Knuckleheads: 3 Reasons to Let Them Live

Knuckleheads: 3 Reasons to Let Them Live May 3, 2016

The Three Stooges


Maybe it’s because I’ve been traveling, but lately the world seems to be full of knuckleheads!

Never mind terrorists and people who do serious damage.

I’m talking about the ones who get in my way.

The drivers who tailgate.

The guy who takes forever stuffing his bag into the overhead compartment, because it’s really too big to carry on.

The confused and slow-moving person in front of me when I’m in a hurry.

The 100 people who seem eligible to pre-board before me.

But, sigh, I’m a spiritual teacher, and I ought to be able to handle minor frustrations in some graceful way, I suppose. So I’ve been thinking about what possible role knuckleheads might play in the greater scheme of the Universe.

Turns out there are three good reasons to let them live:


They bring lessons in Oneness and the divine within. I get to practice seeing the sacred in all people, no matter how they are behaving in the moment.

In oneness, there is no us vs. them.

What if this person is in my path precisely to offer this lesson, to allow me to elevate my consciousness by remembering we are all one?

This could be soul friend playing a role. Maybe we worked it out when we were both in conscious Oneness, before we came into human form.

It might be a gift.


If we are all one, then the behavior we see in others is also ours. I mean, we’ve all had knucklehead days.

We’ve all made mistakes while driving, usually inadvertently, and we’ve all sat impatiently behind a slow car, trailing it a bit too closely.

We’ve all been snippy or short with someone; all been lost or confused.

And I, for one, have occasionally held up the line trying to heave a heavy carry-on into the bin, while also putting those sitting under it at risk. (I really shouldn’t pack more than I can lift.)

It’s just so much easier to see those irritating traits in other people!

But this is an opportunity to develop compassion, just as we would with children who make mistakes as they mature.

Sure, some days we might want to wring their necks. But we’re all growing up together, and we all play crucial roles to push each other along.


I have an uncle who used to swear there was a secret Wednesday night meeting somewhere, in which strangers got together and figured out ways to annoy him during the week. When he was stuck behind a slow driver, he would mutter, “This guy must’ve gone to the Wednesday night meeting.”

We’re entitled to a moment of annoyance with knuckleheads. But what else can we think about in that moment?

Gratitude usually does the trick. Look around for what you can appreciate or praise.

The scenery as you’re driving so slowly?

The science and magic of fast travel in airplanes?

Gratitude could be a challenge these days, especially if you’re paying attention to political news.

Anything you can be grateful for about Hillary or Bernie?

Anything you can praise in The Donald?

Failing that, maybe you can summon gratitude for democracy or free speech. Or even gratitude that you can turn off the TV!

Gratitude is the best antidote for annoyance.

I have to conclude knuckleheads are here to present us with some of our most serious spiritual challenges!

They are teachers of Oneness, compassion and gratitude. And who better? They give us immediate opportunities to choose how to respond and where to hold our thoughts.

Maybe they are not here by accident. Maybe they’re part of the Big Picture.

That’s not how I might have designed the world, so I’m putting it on my list of things to complain about to God when I get to the other side.

But for now, I’ll consider being grateful for the spiritual lessons.


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