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A Reflection on Conquering Anger

I'll admit it: I really like driving in the fast lane on the highway. Although, I am well aware that if there is a vehicle approaching faster behind you, it is proper to signal to the right lane in order to let the faster vehicle pass on the left. Yesterday, I took the highway to make the 30 minute drive to my mom's house in the county. It was a particularly nice day outside, and I was basking in the freedom away from the quarantine lifestyle I was living for the past few weeks. I was listening to some podcast on NPR and enjoying the opportunity to drive.

As I was in the fast lane, I saw a motorcycle approach behind me and was about to merge out of the way. Before I could, the biker gunned past me in the right lane and flipped me off. I took this opportunity to analyze my thoughts. Before my Stoic training, this event would have set a negative precedent for the rest of the day. Instead, I smiled to myself and thought how ridiculous it was for someone to get so upset about something so trivial - an error that I have made many times before. After this brief interval of analysis, I continued my care-free cruise.

The next day, I read The Enchiridion. I came upon passage 28 that says, "If someone handed your body over to somebody whom you encountered, you'd be furious; but that you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so that, if he abuses you, it becomes disturbed and confused, do you feel no shame at that?" After reading that quote, I immediately thought about my mental transaction with the biker on the previous day. I felt a sense of triumph in not letting something so small take control of my mental energy.

(cover photo: Anger by Bertro).

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