Who is the Guru?
Remember the asshole that cut you off on the highway last week just as you were trying to merge to the exit? And then gave you the finger! The squirrel that peed on your head while you were eating lunch under a tree? The person at Starbucks who went berserk at you because the volume on your phone was driving him nuts? The cat that meowed at you for an hour straight until you let him outside at 4am? The winter morning when your car died on the way to an important meeting and instead you had to wait an ungodly amount of time in your new icebox?
Here's a fact: we can't escape these moments. They're present all around us, each and every day, and often they're events that throw off our rhythm leaving us frustrated and on edge. When left to the unconscious mind, these scenarios yield a level of stress within us -- remnants of the "fight or flight" response that's hard-wired into our DNA. But there is another way to look at these moments, with awareness, that can facilitate growth rather than resentment.
Imagine that these instances are arising in the form of your Guru. Your teacher. Your friend. He comes to you at random times with a lesson in mind and it's up to you to realize the message. That asshole is your Guru coming to you manifested as an opportunity. How will you respond?
I've been experimenting with this idea a lot in my everyday travels. Trying to keep at the forefront of thought that the happenings of this world around me are not in my control. Who am I to say that I can dictate what's going to happen in a day? I simply cannot know. It's impossible. All that I knowingly control are my own reactions and interpretations of the happenings -- my attitude. And nothing about this is easy. Sometimes a barrage of these events can happen in a short period of time, presenting me with a mountain to climb when I was planning for a calm walk down the block to pick up some milk. In those times I only get a chance to assess my actions afterwards. But the more I can remain aware -- gaining strength in each footstep -- the more capable I become to climb these spontaneous mountains. The change is tangible.
When framed with this mindset, events like the ones I mentioned above simply become challenges to overcome. They become the mere circumstances of the day, roadblocks set in place by our great teacher -- the world -- to help us grow and achieve. When you come over the top of a hill on the highway and meet an endless lineup of red brake lights at a dead stop, it's useless to get angry. YOU'RE ALREADY THERE. Instead, take a breath and a moment to search for an opportunity to advance one step further down the path. We'll never control the world but we can control how we perceive it.