Traffic in Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside has been terrible this last week. I’ve had a number of clients turn up late and flustered and this morning it took an hour for me to make what should have been a half hour journey. So when I was sitting in stationary traffic with nowhere to go and no way of knowing when it would start moving again I decided to let go of worrying and use my time productively instead.
I usually arrive early enough at work to prepare for the day ahead and I knew I’d be jumping straight in so today my prep was done in the car (if not on the move) using a simple sense meditation and I found it so useful I thought I’d share how to practise mindful driving.
First, switch the radio off so you can HEAR and LISTEN FOR the noises made by your engine, maybe the fan whirring, noises outside, windscreen wipers .. Ask yourself, are there any sounds you didn’t notice before? What are they? Are they loud or soft? Do they continue or stop? What else do you hear?
Slow your BREATHING and take the breath in a little deeper than before. Feel the cold air hit your nose as it enters your body and the warm breath as it leaves. Count to 3 on the in breath and again on the out breath, how does it feel?
Then turn your awareness to what you can SEE .. Cars, cars and more I expect, and what else? How does the sky look today? Are there clouds? What shapes are they making today? Remember you will never see this particular sky again, drink it in, be grateful for the opportunity to appreciate it in this moment.
Use your sense of SMELL to be fully aware of the space you find yourself in .. What can you smell? If you find your mind wandering to memories triggered by what you’re experiencing in the here and now just be aware and gently come back to the present.
As a driver you’ll be looking at passers by as potential hazards, but while you’re not moving look at them again and see them as people, wonder where they’ve come from today and where they’re heading. FEEL your connection with your fellow humans and with all the humans in our world who are travelling (or stuck) in this moment.
And when you do finally arrive, wherever that is, lock your mindful self inside as long as you can. I hope these words are useful to you, and may you journey well.
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