Apparently my life is only messy when it comes to my car. How is it my old 1995 station wagon can teach me so many lessons? It’s not like my car has a personality—I’m not one to anthropomorphize my vehicle (although he does have a name: “Teddy”). Oh, but it’s not my car doing the teaching. It’s really my own Self, as reflected in and embodied by my car. My negligence, my “stupid” moments, my thoughtlessness —these things have nothing to do with my car; my car is just bearing the brunt of me, and so am I.
The other messes were lessons in cause-effect, in how to approach what I want…or the cost of being lazy. They were lessons of the mind and heart. This lesson hit a bit harder; it was financial. It was a $130 lesson; you guessed it: I got a ticket.
In fact, I broke the law (yes, me…). It was not a law putting anyone in harm’s way, or reckless in any way. I simply didn’t get my vehicle inspected…for 18 months.
“18 months!?” you say. “How can you go for 18 months past the point for inspection?” “How could you not know it was overdue!?”
I did know. I did. I can claim negligence for the first 12 months, but the last 6 I knew darn well my vehicle inspection was way past overdue. I have this (really only slight) streak of challenging the status quo, of irreverence for what institutions say I “should do”, of challenging authority (while at the same time being timid around it, go figure). I am quite benign; I just like to see what happens when I don’t do what I am “supposed” to do, sometimes. So, yeah, I let it continue to go without an inspection. I didn’t even plan to get it inspected, I just watched my thoughts, and waited, sort of like listening and waiting, but without listening for anything in particular. I just observed what returned to me as I continued thinking and watching.
Here is how it went:
For the first 3 months of the last 6 months of being way past overdue, I barely thought about it. No thoughts, no response.
Then, I started thinking about the sticker on my windshield. I wondered if cops really notice. If they did, you would think I would have been pulled over already. So I thought cops must not really notice them. And I went along for about 2.5 months thinking that—and lo and behold, I was passed by cops who paid no mind; I passed by cops who paid no mind, everything in my experience verified there was no one looking at or even noticing my way out of date sticker.
Then my thoughts changed. I can’t say I made them change; I just started feeling differently about the sticker, kind of knowing it would be noticed. Still I passed some cops, who paid no mind, but I felt differently; I began noticing whether or not they were noticing. Did they start noticing my noticing, or did they start noticing all on their own? I don’t know, but they started noticing.
On my way to work, there is a juncture where I can either turn or go straight. If traffic is bad, I turn; if it is not, I go straight; mostly, I turn. On this particular day traffic was OK, so I decided to go straight, then I approached a light to turn right. On the cross street, there was a cop at the light to my right, heading away from the direction I was to go and as I turned toward him, I saw him notice. But, he was going the opposite direction, so I didn’t think again about it…until he pulled me over.
He had done a U-turn and come after me, sneaked right up on me, didn’t even give me a chance to try to duck down a side street, just all of a sudden, there he was. I knew, too. I knew it was about the sticker. I knew he noticed. Darn. I had no defense.
So that was the $130 ticket. He said, “Get that taken care of as soon as you can, and keep the ticket with you so that if you are pulled over again, you can show that you have already been cited for this, and you won’t get another ticket.”
I thought there would be no reason for that, because I still had some residual delusion “they don’t notice” left over from the 10 weeks of thinking it.
The very next day on my way to work I got to the same juncture and there was similar traffic, and for no particular reason I turned right instead of going straight. At the next stop, who did I find myself behind at the light, but a cop?! Two cops, two routes, where I never ordinarily see cops… I decided if he went straight, I would turn, if he turned, I’d go straight. I’m not paranoid at all. He went straight, I turned. Whew. Of course, all those little streets just criss-cross each other, and generally come out at the same place, so who did I find myself at a light with just a little way up… the same cop. But he was going the opposite direction. Whew. As he passed, I checked my rear-view… Oh … but there’s that U-turn thing in the middle of the road. Dammit. I mean, gosh darn it. No, I mean dammit. There was nothing I could do; I knew he was after me. I pulled over even before he had his lights on. He got to my window, and I handed him the citation from the day before and just kind of shrugged my shoulders. He said, “You need to get that taken care of, that sticker sticks out like a sore thumb”.
“Like a sore thumb” he said. Then why did it take 18 months for two of you to notice? And why did I encounter two of you who noticed, on two consecutive days, when I had just been through 6 months of cops not noticing?
This may have been a $130 lesson, but I think in my consciousness, it was worth it. I know my thoughts create my reality. I get that as a metaphysical concept. But this went beyond metaphysics. As my thoughts changed, both my experience and my reality changed. I could almost feel my thoughts acting as a “beacon” to draw to me the things that I thought about, quite literally.
Life is a great playground for learning about bringing the intangible into tangible experience. Learning begins with noticing. It begins with noticing thoughts and experiences, and life readily teaches. I have not learned—I have not arrived, but this was a very interesting lesson. May your lessons not cost you so much financially, as you notice!