In some of my communities, this is an acronym: Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.
It can be used as a barometer….if I am in any, or God forbid, all, of these states, best to stop and pay attention. And then, take a corresponding action:
Eat. Pray. Connect. Rest.
Postpone other actions. Don’t try to solve problems. Nurture myself, instead.
From my own experience, the “H” also stands for Hurry.
When I am in a hurry, I am any, or sometimes all, of the following:
I have an exaggerated sense of my own importance, as evinced by such thoughts as
- “Don’t they know I am late?”
- “Why can’t he drive faster?”
- “How could she be so clueless?”
In all, they point to a wonderful turn of phrase that I silently invoke in these moments:
“Don’t you know who I think I am?”
Of course, this degree of self-centeredness is preposterous. It is out of balance with the way of the world, because it attempts to put me at its center. It bespeaks an ego in need of defending.
And, so, it wreaks havoc. In my moments of self-centered concern, I ignore others. In fact, I treat them as “others”…somehow unconnected to my life, to THE life. Which then allows me to mistreat them, in thought, word or deed. This, in turn, only makes me unhappier. As the sages have said before me, kindling resentments is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
And, as the sages have also said, there is a solution: a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition.
Which is why service is the counter-balance to self-centeredness.
Which is why non-attachment is so useful.
Which is perhaps why Jesus said, “if you lose your life, you will find it.”
And, my own addition, an apocryphal complement to the Beatitudes:
“Woe unto you, tail-gaters, for the airbag you inflate will be your own”.
And, I really don’t want that to happen. So, I back off, slow down, breathe. I imagine the folks in front of me are my long-dead, dearly-loved grandparents. And, I am reconnected to life.
And a bit calmer.