The light turned red just as I was about to make a right turn at a busy intersection. I stopped for the light. The guy behind me blasted his horn. Sure, I could have put on the gas and quickly turned before the cars crossed the intersection, but I came to a complete stop as is the law.
I felt anger when I heard his horn. I looked at him in the rearview mirror. The passive-aggressive part of me thought, “Oh, you just wait. I’m going to go nice and slow.” So I did. I went the speed limit after I turned. Then I pulled up parallel to the car in the next lane ahead of me and kept its pace so that angry horn guy couldn’t pass. Sure, I was doing the speed limit and obeying the law, but my thoughts were those of making the driver behind me pay.
If we are truly practicing yoga, that includes adhering to the ethical behaviors described in yama and niyama, the first two limbs in yoga.
If I am trying to practice ahimsa, the first yama in yoga, then that means non-harming. Non-harming in actions, words, and thoughts. What I was doing was getting revenge. I felt anger and was distracted by trying to keep the irritated driver behind me. That “I’ll show him” mentality was probably making him angrier and was causing me to continue to be angry when I could have been enjoying my drive.
In hindsight, I should have simply let the red-light incident go and continued with my daily business.
Notice how ingrained we can become with habits and actions. “You hurt me, I’ll hurt you.” That kind of thinking never helps any situation.
Being able to respond in a non-harmful way is practicing yoga.