I experienced a beautiful teaching moment yesterday afternoon. I had taken the kids to Smiths Marketplace (think Target) to look at toys while I picked up a couple of things. (They love going to look at toys, just to see what's available.)
I was walking down an aisle in the hardware section of the store with the Quads in tow when I saw a young couple walking toward me. Her arm was laced through his, they together occupying at least two-thirds of the space in the aisle. As they approached, my Ego kicked in. "She's taking up some of my space!" it said. "She's going to have to move. I have a right to my space in this aisle!" The Ego then carefully noted the woman's actions as we drew nearer to each other. Did it look like she was going to scrunch over to let me pass? Should I move to my left just a little to better stake out my territory (which my Ego assured me was my right to claim)?
It was then that the moment of "grace" came. A quiet voice inside my head, neither engaging my Ego nor condemning or criticizing me, gently said, "Can you not make way? Can you not stop and appreciate what you are seeing - this young couple walking arm in arm down the aisle, obviously in love? Is not this beautiful? Instead of giving way to your Ego and engaging in tawdry pettiness, can you not appreciate this moment of quiet human beauty? And, in so doing, can you not honor your own Buddha nature and experience the grace that this moment presents?"
My answer to all these questions was ... "Yes. Thank you."
* The photo was taken in Wayne, Pennsylvania by my daughter Rachel, who sent it to me yesterday.