The Road Away From Rage
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Instances of "road rage," in which drivers take their anger out on fellow motorists, have been on the increase. Sometimes they have produced fatal resultsSkip to next paragraph
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What can you do to protect yourself from incidents that threaten your well-being on the road? One precaution would be to take defensive-driving classes. Another would be to make sure you didn't succumb to the delusion that you're a "lord of the highway," thinking you could get anywhere with discourteous or law-breaking behavior.
But the best protection for us all is to pray. Not to appeal for divine mercy in the face of powers that might harm us, but to acknowledge that our complete safety is in the hands of God, our holy Parent. We are the children of God, never subject to the whims of chance, but always guarded by His ever-presence. He is always in complete control of His kingdom, which is where we each exist.
This isn't pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking. It is the practical understanding of the facts of spiritual being, applied in daily experiences. Prayer is positive. It is a realm of thought, in which harmony is the norm and discord is seen to be out of sync with the truth of God.
When we're on the highway - or anywhere else - we can recognize in prayer that those around us are God's perfect children, and as such are completely free from aggressive tendencies that could harm themselves or us. Sometimes it seems this is just not true. But God doesn't equip his children with the ability to endanger. Such tendencies are no part of them. It's vital to our prayers for the world for us to claim that we are always in God's control, safe in His loving care.
The frustration that often seems to evolve into blind hatred is an illusion about the identity of God's children. It is based on a false premise that we are mortal and are subject to destructive emotions. The teachings of Christ Jesus enable anyone dedicated to helping mankind to see through this illusion. Prayer brings out in human experience tangible evidence of the fact that God made us spiritual, perfect, obedient to His good will, loving, free of all discordant tendencies.
Obviously Jesus didn't drive on freeways; but he did often travel among people who hated him. Once, when he was preaching in the city of Nazareth, his enlightened words provoked rage on the part of those who heard him. The book of Luke says that these people attempted to throw Jesus off a cliff, but that "he passing through the midst of them went his way" (4:30).
How did this protection come about? Well, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy, explains that it came about because Jesus understood that God's law is a law of love, which brings harmony when brought to bear on human turmoil. The book says that "the Science Jesus taught and lived must triumph over all material beliefs about life, substance, and intelligence, and the multitudinous errors growing from such beliefs" (Pg. 43).
How could someone follow this example of Jesus? Here's a small illustration: While I was crossing a city street with friends, a man coming from the opposite curb punched my shoulder with his fist and then disappeared in the crowds. Though not hurt, I was startled. At first I thought of myself as the innocent victim of a frustrated, enraged person.
But after a few moments, I realized the incident provided an opportunity for me to pray to see everyone, this man included, as spiritual and perfect, completely satisfied with his or her situation. I don't know exactly what effect this prayer had on the man. But I do know that it healed me of feeling any anger and, just as important, enabled me to love my fellow beings more.
Rage is the result of mistaken beliefs, those "material beliefs about life." When we seek the aid of "the Science Jesus taught" (Christian Science) to lift ourselves out of such beliefs, we also take ourselves out of the very situations that threaten to endanger us on any of the highways of life.
In The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine, you'll find more articles discussing prayer.