The philosophers say “it is not the problems, but our reaction to the problems which matter a lot”. Indian philosophy, especially Bhagavat Gita speaks about Sthitaprajna. Sthitaprajna is a person who takes both good and bad experiences of life with equanimity. For him all experiences are alike. If we can develop an attitude in which we do our activities in the best possible way without reacting too much to the situations around us, the life becomes very simple! Let us see this in one of the situations in life, where the people become angry very easily, namely driving!
Some people say driving through chaotic traffic makes them stressful and angry and that they do not enjoy the driving. All of us face situations, which irritate us, while driving, but if we deal with them in a composed way, we will enjoy our driving.
While driving, several people feel bad when somebody overtakes them. I remember seeing a TV program, when I was young, about good driving. According to the guy in the program, if somebody is trying to overtake you, allow him to, as he is driving faster than you. Instead of that, you drive faster when you see others closing in on you or try to block them by not giving much space to them. When you drive faster or block others, you are in fact putting others in trouble. They become agitated and it can even lead to accidents. When I faced these situations, the old program and whatever the guy told in that came to my mind. I realized that allowing others to overtake didn’t make me a bad driver. We drive to reach our destination and others overtaking you doesn’t affect that goal at all! So why should we be worrying about that too much? In life too, some people might achieve whatever you were trying to achieve, faster than you. In fact, you also will reach your goal, if you follow your path!
Some people change the lane and suddenly move to your lane and some other people overtake you through the wrong side and come to your lane. You are following the lane discipline, but other are not. You become angry and again try to block others. Usually these happen when you are stuck at a signal or in a traffic jam. When you try to block others, it, in fact, makes the situation worse. The gridlock in which you are stuck increases! You get more and more delayed. It is not that others were right in changing the lane and overtaking in the wrong way. They will realize the mistake or face the consequences in due course of time. Our reaction to these doesn’t change them or change the situation, but only aggravates the situation. Similarly you might see others irritating you in some way or the other. Don’t react unless it is a major issue. They will fritter away!
Some people especially two wheelers and autorikshaws squeeze through the gaps between the vehicles. This is very similar to the one described above. This happen in slow moving traffic and when you are stuck in signals or in traffic Jams. If you allow them to go, they just go away and do not trouble you at all. They will find some other gaps and move ahead! Instead of that if you try to stop it, it can make the situation worse. It can lead to them scraping your vehicle or can even lead to arguments and fights. It spoils the day.
In some cases, people come in the wrong direction, through the wrong carriageway or by breaking the one way rules. You get irritated by this. In some cases, you stop these people and it leads to traffic pile up, arguments and fights. Again, they were not right in breaking the rule and they will realize the mistake or face the consequences in due course of time. In life too, you might see people achieving the goals in the wrong way. Let us follow our path and achieve our goal without getting affected by others.
Another irritant while driving will be, vehicles, especially heavy vehicles, going slowly and we getting stuck behind them. In most of the cases, you get stuck as the roads are narrow or due to heavy traffic. If you observe, in some cases, if you patiently follow them, you will get a chance to overtake and move ahead when you reach wider stretches of the road or when the traffic subsides. The same with problems in life too. If you patiently wait, you will get an opportunity to overcome them. In some other cases, the vehicle in front of you will take a different route, allowing you to move freely! Like this, the problems in life too may go away on their own! In other cases, the vehicle in front of you will continue till end of the road. It might delay you, but you will reach your destination safely. If you had tried to overtake them forcefully, you would have become agitated or it would have led to some accidents. In the same way, some of the problems will remain with us, but if we accept them, we will ultimately achieve our goals.
So, the way we react to the problems faced, while driving and also in other fields in life really matters. If we improve our reaction to these situations, we might improve our reactions to other situations too (including stammering) and manage them in a better way. Initially we might feel angry deep within, though we might not show it outside. It will improve over a period of time. May be, we can use our reaction to these situations as a measure of our own improvement or spiritual progress!