Driving Meditation...For Real?
First of all, let me address your concerns—this is not a post about getting behind the wheel, closing your eyes, relaxing, and blissing out on the road. That would be suicide. It is however a short post about the practice of mindfulness while driving and developing a meditation practice which can serve you everyday and at anytime.
This is a "mindfulness" practice. That means being fully in the here and now with complete awareness as you experience the dynamic moment. It means actually paying more attention to your driving, the traffic around you, the speed of your vehicle and most of all the experience of what you are doing.
You may have realized that often when you drive you are fully distracted from the act of driving because it is like riding a bike or breathing—you just do it. This way of driving leads us to seek out other distractions to fight the boredom of our drive. Listening to the radio, eating, talking on the cell phone, thinking of the past or projecting about the future. All of these distractions pull us away from not only the current moment, but our ability to drive safely.
So what can we do? Well, the first thing we can do is manifest our intention to practice mindfulness on our drive. Turn off the phone and the radio. Leave the food at home, and sit behind the wheel with the intention to clear our mind of thinking and focus on experiencing.
We should first relax our body, our breathing, and our thoughts. Then we can bring our attention to the experience of the current moment, our breathing in and out, the feel of the wheel in our hands, the horizon, road, and the other drivers we encounter. When our attention is drawn back to our own thoughts of past or future we can recognize it and gently bring our attention back to the current moment.
That's it! We are practicing mindful driving meditation! To reduce distractions (consisting mostly of our own egoic thinking) we can slow down to the speed limit, notice the other vehicles on the road, the sound of our tires on the pavement, the feel of our feet on the accelerator and brakes, everything that is happening as it is happening.
We can release mental and physical tension and our competitive way of driving. We can soften our heart and exist in the serenity of the pure moment. We can be free of our egoic mind. If we practice on a regular basis we will notice the change not only in the way we drive, but in the way we live outside of the car. We will learn to connect with the now, the universe, the truth.
To learn how to put a driving meditation practice into action read Solan McClean's "Learning to Drive into the Now:PRND" a practical guide to developing and maintaining a Mindfulness Driving Meditation practice.