Check Your Drama at the Door of the Tao

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

~The Tao~

By KM Huber

A recent car accident allowed me a “real-life” opportunity to practice the three treasures of the Tao—simplicity, patience, compassion. Frankly, the Friday the 13th mishap found my compassion tottering like a vase carelessly placed too close to the edge.

My patience held, even when my tone of voice betrayed me, as I struggled to stay free of the drama of story, which is always so distant from the simplicity that is “the source of [all] being.” As far as I know, the drama yet abounds but away from my being.

The crux of the story involves an uninsured driver, momentarily distracted by a text message, hitting one parked car and sliding it into another (mine) in the parking lot of the apartment complex where all involved live. The driver left a phone number, unable to remain at the scene. That is the source of all the drama that followed.

Thoughtful neighbors who witnessed parts of the accident notified me. My initial thought on seeing the two cars together was I am very fortunate. The car that slid into my Scion was severely damaged on both sides. After more than one call to the police, an officer did arrive to assist with report details and to separate the two vehicles.
Compassion Jug 092113

My compassion, so vase-like in its fragility, moved ever closer to its demise as the hours ticked by with no response to a voice mail I had left for the driver. When his late night call did come, it was a mixture of many stories unconnected to the actual accident. As my emotions swirled to the surface, my compassion went into free fall.

Over the next 72 hours, more versions of the driver’s story emerged, sometimes tangentially connected to the incident but often not. In a face-to-face meeting of all three car owners, I peppered the driver with questions in a cold, staccato tone reminiscent of a chief inspector interrogating a suspect.

The scene had the familiar dramatic tone that once characterized my working life as an administrator as well as my personal relationships. I stopped my question mid-sentence and caught my compassion mid-air. Leaning back in my chair, I smiled at the driver, and asked him to continue his story. I listened and let it go.

Securing my compassion—returning to my source of being—means more to me than staying in a never-ending story. Once, I had lived that way, for most of my life, actually. Those years pale to how I live now.

My compassion vase is more thoughtfully placed now. As for the final reconciliation, the driver and I have entered into a payment arrangement. After all was agreed and signed, he said he had not expected me to be kind. I responded that he and I had one bad moment but we need not have another.


KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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