I have been doing a lot of driving back and forth to San Francisco lately. One hour each way, four days a week, have left me with plenty of opportunities for practice. I have tried before, but yesterday was a totally different experience, much more complete.
All senses engaged, I could feel the cold touch of hands against the steering wheel, and the persistent embrace of the seat around the thighs and upper body. Right leg was alive with subtle motions, pushing or lifting the foot. Meanwhile, left leg became sleepy. Shifting the attention to hearing, there were two loud sounds, of car breaking through the wind, and wheels hitting the asphalt, fast. Of course, seeing was engaged, although not all the time consciously. Other vehicles zipping by on each side, small cars ahead, all sorts of concrete structures, bridges, walls, buildings, and then the bay. And of course, the sky, kind of dull this time. Getting closer to the city, and slowing down with traffic, nose got into the scene, noticing at once the smell of banana peel, forgotten. And throughout the whole hour, thinking interrupting many times. Thinking about stories in need of more retelling, thinking about the day ahead . . . thinking redirected many times, back to awareness.
Driving meditation, a potentially rich practice for those of us with long commutes.