about ten minutes of smooth driving until I hit traffic and then inched the rest of the way to work.
As I was driving along, I was pondering how I could possibly be so at peace the day before in the attic with Jesus and now, totally stressed. My mind was racing, hoping traffic wouldn’t be as bad as usual, hoping I got to work on time, trying to figure out how to make that happen, wishing, hoping, praying.
Then I remembered…Jesus told me he would ride in the passenger seat with me on my way to work. Yesssss!
“Jesus…you there?” He instantly popped into my mind and I felt him sitting in the passenger seat. Again, a feeling of peace came over me. Definitely not a familiar feeling in this setting, but a welcomed change.
Me: “I’m so glad you’re here! As you can see, I’m having a rough morning.”
Jesus: “I am always with you.”
Me: “Oh yeah…I forgot…again.”
Me: “Whelp…gonna be late for work again. Based on my calculations, about eight to twelve minutes and by the time I park and get to my desk, a minimum of 17 minutes.”
Jesus: “What are you basing your prediction on?”
Me: “Well, I know how long it takes to get to work. And Monday mornings always have more traffic than other mornings. These are just facts.”
Jesus: “Again, what are you basing your prediction on? How do you know how long it takes to get to work?”
Me: “Based on experience. I’ve been driving this commute for over four years now. It’s how it’s always been.”
Jesus: “Where was your experience?”
Me: “Ohhhh…I see what you’re asking. It was in the past. I guess I haven’t had enough coffee yet, or maybe I’m just slow…haha”
Jesus: “Exactly. Just for now, let go of all of your ‘experience’ and focus on the space between the cars instead of the cars themselves.”
So I focused on the space between the cars. The more attention I gave the space, the more relaxed I felt. I felt myself beginning to let go of needing anything, including needing to get to work on time. Traffic was starting to open up in the most unlikely spot on the highway. Just then, someone cut me off.
Me: “See? I was just starting to feel relaxed and then this guy cuts me off. How can I be at peace with all of these crazy drivers on the road? It stresses me out.”
Jesus: “Imagine that the driver of that car is your sister, Season. What changes for you?”
I had to think about that for a few minutes and feel into it.
Me: “It’s way easier to overlook it if my sister were driving that car. I love her and wouldn’t get angry if she made a little mistake. I would know she didn’t mean to do it.”
Jesus: “Imagine every driver on the road is your sister, then. Overlook all of the mistakes by seeing the innocence you see in your sister in everyone.”
Me: “Hmmm…ok…I think it will take a lot of practice to do it, but I’m willing to try.”
Traffic was really moving now and Jesus continued to remind me to focus on the space around me instead of the cars. I started noticing things that I had never noticed before on my drive to work. I noticed some birds on a wire over the highway. Then I noticed a hawk sitting on a lamppost. I even noticed the sky and how pretty it was. Everything was more vivid. And it seemed like everything was moving more slowly, like there was peace in everything.
Another car cut me off, but this time I could feel that they were going to do it before they did it. I slowed down a bit and just let them merge peacefully, as I would do for my sister. There was no reason to judge or attack the other driver. Judging and attacking was not even part of my realm of possibility in the state I was in.
Just then, Jesus said, “This is your exit.”
I was confused for a minute. I didn’t realize I was already in Delaware. I took the exit.
Me: “Wow. That commute felt like it was about five minutes long.”
We laughed together.
As I was pulling into the parking garage, I glanced at the clock. At that moment, I realized that I hadn’t looked at the clock the whole time I was driving. Where every other day I would be obsessively looking at the clock while I was sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, trying to calculate what time I’d actually get to the office, today I didn’t look at it once. Then I noticed the time. It was 8:50am. I still had ten minutes until I had to be at work.
Me: “Did your energy break my clock or something? There’s no way it is only 8:50 right now.”
We laughed together again.
What a transformation in my commute to work. I didn’t think once about getting to work on time and I arrived with time to spare. I was in the present moment, relaxed and at peace. Nothing was a problem. It was like problems didn’t exist at all anymore. I felt alive and at peace in the moment.
Jesus: “Life is Now. It is never in the past or future. Whenever your mind goes to past experiences, like the ‘history’ of driving to work, or to the future and what time you will get to work, notice it, dismiss it and come back to this moment now. When you get home tonight, read section I of Chapter 28. After you’ve read the section, read paragraph 7 a few more times.”
Me: “Thank you. For all of this.”
After I parked, I sat with Jesus for a few minutes in gratitude. All of my plans, judgments and stressful thoughts seemed so distant now. Like they never even happened. Like they were completely meaningless.
I jotted down my assigned reading and then off to work I went.
Before I went to bed that evening, I read the section Jesus asked me to read. This is paragraph seven of the section:
Chapter 28 (The Undoing of Fear), Section I (The Present Memory), Paragraph 7:
“Remember nothing that you taught yourself, for you were badly taught. And who would keep a senseless lesson in his mind, when he can learn and can preserve a better one? When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone. And so you cannot understand what they are for. Let not the cause that you would give them now be what it was that made them what they were, or seemed to be. Be glad that it is gone, for this is what you would be pardoned from. And see, instead, the new effects of cause accepted now, with consequences here. They will surprise you with their loveliness. The ancient new ideas they bring will be the happy consequences of a Cause so ancient that it far exceeds the span of memory which your perception sees.”
Love & gratitude,