211 Chadwick Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666 

Reflections for the month of Iyar in Teaneck

 Cracked car window   Photo taken by Carol Berlin

Cracked car window 

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

We have now arrived into the month of Iyar, the month of integration. Last month’s spiritual focus was on freedom from the enslaved mind, and our enslaved habits. This month takes that freedom and brings it back down into our roots to be integrated and grounded within us.

The end is in the beginning and the beginning is in the end.

By the end of filling the car with gas, getting the new windshield wipers, and driving away with my new cracked windshield, I was stunned into a state of not knowing what to do.  I slowly pulled out onto the street, I was conscious enough to drive and see if any cars were coming but the majority of me was  w a y  back there, deep in my mind, seeing different reactions from Daniel over this new situation of the cracked windshield.

It was sort of like an old nursery rhyme where one thing led to another. And then there was the child, who borrowed the car without asking, who ran it out of gas, so that the mom had to race to yoga with the gas light on, and pray to make it to the gas station afterwards, who then got the windshield wipers fixed, from the man who cracked the windshield, all in the life that Carol built.

And there was a trail that went back at least to the previous day, if I think about it. I went away for the weekend, staying with friends for an out of town Bar Mitzvah.  We enjoyed the excitement of being together, and spending stretches of time together through the different activities of the weekend. We told different stories to each other. There were stories of job loss and family devastation. There were stories of divorce, sexual abuse and arrest. One story had taken place that day. A Bar Mitzvah guest had been rudely asked to get out of his seat and give it back to the man who prayed in that seat during the week! We didn’t like that story. The different stories were centered on the various hardships in life.

When I got home from the Bar Mitzvah Saturday night, I saw that things had gone on in the house that I didn’t like – including the taking of the car without asking.

Sunday, I got up bright and early to get to my sacred yoga class. I had not given myself enough time. I stressfully barreled down the highway on empty, to get to the yoga class and create some inner peace. I came in after everyone was settled and the dharma talk was just about to begin. No one would move over for me and there wasn’t enough room to fully roll out my mat! I was getting angry – how dare these people not let me in. The teacher came over and got me settled, but instead of settling into a deep inner stillness, I was going into an inner place of feeling I was on unequal footing with everyone in the room. I was sure that I was getting bad vibes from the woman to my left. When the class was over, that woman on my left, who I lightly knew, turned to me and made some small talk. She wasn’t emitting angry vibes at all.

After the class, I drove to the nearest gas station. A kind young man with some sort of Middle Eastern accent came up to the car, to pump the gas. As I was paying him, he brought to my attention that my windshield wipers were both shredded. I knew this but had not taken the time to fix them. He said he could fix them and did. He asked me to turn on the car and try the new wipers with the windshield wash. I was out of the wash. He went to get the wash and poured it in. As he closed the raised hood and asked me to try the wipers again, I saw that a crack in the windshield was coming up and out of the place where the windshield wipers had been attached. It was spreading across the car! I showed it to the gas attendant and asked if he could replace the windshield at his gas station. He shrugged, smiled and said “no, I am sorry” I did not know what to do. It all seemed so huge in this moment.

As I drove away, I called a friend who I relay on for her insight. I told her the story. Her response was – you mentioned several times that the gas station man was so kind in his actions. He did not break that windshield. A windshield doesn’t break from changing the wipers. There must have been some sort of chip or crack that was already there. Changing the wipers must have set it off.

In my confusion of what to do, I had not paid for the windshield wipers or wash. 

The council from my friend was to turn around, go back to the gas station and not only pay the guy, but tip him too! Tip him!?  “ Yes”, was the response.  

This was now becoming very interesting to me. How much of life have I unknowingly taken in from the viewpoint that it is all happening to me? If I took my friends advice, the gas station guy would be released from blame, and I would take ownership of the cracked windshield.  

That was what I did. I drove back to the gas station. When the gas station man came up to my window, I told him I was there to pay for the windshield wipers. He said “no, no!”, he would pay for the wipers. I insisted on paying for the wipers. When he handed me back my credit card, I tipped him and told him that he was very kind to help me and that he wasn’t the cause of the broken windshield. He was dumbfounded. It was kind of an incredible experience.

What if I went on victim free diet for the month, seeing if I could stay awake to the  view point of my mind?  The last month’s spiritual theme was about being freed from inner slavery.  This month’s is about self-healing and being able to ground the new freedom within myself. I am giving it a shot.