Saturday, June 03, 2006
MEDITATION: "The Gift of a Flat Tire"
When I came out of my house this morning, I thought, for a moment, that my car had a flat tire, and the next thought I had was: It's a gift. Excuse me? A gift? How can a flat tire be said to be a gift? Most people would consider it to be at least a big problem, and perhaps even an unmitigated disaster, especially in the early morning when they're trying to get to work on time. However, I had just spent a few quiet minutes at my desk meditating on the fact that each present moment is a miracle, a brand new unfolding of the power of the universe, and I guess my reaction to the flat tire arose out of that meditation. For a split second (until I realized that the tire was not flat), it seemed like a flat tire was something wonderful, something that held a gift in its hands, something that could bring fulfillment rather than frustration. For just a brief moment, I almost felt happy that my tire was flat. Later, as I drove to school on my perfectly good tire, I thought some more about my odd reaction, and I began to realize that, yes, things like flat tires do bring many unrecognized gifts. First of all, it would require that a mechanic come out from the service station to fix the tire for me, which might be just what that mechanic needed that morning. Perhaps he's new on the job and can't wait to repair his first flat tire. Perhaps doing an excellent job at fixing my tire will absolutely make his day. Second, a flat tire would give me (like a gift) the opportunity to exercise patience, and to build up my reserves of serenity. I can't become more patient and serene except by practicing, and a flat tire would be a perfect occasion to do just that. In that sense, maybe I should say a sincere "thank you" to the misshapen tire for allowing me to become a better person -- and for giving a mechanic a chance to feel good about himself. Next time I get a flat, perhaps I should give it an affectionate pat and smile.