Article written

Yoga of the mind. Wisdom of the soul. 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Having arrived early for my last lesson of the day I stopped, as I often do, at a bar for a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. The bartender, recognizing me as I entered but engaged in conversation with another patron, mimed squeezing oranges, and I nodded. While turning toward the juicer, he suddenly covered his mouth and sneezed, spraying saliva between his fingers.

Would he wash his hands before slicing and squeezing the oranges? This is what I was wondering and, perhaps not surprisingly, the answer was “no”, despite the fact that the sink was next to the juicer and rinsing his hands would have taken seconds. No soap necessary. As far as I’m concerned, the gesture alone would have been embraced.

Anyway, Shaw, you know me. I drank the juice. Not because I felt I had to as much as because, well, what else was I going to do? In fact, not only did I drink the juice, I even thanked him on my way out.

Minutes later, when I mentioned the debacle at the bar to Patrizio, my student, he told me a story about a restaurant in Trastevere where, upon being seated, he found crumbs on his bread plate. When he alerted the waitress, she grabbed the plate, inspected it closely, and then blew the crumbs off and handed the plate back to him. No, not to spite him, Patrizio insisted. That was her nifty way of solving the problem.

Let’s face the facts, Shaw. Weeds force themselves between cracks in the pavement all over the world. What do I mean by that? I’m not so sure myself, but I think my point has something to do with certain people being oblivious of social etiquette.

Just this morning I was on the bus when some guy sneezed without covering his mouth, angling his chin to the side, or doing anything to mask the contaminating effects of his nasal ejection. He simply lifted his chin and mixed the air with his mucus. I’m talking about a guy dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase. A professional. A businessman.

Shortly afterward, I was leaning against a pole on the metro when a man entered and stood near me while babbling on his cell phone in a voice so BOOMING that reading my book was impossible. I considered reading out loud in a sarcastic and strident voice but, when push comes to shove, such situations are a test for me. Can I calm my inner pond? After all, life overflows with petty frustrations. My peace of mind depends on me and me alone. Buddha said getting angry is like picking up a hot coal with the intention of flinging it at someone. You are the one who gets burned.

Well, I agree wholeheartedly, and that’s one reason I drank the orange juice, and why I was silent on the metro. Call it yoga of the mind, wisdom of the soul.

47 people like this post.

subscribe to comments RSS

There are no comments for this post

Please, feel free to post your own comment

* these are required fields

Scott Sussman is powered by WordPress and FREEmium Theme.