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Mindfulness in the car

Recently I’ve been a car passenger quite often, and I’d like to use these periods of time to practise some kind of mindfulness or contemplation.

As it is, I tend to do one of two things: either (a) practise mindfulness of the motion of the car and its effects on my body, while trying to maintain awareness of my breathing; or (b) visualize a crash in which I die, using this as an opportunity to relax and be at ease with my own impermanence. I generally visualize this from my own perspective first, with all the accompanying sensations, and afterwards from a more objective overhead perspective, or as an onlooker would see it.

—Thanks for bearing with this!—

I’d like to know, do any of you practise similar (or different) exercises in the car, either as a passenger or while driving?

And for bonus points, please rate my morbidity on a scale from “one” to “concerning” ;)

silver

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 28

    10 out of 10 for dumb visualisation ;)

    Breathing is OK - why not send metta to all the people you have not crashed into :p

    DhammaDragon
  • @lobster said:
    10 out of 10 for dumb visualisation ;)

    Do you think so? I find it oddly comforting (call me a weirdo). I think I took the idea from Thich Nhat Hanh.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I practice varying things quite often when I drive or ride. Different things in each case. I started doing it several years ago when I got tired of zoning out while driving and realizing I missed my turn. I teach my kids mindful driving as well. Being a passenger is hard for me, as I am a very aware driver and it drives me nuts to ride in a car with people who are still zoning out. My husband does that a lot and it makes me a wreck. We'll be driving in winter traffic and he'll be staring out the window oblivious that the 15 cars ahead of us all have their brake lights on. I'm the worst backseat driver on the planet, LOL.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @adamcrossley said:
    And for bonus points, please rate my morbidity on a scale from “one” to “concerning” ;)

    I think it reflection on death and how quickly and unexpectedly it can come lead to a greater appreciation of being alive. I often think when out for a walk about how a car behind me could accidentally swerve and take me out or something like that.

    I suppose whether it is healthy reflection or concerning probably has to do with the effect it has on you. Whether it is causing lots of anxiety and worry about possible but unlikely scenarios or gratitude for life and acceptance of uncertainty.

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran

    @adamcrossley said:
    I’d like to know, do any of you practise similar (or different) exercises in the car, either as a passenger or while driving?

    And for bonus points, please rate my morbidity on a scale from “one” to “concerning” ;)

    I've practice mindfulness of car accidents since I started driving. Decades later, I'm very mindful of my attention while driving and my distance from other cars. Accidents happen, but some "accidents" are lapses. When your hands are on the wheel, you should be mindful of accidents. When they're not, it's really, really hard not to be. Driving or riding, I keep my eyes well ahead, which makes all drivers appear to have unbelievably slow reflexes. So, when riding, I practice mindfulness of keeping my mouth shut. Mostly. Sometimes I just have to ask, "You do see that, right? Ok, sorry. Just checking."

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Snakeskin said, " So, when riding, I practice mindfulness of keeping my mouth shut. Mostly. Sometimes I just have to ask, "You do see that, right? Ok, sorry. Just checking."

    Well, at least you're a very polite back seat driver. :grin:

    Snakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 30

    Driving:
    I once attended, together with other people from my community, a 'Better Driving Course' run by our local constabulary. The first thing the officer said to us was "The people who really should be sitting here - aren't sitting here, because they mistakenly believe they don't need this course, they're all ready brilliant drivers....!" (Sarcastic look). "The people sitting here probably don't need to be sitting here - although I'm glad you are - because you're already conscious of the fact that there's no such thing as a 'perfect driver' and we could all do with a refresher course. So good on you, I hope what you learn this week and next, will be useful to you."

    There, I learnt a little Poem about distance-keeping:
    "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.
    When it starts to pour, increase it to four.
    When ice plays its tricks, increase it to six -
    And if fog makes you late? Yous should increase it to 8."

    My wonderful driving instructor also gave me two invaluable little snippets to remember:
    1: 'Never perform a manoeuvre that would necessitate another road user to take evasive action.'

    1. While sitting in a traffic jam, always leave enough of a gap so that you see the rear wheels of the car in front "sitting" on the front of your hood/bonnet. That means there's a good half-car's distance between you and them. If anyone shunts you up the rear, you should normally have enough time and space to apply the brakes and not hit the car in front. This means only one person's insurance will "suffer": Theirs.

    This, he added, is always assuming you're not at the back of the queue, and the guy behind you hits you at breakneck speed....

    Motorway pile-ups can usually be prevented if people adopt the little poem rules, and pay attention....

    dhammachickSnakeskin
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    First and foremost, don't get too close to the car in front of you when stalled. Your poor brain cells don't really need those poisons. And if you can find it in you, don't write off those who do come right up to your tailpipes; being judgmental is not spiritual. Time for metta —they're not hurting you, only themselves...

    The second thing that comes to my mind is overly impatient and unrealistic drivers —something bordering on road rage sometimes. One should consider the thought of those people abiding the 35 mph limit on a curve when someone coming around behind them at 50 mph blurts out some obscenity: He might try to cultivate the thought, "How lovely it is for these nice people to be able to get out of the house this evening and take in some of the town."

    Snakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It's possible - though unlikely - that @IronRabbit is actually my husband.
    Either that, or they had the same instructor...

    lobsterSnakeskinWonderingSeeker
  • Over-an-hour-each-way-commuter here. I sometimes use the drive to practice compassion, because traffic makes me feel the opposite of compassion... I guess hatred. Irritation. Impatience. Lots of unskillful stuff. So when someone cuts me off without checking their blind spot, I try to turn my unskillful thoughts about them around and wish them metta. May that dumbass driver be free from aversion and attachment. May that dumbass driver be filled with loving kindness. Etc.

    lobsterFosdickSnakeskinsilver
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    im ok safe driver.yes i do get annoyed if traffic is clog.but for the most part ,heighten awareness with dao luck.there was close call ones,like passing a red light,no accident happen when i wasnt paying attention--i dont know who to thank but dao.for the most part zen driving even though im not zen.

    Snakeskin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Who knows what as happened in the lives of others (including other drivers)....
    Some food for mindful thought...

    "The Cab Ride" ~Kent Nerburn~

    Plus this...

    Sixteen years ago I learned an important life lesson, in the back of a New York City taxi cab.

    I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.

    My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded,
    and missed the other car by mere inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was actually friendly!

    So, I asked him, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and could've sent us to the hospital!"

    And this is when my taxi driver told me about what I now call, "The Law of Garbage Trucks."

    "Many people are like Garbage Trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it, and if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. Instead, just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happier because you did."

    Wow. That really got me thinking about how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? AND, how often do I then take their garbage and spread it onto other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I resolved, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

    Since then, I have started to see Garbage Trucks everywhere. Just as the kid in the Sixth Sense movie said, "I see dead people," I can now say, "I see Garbage Trucks." :)

    I see the load they're carrying ... I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

    ~Original story, by David J. Pollay~

    lobsterTravellerSnakeskinTreeLuvr87
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