Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 tips for mindful driving

Driving can be a very stressful activity, but it can also be a tremendous opportunity for developing mindfulness and metta (lovingkindness), and it can even become a kind of meditation practice in its own right.

Here are a few suggestions for ways that you can use driving as a meditation.

1. Switch off the radio and experience the silence. We often drive along while listening to the radio or to recordings on tape or CD. Just as an experiment, try seeing what it’s like to have the sound turned off. It might seem at first as if something is missing, but you’ll quickly learn that the silence gives you an opportunity to fill your awareness with other perceptions, some of which are more enriching. But before that, I’d just like to suggest that not listening to advertisements, the news, music, and opinion can leave you quieter, calmer, more focused, and happier than you otherwise would be.

2. The extra attention that’s freed up because you’re no longer listening to the radio is now available to notice other things. You can notice any tensions in your body, such as a knot of tension in the belly, or your hands gripping the steering well, or a clenched jaw. Notice these experiences, and let your body relax more. Notice how your experience changes and becomes more enjoyable as your muscles let go.

3. Slow down. As an experiment, try driving at or just below the speed limit. Most of us tend to want to push the speed limit, driving just a little faster than allowed. Driving just a fraction under the speed limit can take away a lot of tension. Shift over into the slower lane if necessary.

4. Notice your attitudes.

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