The Zen Way of Live

Second step: Give Precedence!

ZenBegin Signs

If you look at them closely, all human interactions have an element of a fight for power. If it is greeting somebody (or not) when walking past, shaking hands at a meeting, or who goes first in traffic.

Fight for Power

These little fights serve only one thing: our monkey-mind. When we think, we have won, we score an ‘ego-point’ and the monkey can feel a little better about its self and feels a bit safer (until the next interaction). When we lose, we lose a point and the monkey is more scared for a while. You will feel this as an extra buildup of tension inside. We don’t do it on purpose or realize it exactly when it happens, but it is why human interaction is sometimes more difficult than it should be at first glance. We are afraid of not ‘winning’ and not scoring the ego-points. We fear losing and the unrest that will follow.

Nothing to Win

If we think about what happens on this monkey-mind level, it is indeed very superficial; we don’t really ‘win’ anything. Although it might feel a bit safer to be better than the other, it has no guaranty whatsoever for your safety. It is an illusion. It is an old strategy that might have worked when people were living in small groups, and a higher place in the group hierarchy would mean better living conditions. However, in our modern cities the majority of the people we meet are not part of our ‘group’ and have little influence on our living circumstances. The ‘winner’ is supposed to be ‘stronger’ but is this true? Is the one who doesn’t greet or forcefully takes his place indeed higher ranked than we? Or does it take more strength to gracefully step aside and let others go first?

I believe the rudest people are the most afraid. If you have enough inner strength, you do not have the need to feed the monkey and score a few ego-points. Try to be the ‘weakest’ in your next encounter with another human being. Give precedence, step aside with a bow and enjoy the gratitude in their eyes. You will feel great!

Develop inner strength, be modest,
That is the way.
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