Friday, February 29, 2008

Buddhism and Vanity Plates

In the middle of my hectic week, I may have gotten a little message from the Great Beyond.

As I was driving back up the I-270 corridor from Rockville to Frederick, I came upon a big Cadillac with a pearlized cream exterior and a balding man at the wheel. It wasn't the man I noticed as much as the vanity plate...


This simple message may have had many meanings--a special one to the car's owner, another to a teenaged boy, another to an extreme sports fanatic, and yet another to me.

As I drifted along behind him, doing the requisite 15 mph over the speed limit (so as not to be flattened by the other drivers), I puzzled over all of these possible meanings in my head. I forgot to hear what was on the radio. I forgot to think about all of the things I had to do when I got home. The world faded away from me.

Did this aging man skydive, I wondered? Did he "let go" of the airplane? Or did he bungee jump? Did he "let go" of the bridge?

Did he "Let Go, Let God" in AA?

Maybe he let go of his ex-wife? Or of the $50K required to purchase the car?

Did he "let go" during the wind-releaser move in yoga class?

I preferred to think he had let go of his worries.

When I was a child and life would become unbearable, I always thought of the teachings of Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount. After all, I was raised Southern Baptist, with weekly Bible studies, Sunday School, choir, vacation Bible school in the summer, and all manner of special events at the church. The Bible was ingrained in me. Jesus said, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin" (Phillipians 6:25-34). I thought of the sparrows, who "sowed not, neither do they reap." And here I am spinning my wheels constantly, trying to find traction in this life. I'm here, where the rubber meets the road, but the rubber isn't even touching the road, and for all the effort I put into pulling the two together, I slowly begin to realize...

There is no rubber.
There is no road.
Or, as the little monk-like child in the Oracle's living room in The Matrix said, "There is no spoon."

All of my struggling simply makes me suffer more. My suffering increases the suffering of those around me. If I could simply let go and let thoughts happen, let life happen, take each minute and breath as it comes, would I not be more settled? Would I not be less anxious?

The Cadillac eventually zoomed away, down a long exit ramp, disappearing around a stand of pines. The message lived in my mind for the rest of the day, however.

I Let Go.

Peace - D


Not Afraid to Use It said...

This is pretty deep. Though my first reaction was that the driver must be an avid farter.

I love it when you find those moments when suddenly you contemplate the meaning of life. It's not like you wake up one morning and think Today I Will Contemplate the Meaning of It All!! It is the unexpected moments like the one you have described that take us by suprise and have the most impact. Funny how that works. ;)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I'm such a horrible person about "letting go." I just can't do it. Only after I have exhausted every possible solution or have physically exhausted myself, only then can I let go, and usually under extreme protest.

Wish I could let go more often!

Thanks for the post, hon!

Daryl E said...

I am firstly LOL at the other comment .. avid farter .. made me laugh ..

I am one of those compulsive people who cant let go .. gotta keep on shaking it til its dead ..

Glad you were able to .. post this and have David show me the way here .. :-D

aims said...

I too laughed at the 'avid farter' - don't know if it would have been my first thought - but maybe my second....

and ya - David sent me too!

John-Michael said...

If only we (as humanity) could Be as you have described so very well! Such peace! So much energy that now goes to mindless activities and mental entanglements. So much more capacity to see and embrace each other.

Well done, my Friend!

Momma said...

I feel so loved! This post was linked to by David over at authorblog, and I couldn't be more delighted. Wow!

"This is the kind of spontaneous publicity that makes people!" -- Steve Martin, in The Jerk (after seeing his name in the phone book - remember those?)

NATUI - I'm with you. I love those unexpected moments that take my breath away.

CMGD - It's your hyperanalytical streak that gives you such charm! There is something about being a mom that makes it necessary to be a bit of a control freak. It will pass.

Daryl E - Welcome to the blog. I swear I'm not an avid farter, regardless of what my husband says!

Aims - Welcome to my blog, and thanks for visiting from David's site. Isn't his the greatest?

John-Michael - Welcome! I hope you will check in with me frequently. I'm not always as deep as I was with this post, but Buddhism is a passion of mine. I would love to find that elusive peace (at will) during my day. This vanity plate was a perfect moment in my week, though. If we are alert, we will find the answers we seek.

Peace - D

katydidnot said...

let go? let go? no, no! must hold on! must remain in control!

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