I was traveling on an interstate highway on the way to a mall the other day, and, as I was moving along, I was surprised by the sheer number of cars heading both directions on the highway. I’m from a small village and on an average outing I’ll see tens of people, maybe a hundred. Today on the highway, though, there were THOUSANDS of people going about their business. I was reminded of how many of us there are in the world, and that what I see every day (and even what I was seeing then) doesn’t amount to a drop of water in the ocean. Thinking of this made me remember some of what Joseph Campbell said about heroes, and that is that we are all the “heroes” in our own stories. Each of the people I was seeing on the highway had their own lives, values, fears, and goals; we have our victories and defeats, and we play our roles very well.
Some don’t realize this, however, and take their role as a “main character” too far, sometimes stepping on others to have a “victory” instead of a “defeat.” Selfishness in such ways is an indirect way of stating that one believes that they are better than others; yet each of us being the hero of our story implies that each of us is equal to all others... i.e., there are no “main characters”. We must see that everyone has their own agendas and that each of these agendas is just as important as our own or anyone else’s. Understanding this and seeing that we are no more important than the guy sitting next to us allows us to remain calm when others get pushy or angry in the pursuit of furthering their own endeavors.
For example, on the highway I mentioned before, there were people in cars all around me. If I were to go too slow, the person behind me may get angry and start honking their horn because I’m slowing them down and keeping them from getting where they want to be; to them, what they want (to get where they’re going as soon as possible) is much more important than what I want (which in this case is to drive safely, because driving 70 mph is insane). So, should I get angry in retaliation and put what I want before what they want (in this case, continue driving slow and keep them stuck behind me)? Understanding that what they want is just as important as what I want, I know that I should try to find a way so that both of us can get what we want. To solve the problem, I would speed up somewhat and change lanes so they can get around me. I can then go back to what I was doing and they are now happier as they speed off.
There are a lot of people in this world, and too many of them go through life believing that what they’re doing and what they want is more important than what everyone else wants. As Jedi, we must see that we’re all equal and, with this wisdom, accept the responsibility to do our best to be patient and find a compromise with these kinds of people and instead of getting angry with them, let them around us. We do this knowing that what we’re doing isn't any more important than what they’re doing.