Driving as mindfulness practice.
In our busy world most of us, on most days, find ourselves behind the wheel of a car. Driving puts us in relationship with many things: the vehicle itself, the people in it, the gadgets and such that enhance the experience. We are likely to bring along our own traveling bits, handbags, digital devices, water bottles, snacks. We will likely find ourselves in relationship with other people who are also engaged in the experience of driving. We will be in relationship with the natural environment, with it’s circumstances and conditions. Do we have the wheel of our own minds?
A modern convenience and an awesome responsibility, very few of us do not know someone who’s life has been irrevolcably changed by someone driving distracted. The results can be devastating, sudden and devastating. So often the accident could have been avoided if someone were paying closer attention.
The fact of the matter is that some people are not paying attention, they practice unawarenss more than they practice awareness. This is true in so many areas of our life. Complaining about it and wanting it to be different will not make it so. The opportunity is to practice, to practice being present, to practice patience, to breath. Our own commitment to mindfulness will reduce the chance of injury to ourselves and others. It will also add something meaningful to the surrounding pool of consciousness.
When I am behind the wheel, am I in a peaceful place? Am I in the present moment? Am I rushing to get somewhere or wishing I didn’t have to be going? Am I on the phone, eating, drinking, steering? Am I texting, checking my calendars or making a quick note? The temptation is there but considering the consequences of driving mindlessly and the benefits of training the mind in mindfulness, driving becomes the perfect place to practice. Driving becomes an opportunity to train my mind in relaxed awareness. I invite myself to carry my meditation from my cushion into practical application. It is an opportunity to walk my awareness through my day.
Duncan Ende, the son of a dear friend, is a race car driver. A cool guy as you might imagine. Tall and handsome with an unruly mop of hair, he takes his driving very seriously. He also takes his opportunity as a role model seriously as well. As his career has taken on momentum he is using his influence for the greater good. A founder of STANDD, Stop Texting and Driving Distracted, a non-profit committed to raising awareness in schools and around the community about responsible, mindful driving he talks to children and adults about the importance of focus when driving.
Driving as a mindfulness practice, we can do our part. Be present as you drive, be present for your life. Practice safe driving skills and STANDD … Thanks Duncan.
Get the inside experience of race car driving … check out Duncan’s blog: