Friday, January 7, 2011

Driving Meditation

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.


  1. Better resolve, and concentration - I'd say

  2. It is indeed a very useful practice for a time pressed and mobile generation.

    Gil once talked about how you should try driving for a few minutes and see what emotions and sensations arise as you negotiate traffic. Not least of which were the quality of your intentions towards your fellow road users!

    Perhaps you could build a little practice guide around this concept!

  3. Chris, thank you for adding mindfulness of emotions to the list!

    Once we are at it, we should also add vedana, awareness of overall feeling . . .

    My post was more about an account of what actually happened during that particular drive, not so much a review of all possible consciousness. I am sure at other times, emotions would come at the forefront of my awareness :)

  4. Right, now (chanting metta), happy. Overall - am better than before (when I was more deluded, each passing moment helps) am glad and happy:)