Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ego in Parking

I've been reading "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle which focuses a lot on our ego and how it effects our daily lives in ways that we are often unaware. My personal cheerleader Jenn and I set goals each week and work to keep each other motivated and on of my goals this week was to be aware of my ego.

I mention this only as a reference to today. Each morning I drive to work, I arrive early and usually there are very few cars in the parking lot when I arrive. Because of this very empty parking lot I have my pick of any spot and have thus picked the one I like and silently claimed it as 'mine.' People who arrive to work early are typically people who park in the same spots ... we all know each other and know each others parking spots. Today, I had a brief encounter with my ego over this - to my amazement, I won.

Let me set the scene:
I am driving along, peacefully, windows down, enjoying my morning cd, winding around the last bend when I notice a car from the other direction stopped in the road with it's right blinker light on. It is stopped directly in front of the parking lot next to the one I am going to turn into. About 50yds from where I am going to enter the parking lot the car begins to move so I slow down and they enter the same parking lot as I, I then turn in behind them. The parking lot is like an oval with two rows of spaces in the center and all along the outside. I follow my typical route and go around the front so I can drive head into 'my' space, the other car goes along the outside and speeds up, zooms around the double row of spaces and then heads directly towards me. I have no choice but to stop inches from the driver. I wait. The driver then puts his car into reverse and begins backing into MY space.

Yep, that's right...there are a ton of other perfectly good parking spaces and he zoomed around the lot only to park in mine. The first words out of my mouth as I sat there watching this unfold were "Who does he think he is? I know he is not going to PARK in MY space." Of which I suddenly realized what I said. My space-as in it is soley mine. I own it.

I do not, I can park in anyone of the other many open spots just as well as he can, but because I consider this my spot, I am offended that he would think to put his car there - does he not know that is where I park?? (once again, who am I??? No one special.) Oddly enough as I smile to myself knowing this is just what the book was talking about and I was able to identify my ego, the driver meneuvers into the parking spot directly next to the one I had preferred to park in so now I can park in the original one.

Rather than get upset and have my day start out "ruined" I said good morning to the other driver and went on about my day. The book points out that ego is merely a sense of mine, my or I. As if it belonged to us...if we are able to identify this then we take away its power over us and open ourselves up to something more.

It reminds me of a story:

A young lady was waiting for her flight at a boarding room of a big airport.

Her flight was delayed and she would have to wait for many hours. She purchased a book and a package of cookies and sat down in a chair to spend the time. Beside her was an empty chair where the package of cookies lay and a man was sitting in the next chair reading a magazine.

She took a cookie and the man took one as well! She was irritated by said nothing and continued to read. But thought to herself, “Whoa, he’s got nerve!” For each cookie she took, the man took one as well. She was infuriated but did not wish to make a scene in the crowded airport.

When only one cookie remained, she thought I wondered what this rude man will do. As if reading her mind, the man picked up the cookie broke it in half and handed it to her without looking up.

That was it; she got up, gathered her things and stormed off.

Later after she boarded her plane, she reached into her purse to get her glasses and she pulled out a packet of cookies….she suddenly remembered that she had placed HER cookies in her purse. And the man she considered so rude, was sharing his cookies with her with out anger, just pure kindness.

She felt so ashamed and there was no way to make the proper amends.

Ego, the perception that something is belongs to us, when reality is that it does not.

Does your ego sneak up on you?


A Buns Life said...

Love that story. It is totally something that I would do!

Jenn said...

It doesn't sneak up on me--I see it coming. I just like it. ;-)

Semi-Charmed Wife said...

I'm about halfway through A New Earth, and I'm working on trying to catch my ego in the act. I really relate to your parking story--I would have felt the same way! It's awesome and a mark of the progress that you've made that you were able to identify the ego and nip it in the bud!

David Reed said...

Ha! My ego totally sneaks up on me, all the time! I find myself in situations just like that, all the time!

I bought this book for my wife just a week or two ago. I know she's struggled with it a bit, finds it slow-going. But I hope she gets into it! I imagine it'll be good for her too!

Well, Kel, good to be back! Sorry you moved off of Spaces, but this place is very snazzy!!! How did you come up with it? I'd like to hear about the technical side of your site!

Thanks, hope you didn't give up completely, and will come visit me again!

-David //BootJockey

Mim said...

Oh my - what a story. Thanks for reminding us of our ego (found you thru another blog)

Jojo said...

Loved that story! I don't have an I and MINE thing...but sometimes I struggle with "doing it MY way"...but it's just my way seems know? LOL, I know this is exactly what I'm supposed to stay away from though

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I need to read this book! (and I know a few others who do too, lol)
That story at the end is good one, and if that was me it would drive me CRAZY not being able to apologize to that guy.