I think it's a term I've heard The Boyfriend use.
Sometimes you have to put your brain in Neutral. Sometimes you're ready to slam it into fourth gear and run over somebody. But instead of doing that — or instead of throwing it into Reverse and backing over the body repeatedly — what we really should do is just slide it on over to Neutral.
Sit a spell.
Rest a bit.
Seems we're always reacting, slamming on the brakes, speeding up, chasing some folks down, and flipping others off out our windows. Everyone is pissing us off, hurting our feelings, irritating us, asking us too much, doing too little, saying too much or not enough, or saying the wrong thing, or the right thing in the wrong tone. My lord, we're all a bunch of bumper cars. Without bumpers.
Sometimes we need to just shift on over to Neutral. Go ahead and watch the other cars bolt around. Let them crash and careen around while we just sit by and watch the chaos. It's much better to sit and watch from the outside than to participate in the cacophony.
That stuff is exhausting.
Besides, what one person says in the heat in the moment would surely not be repeated a few minutes or hours later. Why react to it? And whatever event seems tragic and insurmountable to you today will merely be a fond memory a few years down the road. Oftentimes it's those moments of which you're the most proud.
It's the overcoming of the obstacles, not never-having them.
It's the triumphing over difficulties, not letting them bury you.
And so I shift my mind into Neutral more and more. Reacting, defending, getting my word or my sense of injustice out there into the cosmos just isn't as important anymore. I see how it is. I can kick and scream and yell and it won't change a damn thing.
I'm in it.
I'm in this screwed up traffic jam of life, and I can't get off. My exit isn't coming for a while, so far as I can tell. So either I sit here and wait patiently to see what comes next, or I lean on my horn and jam my arm out the window with my middle finger flying while I press the gas and tail gait every asshole who doesn't get out of my way. Or I just sit in Neutral and wait for the way to clear.
I used to think Buddhists didn't care.
I used to worry that equanimity was apathy.
But it's not that. It's a patience full of faith.
I have faith that this is all temporary. I have faith in my ability to cope with life and change. I have faith in the greater wisdom that will be clear to me when I look back on the times I struggled.
I can be patient.
I can park it in Neutral.
I am not going spend my life in a permanent state of road rage.
You can call me passive. But I know a secret: My stillness is the most powerful force of all.