Avoiding road rage with the teachings of Eckhart Tolle

Avoiding road rage with the teachings of Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle tells us how incessant and often disturbing thought patterns bungle our minds and prevent us to live more consciously. Then he explains how emotions reinforces negative thoughts and occupying too much mental energy thus wasted on unnecessary “mental noise” ad destructive emotions. By reading Tolle’s teachings, one realizes that it is often practical and prudent to act on our thoughts, but other times it is enough just to accept, recognize and observe the thoughts going through our minds without buying into them or act. This insight is valuable, especially for a western mind, which all too often loses his temper in traffic.

Emotion and thinking

In his book “The Power of Now” (ed 2005), Eckhart Tolle writes about how incessant and often dysfunctional thinking, clouds our minds and prevents us from living more consciously (pg 12). He goes on to define how emotions are “amplified and energized thought pattern(s)” that consist of energy that is overpowering (pg 22). They tend to go hand in hand and have a way of feeding each other that can be self-destructive.

Mental noiseMany, in general, would hardly view emotions and thinking as being harmful or even self-destructive. Is that not part of our in-built system upon which we primarily rely on to survive and function in this world? Upon further reading into Tolle’s teachings, one realizes that at certain times, it is sensible and practical to act on one’s thoughts but at other points, it is enough to just accept, recognize and observe without buying into them. Many famous athletes, who win championship after championship despite seemingly insurmountable odds, often refer to how they did it by staying focused and “in the zone” i.e. by being mindful and aware of what is happening as oppose to reacting to mind-filled pressures.


Out of the zone

Some practical examples to which one might relate Tolle’s teachings are deliberated next. How often has one witnessed, or contributed to, road rage and other forms of dangerous driving? Many drivers will agree they have their fair share of blame, perhaps brought on by lack of sleep; unfamiliarity with roads, careless or incompetent driving, running late, and the list goes on. The topic of dangerous driving is an area to which almost everyone can relate, be it to a greater or lesser degree. Can one perhaps learn from these potentially harmful and negative experiences on another level?

Emotions and road rageImagine this incident, whereby one is driving along a two-lane one-way road, with an SUV in the left lane, moving along a little haphazardly. Then, somewhere along that stretch of road, a Mercedes Benz joins in on the right lane.    The SUV driver happens to be talking on his cell-phone and with only one hand at the wheel, his car veers into the right lane now and again, much to the consternation of the Mercedes driver. Before you know it, they slide down their windows and accusing fingers are a’waving at each other with hinted threats of “I am going to ram into you”. Rising tension and explosive emotions emanates from the side-by-side vehicles. Fortunately, for themselves and other users on that road, at the next T-junction, they take different routes.

Another category of equally prevalent road incidences are those associated with drunken driving or speed racing after a night out, wherein drivers are not in control of their senses. A dare here and a challenge there, egged on by their well-meaning but equally drunk companions, before you know it, they will be ramming their feet at the pedals and sealing their fates. Many a heart-wrenching stories have occurred because of such decisions, where those responsible were disconnected (even for split seconds) with their conscious mind.

Anger 2The trauma thereafter may bring untold stress, injury and disruption not just to the lives of the victims but to all who are near and dear to them as well. A worst case scenario would be where they go from comatose into semi-vegetative states of limited cognitive function i.e. severely diminished awareness and abilities to recognize, perceive, reason, and to judge, requiring round-the-clock specialized care. Consequently, many lives become forever changed. Although too late in the day to ask, but, at the same time one wonders if given a second chance, what could have been done different to save the day?

What if?

Let us ponder a few questions here, with the help of Eckhart’s teachings :

With reference to the first, suppose the Mercedes driver just kept a safe distance, noting the SUV’s license plates, and simply passing that along to the police. Would that not have saved him a lot of needless angst? His actions are however quite understandable, being a citizen of this fast paced world — where one can quickly and independently get things done with “a click of a button” – the reactive reflex action to want to teach the SUV driver a good lesson right now instantly kicks in, naturally and sometimes, dangerously so.

development of empathyWhere drunken driving is concerned, if drivers were to take just a few precious seconds to weigh out the state they are in; be more aware of what they are getting themselves into; and, instead of engaging their clouded emotions, to just let them “fall by the way-side”, they will be acting with their very best interests at heart.


Get in and stay in the zone with Eckhart Tolle´s philosophy

Are we our minds? If we are, why would we put ourselves in harm’s way as in the above examples? Is the mind not the very tool we rely on, day in and out, to survive and thrive in the world? Does it actually have flaws and dysfunctions, to which one might be oblivious? How does one ensure it functions in a way that nurtures us as oppose to forsake us? If given the choice, would human beings allow themselves to be enslaved to a tool that is flawed? How can we take charge and be in the driving seat instead?

Eckhart TolleHuman beings are magnificent creations in itself, whose physical, mental and psychological make-up have been, and continue to be, scrutinized, dissected and analyzed. Why not befriend and extend the magnificence that is within? Eckhart Tolle, through his own awakening, shares the answers to the above questions and more. One has to read, understand, and practice his philosophy in order to experience the shift that will unseat the archaic thinking to which we have been inaccurately accustomed to i.e. that we are our minds. It is miraculous how one can move into the underlying realm of truth so simply, and to live our true lives, fearlessly. The reason why his philosophy resonates and reverberates so strongly, all around the world, is because it speaks a universal truth, which just touches lives, regardless of race, religion and culture.

Eckhart Tolle is certainly a remarkable man. In this video he is talking about handling anger and destructive thoughts to live more freely.


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