How Driving Mindfully Can Save Your Commute and Your Life

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How Driving Mindfully Can Save Your Commute and Your Life

by Enigma Life
Body Driving Body Movement Mindfulness Mindful

Like many of us, I commute. I spend so much time in vehicles that I feel it is necessary to fill this time with a more meaningful exercise than flipping through radio channels.

Some years ago, a friend who is a Japanese Zen Master suggested I practice mindfulness while in transit. “Mindfulness practice asks you to change yourself out of curiosity because this change could lead you to greater freedom and happiness. Practicing it while driving will make a better use of your transit time and help you arrive to your destination feeling refreshed.”

For years, I have followed my friend's advice. It was not easy in the beginning, as with most transformations. It began with small changes in how I ate, walked, talked, even my breathing! My driving changed as well. This practice brings you to a place where you appreciate life, both the every day and the big picture. Let me teach you how to practice mindfulness while driving.

  1. Bring mindful attention to driving. Notice all your body movements, the car's movements, as well as the sounds.
  2. Feel the pressure of the seat on your thighs, bottom and back. Feel your feet resting on the floor. Feel the pressure of the metal key as you turn the ignition. Notice how you grip the steering wheel- top, sides, bottom of the wheel?
  3. What emotions come up when you are driving? Do you experience anger? Does other drivers' cutting you off disturb your serenity?
  4. Feel the car body as if it were your own. Pay attention to bumps and vibrations as the car moves.
  5. Listen to the sounds of driving - the engine's purr, the wind gushing past, and the screeching of tires.

Practice it for 3 weeks and you will not only notice your driving change, but you will become more confident and consistent, your awareness will increase on and off the road. Moreover you will notice how this opens up your mind to everything that is going on around you. You are ready and alert to face any possible challenge.

A 4-year-old little girl by the name of Lilly Garcia was shot and killed in a fit of road rage in Albuquerque, New Mexico after a driver who thought he'd been cut off while changing lanes attempted to shoot her father, the driver of the vehicle. The story is a shocking, sad testament to how road rage can manifest itself and cost lives. Mindful driving is a possible solution to this issue. We should allow the time we spend to and from our various destinations be a time to reflect, relax and prepare for what lies ahead.