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Thread: A karma tale, and a question

  1. #1

    A karma tale, and a question

    After a long weekend with friends, I left my partner and son “up north” ( our son is attending camp for a week, and my partner is catching up with her friend) and headed back into town for work and an appointment. While driving south on #10 I pulled into a gas station in a quiet little hamlet.. After putting twenty bucks in the tank, I pulled out of the station to the nearby red light as I buckled up. A cop at the corner watching this did “the point” and pulled me in. Then he issued a $240 ticket for “driving without a seat belt on”. I said I just pulled out of the gas station and was buckling up. He said I should have buckled up before pulling out, and that...”this was about safety”....

    I decided to track how this was absorbed by this infeebled brain, and so here is a description of my karmic profile over getting an “unfair” ticket...


    My verbal response to the officer was that I just saw a guy pass five cars going up a hill, then pull in at the last minute before nailing oncoming traffic, and that he should have been there, if his job is about safety, ....and that this was just about bagging someone on a technically ..and it had no bearing on safety. OK, that was cocky, and not getting off on the right foot with the officer. The encounter ended with the him handing me the ticket and saying “Have a good week ..Sir “ ...and me saying “Have a good week ..Sir

    Then, driving away from the cop there was a righteous-anger-me-cramp that lasted for a few minutes. I knew I could not wish it away.. it was just like that. The righteous me-cramp came back a few times on the drive home...each time cycling through...

    Later, when getting ready for bed I looked over at the ticket on the mantle.. and had another righteous cramp...... and felt it cycle through....

    This morning while sitting there was no sign of it, just the usual milky stew of “what's going on” flowing by, and the occasion blue sky... all ok.

    Then, later this morning when discussing the weekend,and among other things getting at hefty ticket, with a male relative.. he took-on the ticket part and flew into “Fight It!!!” mode.. he always must battle to the bitter end, even if it take years .. “It's the principle”. With this, the righteous me-cramp came back.. but also a clear awareness that I have no interest in pursuing anything. But, still, he juiced the cramp again for a minute.

    After that.. no more cramp. And the thought of the ticket while typing this is emotionally neutral.... It's been absorbed and normalized.



    My question is.... Would you have been serene and unmoved getting the ticket? Would you have been briefly indignant, then no more? Would there be a residue that takes a little while to cycle through?

    What does letting go mean in this context? Should the way this body and mind works be more “Enlightened” ...so I remain unmoved regardless?

    Thank you. Gassho
    Last edited by Daizan; 07-03-2012 at 06:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    I could be wrong, but I suspect it would be unnatural to feel serene and unmoved when getting a ticket like that. Trying to make yourself have a reaction other than what you're actually having seems like the old Something Extra to me, trying to put nice layers on your practice instead of just processing what you're processing. Stuff like that ticket would take me a little time to get over, but when I'd feel ready to move on, I'd be totally ready to move on. Does that make sense?

    I had a situation a couple months ago when I had applied for a job at the place where I volunteer. It's a government job, so my application had to go through another place entirely, and they didn't even deem me qualified. Which was okay. What wasn't okay was that my supervisor knew that for weeks and didn't tell me. One morning she announced that the job was filled to everyone at the management meeting (I was not in it). About an hour later, the IT guy came down to ask me to give him all my passwords so he could set up the computer I was using for the new hire. THAT'S how I found out. (He totally thought I knew.) I stewed about that for a couple days, and let it go. I still volunteer there, but in a different division where they need somebody. Some employees are surprised I'm not still pissed. Maybe if I hadn't given it time, I would still be, who knows.

    Anyway, as for the ticket . . . I always think of an unfair ticket as, well, look at all the times I deserved a ticket and DIDN'T get caught . . .

    Gassho

    Jen
    Last edited by Nenka; 07-03-2012 at 06:41 PM.
    The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice. --Shunryu Suzuki

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka View Post
    I could be wrong, but I suspect it would be unnatural to feel serene and unmoved when getting a ticket like that. Trying to make yourself have a reaction other than what you're actually having seems like the old Something Extra to me, trying to put nice layers on your practice instead of just processing what you're processing. Stuff like that ticket would take me a little time to get over, but when I'd feel ready to move on, I'd be totally ready to move on. Does that make sense?

    I had a situation a couple months ago when I had applied for a job at the place where I volunteer. It's a government job, so my application had to go through another place entirely, and they didn't even deem me qualified. Which was okay. What wasn't okay was that my supervisor knew that for weeks and didn't tell me. One morning she announced that the job was filled to everyone at the management meeting (I was not in it). About an hour later, the IT guy came down to ask me to give him all my passwords so he could set up the computer I was using for the new hire. THAT'S how I found out. (He totally thought I knew.) I stewed about that for a couple days, and let it go. I still volunteer there, but in a different division where they need somebody. Some employees are surprised I'm not still pissed. Maybe if I hadn't given it time, I would still be, who knows.

    Anyway, as for the ticket . . . I always think of an unfair ticket as, well, look at all the times I deserved a ticket and DIDN'T get caught . . .

    Gassho

    Jen
    Hi Nenka... I agree, we have the reactions we have. That situation at work you describe would pinch, for sure. Some people might get carried off by indignity. It sounds like you let go when it was time to. Good for you. The thing that bites is the sense of injustice. Getting a ticket for speeding when you are speeding is fair and square. It is not nice, but it has no bite. Strangely, once a (now defunked) gallery made off with around $14000.00 in paintings, and because the sum was so huge, I could not be upset. It was just a write-off. There is no rhyme or reason to what pushes someone's buttons.... It is different for everyone, situational. ...but no one, surely, is beyond having buttons that can be pushed to some degree.

    Thanks for your response. Gassho, kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 07-03-2012 at 09:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Here is a story I sometimes relate from my life, true story ...

    For several years, my wife and I volunteered at a Hospice for the terminally ill. I was late to get to work there one morning, and took the toll road ... but did not have any small change (I think it was 25 cents), and only a large $20 bill. The woman in the toll booth could not take the large bill, refused to accept my promise to pay double on the return trip, gave me a hard time, filling out forms and blocking traffic too. I got a bit hot under the collar and told her and her rules off a bit. Jerky rules!

    Not two hours later, I run into the same woman, crying next to her dying mother's bed in the hospice ... True story.

    Everyone's life has many causes and conditions that brought them to that place. The fellow who cuts you off in traffic may be worried about losing his job, or the rude sales clerk may just be having a bad day. I try to keep that in mind now.

    By the way, technically the officer was not wrong about driving with one hand while trying to do your belt with the other. Also, the town needs the money.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-04-2012 at 01:57 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    I would've probably been peeved too. I'm good at justifying and arguing. But who knows? I'm just speculating. I'm just glad you are human.. "enlightened" is boring. Lol

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    My question is.... Would you have been serene and unmoved getting the ticket? Would you have been briefly indignant, then no more? Would there be a residue that takes a little while to cycle through?

    What does letting go mean in this context? Should the way this body and mind works be more “Enlightened” ...so I remain unmoved regardless?

    Thank you. Gassho
    Kojip,
    I think what you are asking is rather if you did well, not so well, if you should have done better and if any of use would have been more "zen" in this situation etc etc ... I feel no need for this; you're ok and fine as you did, and whatever we imagine we would have done or not is not relevant for you really. You're doing well, no chance to do better. Just an impression from me, some interpretation, also pretty irrelevant
    Gassho
    Myoku

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    Kojip,
    I think what you are asking is rather if you did well, not so well, if you should
    have done better and if any of use would have been more "zen" in this situation etc etc ... I feel no need for this; you're ok and fine as you did, and whatever we imagine we would have done or not is not relevant for you really. You're doing well, no chance to do better. Just an impression from me, some interpretation, also pretty irrelevant
    Gassho
    Myoku
    Well, I would rather say that we are fine as we are, always already Buddha AND we can always do better... until we are perfect Buddha.

    Buddha not Buddha ... makes sense to Zennies!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-04-2012 at 06:35 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Well, I would rather say that we are fine as we are, always already Buddha AND we can always do better... until we are perfect Buddha.

    Buddha not Buddha ... makes sense to Zennies!

    Gassho, Jundo
    That makes sense to me, Jundo. Thank you.

    Gassho, kojip


    ed. Just one little note. The fine goes to the Ontario coffers, not the town where the highway infraction happened. I see it as an addition to provincial taxes.
    Last edited by Daizan; 07-04-2012 at 11:20 AM.

  9. #9
    Shit happens. Sometimes it costs us time and money. I don't pretend to not being attached to both. All I can do is keep practicing.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  10. #10
    Oh, and Buddha would always buckle up.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Why wouldn't they let buddha ride in the ox cart?


    Because he wouldn't buckle up.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Well, I would rather say that we are fine as we are, always already Buddha AND we can always do better... until we are perfect Buddha.

    Buddha not Buddha ... makes sense to Zennies!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Thank you Jundo
    _()_
    Myoku

  13. #13
    Thanks for sharing. These days, I try not to let too much get to me. Usually I just remind myself, "Look, stop fuming over your silly little first-world problems. When you have to deal with some third-world problems, then we can get upset." Sometimes I just have to laugh at how people (myself included) who live comparatively luxurious lives can get so upset over the most petty things.
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  14. #14
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    That's great! No ticket for Buddha

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  16. #16
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    You are human, and so you reacted in that small, human way that we have. But the important part is you processed it. You didn't hang on to the small human reaction. You were aware of it and then let it go after a bit. It's not the event (ticket), nor is it the reaction to the event (anger over unfairness), but the whole scene of the play from beginning to end, with no end. On you go to your next scene.

    I had a somewhat similar thing two days ago but with the roles reversed. I made a student mad and upset at me. I am mean* and unfair and it is all my fault for her poor performance because she was just doing what I told her to do**, and so on in her view. Well, my reaction was to be upset with myself also. I have been reexamining my interactions and interventions with her ever since, two days of rehashing it over and over again in my mind. I'm not beating myself up or second guessing as much as trying to better understand what happened so I can be better with her, and others, in the future. But I've also had to keep reminding myself that the past is past, beyond fixing, and same with the present. The only thing I can do is learn and let go and move on, and hopefully help her do the same. But it's a real balancing act, and sometimes it takes a while to get your balance back after losing it, and that's okay. I generally like surfing analogies (it's okay to fall off the board, just get back on), but since I started with a play analogy I'll go back to it. Sometimes we forget our lines and have to improvise until we get back on script. But there is no script, really; it's all improv all the time.

    (* She may have a point here, as I am a lot like Taigu in how I like to cut through the bullshit and don't appreciate whiners too much in my job.)
    (** She has less of a point here, and I need to help her see that.)
    Last edited by AlanLa; 07-05-2012 at 05:43 PM.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  17. #17
    Hey Kojip,

    I must say whenever I have gotten a ticket my first reaction is usually thinking "I've done nothing wrong." For me it's not just a reaction of feeling "unjustly" treated, but wanting to think I haven't done anything wrong. This does "linger" sometimes. After some time has passed I usually think, and feel, the officer was doing his job and I was in the wrong. (Mind you my tickets are for minor violations...such as yours.) I remember from grad school and article I read about how people have a moral bias that involves thinking that one is almost all of the time in the right. A line in the article read "self innocent, until proven guilty." So been there and will be in that space again I am sure. I think what matters is reflecting on the experience...such as you are doing.

    I will tell a wonderful story that happened a few years ago. I received a phone call that my dad had a heart attack and was trying to reach the hospital ASAP. I got pulled over as I was speeding. As the officer was approaching the car I blurted out "My dad had a heart attack!" I imagine I looked pretty anxious. The officer waved for me to go and shouted out "Slow down...I'll say a prayer for your dad." I'm sure police hear such excuses all the time, but, for whatever reason he believed me.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Being a right hand drive vehicle,white-petteway-serene-buddha-sculpture-in-a-car-strapped-in-by-a-seatbelt.jpg That would be the driver's seat. Yeah, Buddha's in the Drver's seat!!
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    I forgot to add that no matter how well Buddha is buckled into the seat, He is not attached to it
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    Thanks for sharing. These days, I try not to let too much get to me. Usually I just remind myself, "Look, stop fuming over your silly little first-world problems. When you have to deal with some third-world problems, then we can get upset." Sometimes I just have to laugh at how people (myself included) who live comparatively luxurious lives can get so upset over the most petty things.
    Hi Kaishin.. That is a reasonable assumption to make, but an assumption just the same. Why would a silly little thing like a perceived unfair fine for $240 evoke such a gut response? What could the circumstances, context, and history be behind that response? Spoiled firstworldism? Maybe. But there are frequently situations lived through in the "first world" that we wouldn't wish on anyone.

    Gassho, kojip.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Hi Kojip,

    Maybe we can find the cause of your suffering by changing your story a bit with a thought experiment?
    What if instead of a $240 ticket the officer had given you a $2.40 ticket? Would your reaction have been the same? If no, then ask why. If yes, then again ask yourself why.


    Simplified examples of each for clarification(not that either will necessarily apply to you!)


    If no(you wouldn't feel the same), then perhaps the root cause is attachment to the money?


    If yes(you would still feel the same), then perhaps the root cause is attachment to ideas of who and what is right/just and wrong/unjust?


    I think really investigating how you would feel and what you would think (in this newly created situation) will hopefully shed light on the origins of what was truly behind it all. Then you work on it form there

    Gassho,
    Hoyu
    Ho (Dharma)
    Yu (Hot Water)

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu View Post
    Hi Kojip,

    Maybe we can find the cause of your suffering by changing your story a bit with a thought experiment?
    What if instead of a $240 ticket the officer had given you a $2.40 ticket? Would your reaction have been the same? If no, then ask why. If yes, then again ask yourself why.


    Simplified examples of each for clarification(not that either will necessarily apply to you!)


    If no(you wouldn't feel the same), then perhaps the root cause is attachment to the money?


    If yes(you would still feel the same), then perhaps the root cause is attachment to ideas of who and what is right/just and wrong/unjust?


    I think really investigating how you would feel and what you would think (in this newly created situation) will hopefully shed light on the origins of what was truly behind it all. Then you work on it form there

    Gassho,
    Hoyu
    Hello Hoyu. To be honest I regret starting this conversation, but will pick up your point. Yes, it was a gut reaction to the money at that moment.. "Attachment to money".. that is one way of putting it... another way of putting it is an attachment to paying for my son's tuition coming due, just when my market has dissolved, savings are depleted, and I start re-training for a second career on a very tight budget..

    This is all very personal information... and I certainly don't dwell on it in practice, or the pedigree of my karma. I mention it because "attachment to money" can mean a lot of things from the glib and silly, and venal, to concerns related to real responsibilities. It depends. One thing practice has taught me more and more.. is coming to terms with actuality of this bodymind's karmic sinew as it is. ...anyway I've said enough on this thread.

    Gassho, kojip

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