Lovingkindness: when the rubber hits the road (Day 21)

May 2, 2013

Lotus, isolated on whiteWhen the rubber hits the road is a great time to practice lovingkindness, and I mean literal rubber and a literal road.

There’s a lot of irritation involved in driving, right up to the extreme of road rage. It can be irritating to be in slow traffic, or busy traffic, or to be cut off, or to be held up by roadworks, or stuck at traffic lights.

We’re emotionally cut off from other drivers because we’re all in our own semi-private metal boxes, and so we don’t have access (usually) to their body language and facial expressions. So we often take things personally that aren’t necessarily personal. As comedian George Carlin said, “Have you ever … Read more »

How to commute like a Buddhist

September 7, 2012

NY Daily News: If you’re wondering how to trek to work without losing your mind, Emmy Award-winner and New York City-based meditation teacher David Nichtern offers up a few pointers on curbing commuter stress.

“People think of spiritual practice as a tranquilizer,” Nichtern told fitness blog Well+Good NYC on September 3. “But I’m not from the school of ‘Let’s just chant something.’ My school is awareness. The more aware you are, the more likely you’re headed to a positive outcome.”

So, how to make your commute more mindful? He offers up a few ways to respond to common commute scenarios, as per his interview …

Read the original article »

Driving as Preparation: An excerpt from One-Minute Mindfulness, by Donald Altman

October 25, 2011

The act of driving requires our full attention. I know of a woman who drove through her garage door one morning because she was on automatic pilot and didn’t notice that it was still closed! The lapse of a split second can have devastating results. How do you approach your morning drive?

Do you use the morning drive to prepare for the day to come? Is driving a placeholder, a time for fitting in extraneous activities? Do you let the frustrations of the road soak into your body and spirit, filling you with anger or draining you of energy? A one-minute mindfulness approach to driving can improve your emotional tone, stress level, and ability to … Read more »

Mindful driving: Awake at the Wheel

February 14, 2011

Here’s a nice testimonial about Michele McDonald’s excellent CD on mindful driving.

We have a review on Wildmind’s blog, and Awake at the Wheel is also available in our online store as a double CD or as an MP3 download.

Los Angeles, beware: Russell Brand meditates while driving

December 16, 2010

Usually we post news stories without comment, but this one I can’t let pass.

Russell Brand (an English comedian and actor — I had to look him up) said “I’m using meditation to make me a better driver.” Cue the “warning” (Los Angeles, Beware: Russell Brand Meditates While Driving) from People magazine that Brand meditates while driving.

I guess if you think about meditation as something you do with your eyes closed then the idea of meditating while driving sounds pretty scary. But if you can do walking meditation (and yes, that’s done with the eyes open) then you can also do driving meditation. In fact, I do it all the time. Somehow, … Read more »

“Awake at the Wheel: Mindful Driving,” by Michele McDonald

December 11, 2010

Awake at the wheelThere are pitfalls in listening to mindfulness tapes in the car. Once I was talking to a woman at a workshop I was leading in Spokane, and she related that she’d once been so engrossed in a mindfulness tape by Thich Nhat Hanh that she’d rear-ended a truck. It’s for that sort of reason that I’ve never acted on any of the suggestions various people have made over the years that I should record a CD about mindful driving.

Michele McDonald, however, is made of braver stuff, and with both hands firmly (but gently) on the wheel she set off to record guided meditations that help turn driving into a mindfulness practice. And she’s done … Read more »

“A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment,” by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

May 30, 2008

commuters guide to enlightenmentCollectively we’re spending longer and longer commuting: The average American takes around 30 minutes to get to work, and in large cities the drive can take much longer. In rural areas commuting can also eat up the miles and hours: I know two Buddhists in New England who each drive 1000 miles (1600km) per week.

It’s even worse in Europe; in my native UK the average commuting time is 45 minutes (although that’s more likely to be in some form of public transport).

Even without those extremes, commuting makes for a lot of time spent in cars, trains, buses, and even for some people airplanes. It’s not always pleasant time either; stop-go traffic is increasingly … Read more »

Meditation, too, is a good drive (Hindu)

January 8, 2007

Hindu.com: We are on the road, driving with the mind wandering to our office, home or elsewhere, but rarely do we drive in complete awareness.

Chennai: A car stops right in the middle of the busy Nageswara Road in front of the CHILDS Trust Hospital. The driver opens the door for the passengers to get off and slowly moves on.

Even before the signal turns green, a Toyota Qualis driver is honking madly at a scooterist in front of him at the Independence Day park roundabout. He wants the scooterist to beat the signal and move on.

On the busy stretch toward Nelson Manickam Road subway, a driver is moving at his own pace, … Read more »

Medicine for the mind (The Independent, UK)

October 27, 2003

Ian Robinson doesn’t mince his words when it comes to admitting his past failings. “I was a bugger for road rage,” he confesses. “I’d be driving along and someone would cut me up and I could kill.” Ian laughs at the admission. Other road users no longer wind him up. Their driving hasn’t changed – Ian has. The 44-year-old factory worker has discovered meditation.

Ian Robinson doesn’t mince his words when it comes to admitting his past failings. “I was a bugger for road rage,” he confesses. “I’d be driving along and someone would cut me up and I could kill.” Ian laughs at the admission. Other road users no longer wind him up. Their … Read more »