You are Traffic
Hello and welcome to Friday, October 8, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
Supporting the wisdom of shared existence, my teacher, John Bruna, states a whimsical yet profound truth, “You are not in traffic, you are traffic!”
Though we may intuitively know that we are but one among a crowd, many of us tend to live as if “there’s me and then there’s everyone else.” If we didn’t think this way, we wouldn’t call home and say that “I’m going to be late for dinner because I’m stuck in traffic.” You are the traffic. If we were more consciously aware of our interconnectedness, we would instead say something like, “There are many of us on the highway tonight, so I’ll likely be home late for dinner.”
Primarily in the west, there is a strong sense of I, me, and mine. We tend to place a lot of emphasis on individual identity and ownership. Though there are more than three hundred million people living in the United States, we often hear something to the effect of, “I am an American and I have rights.” If we were more we-centric, would instead be hearing, “We are Americans and we have rights.”
While countless people from all around the world were involved in the production and distribution of the food you eat, it’s common to think that “this is my food.” We paid for it after all, so we tend think that it’s ours and ours alone. What would it feel like to instead say, “It is only because of the efforts of countless others that I am fortunate enough to eat this food.”? A simple yet profound shift in our perspective can re-connect us to the inseparable world in which we live.
So many suffer from loneliness. This self-centered I, me, and mine thinking has a lot to do with this unfortunate lonely illusion. With all this concern for ourselves – living in my house, driving my car, wearing my clothes, taking my kids to school, going to my job, posting on my social media page, texting on my phone, not getting what I need, thinking I am stuck in traffic – how can we ever truly recognize and appreciate our inextricable connection with one another? Why wouldn’t we feel alone living in a world of I, me, and mine?
Though I have most definitely felt “alone,” you are not alone, you have never been alone, and you are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.
Something that you can do each day that will help to break down the destructive overemphasis on I, me, and mine is to pick one object that you “own” and for five minutes consider all those who are responsible for its acquisition, production, and distribution. It won’t be long before you find yourself living in the inseparable web of existence to which you already belong.
If you would like to explore this or other Mindfulness practices more deeply, I’m here to help.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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