Knee Jerk

This brief story from The Big Book of Small Business, a book I wrote with Tires Plus founder Tom Gegax, is an excellent reminder to avoid being so self-absorbed that we fail to consider what the person in front of us is going through.

Several years ago, I found myself hunched over my laptop on a flight from Minneapolis to San Diego. I was trying to nail a deadline under less than ideal conditions, made worse by the oaf in front of me who fully cranked his seat into my lap. Agitated over this guy’s boxing in my six-foot, two-inch frame, I sank my knees, already pressed into his seat, a little deeper to send a message. Forty-five minutes later, a woman in her eighties rose in front of me and used a walker to reach the restroom. I was horrified. I had zinged an elderly lady, of all people, with my knee-jerk reaction.

To this day I draw upon that woman when I’m in a rush. It reminds me to always recognize the humanity of other people. The Sanskrit greeting Namaste beautifully expresses this intent: “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.”

Some of our most important, consciousness-raising insights come from ordinary moments like these. Kudos to Tom for taking to heart a valuable lesson from an experience that many others would have ignored.

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
Lao Tzu

Click here to see all my posts featuring Tom Gegax.


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4 Responses to “Knee Jerk”

  1. ArrVee Says:

    it is really a challenge to rid ourselves of these knee-jerk reactions, especially when we are in a hurry. We will always be tested by situations like this that He sneaks up on us when we least expect it. And when we remember those shameful moments when we failed, we should be more forgiving when we are the recipients of such actions from others.

    if we cannot rid ourselves of such knee-jerk reactions, then we can develop one where we remember this incident, collect ourselves and calm down – “Serenity Now! “

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, ArrVee, that’s why as we get older, we tend to become more humble and forgiving. At least, those of us who are paying attention anyway! It makes me cringe thinking how unaware and self-absorbed I used to be. And there is still great room for improvement. Such is the gift and the challenge of life!

  3. ArrVee Says:

    this also should give us an appreciation of those who are already humble and forgiving. Unfortunately, our society views such traits as signs of weakness, but these are the bushings and shock absorbers in our daily interactions, silently preventing ill will from spreading and escalating.

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, thank goodness for the human shock absorbers among us, ArrVee!

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