In his entertaining and practical paperback What Would Buddha Do? 101 Answers to Life's Daily Dilemmas, Franz Metcalf applied ancient wisdom to contemporary questions of personal identity, relationships, and societal issues. The author works with the Forge Institute for Spirituality and Social Change and teaches college in Los Angeles. This paperback is subtitled: "Quick Buddhist Solutions for Hellish Bosses, Traffic Jams, Stubborn Spouses, & Other Annoyances of Everyday Life." Metcalf looks at 72 problems that can bring the eightfold path to life. The chapters are: Out in the World, Dealing with Troublesome Types, Love, This Sack of Shit/This Precious Human Birth, It's All in Your Mind, and Things Larger Than Life.
Metcalf has a good sense of humor, which is a necessary quality for anyone who seeks to practice patience, generosity, compassion, kindness, and love in a world piled up high with disasters, dilemmas, and constant misunderstandings. For instance, Metcalf suggests that when you get enraged at the slow driver in front of you, just take a breath and think: "This person is a bodhisattva; he's protecting me from driving too fast; he's making me aware of my own impatience; he's my teacher." When the noise of a mosquito's wings in your ears is keeping you from sleeping, it is helpful to remember the sage advice of Tibetan teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche who said: "This problem is like a great pleasure for me. There are much heavier problems to come." Reframing is the name of the game in bringing the essentials of Buddhism to life in everyday situations.
Putting things in perspective and just witnessing what we are feeling is another helpful practice. Here is what Metcalf suggests:
"Suppose you're stuck in the rain, soaked and freezing, Say this phrase: 'I am more than these feelings.'
"Suppose you're listening to someone chew you out and beginning to feel the anger. Say this phrase: 'I am more than these feelings.'
"Suppose that you're feeling homesick or even that you've lost someone you love. Say this phrase: 'I am more than these feelings.'
"Say it aloud, if you can. If not, shut your eyes for those quick seconds it takes to say it. Focus your attention. Really mean it, of only for that brief moment. It will help."