Zen Driving

Have you ever wondered what the rush is all about when you’re driving? Everybody seems to be in a rush to go somewhere. Maybe they love their job so much that they can’t wait to get to work? OK, that’s pushing it. Maybe it’s the classic “My wife is in labor!” situation? Or maybe they’re running away from “bad guys” like in the movies? Seriously, what’s the rush all about? A lot of people drive like they’re on an obstacle course. And it seems to be a matter of life and death. Actually, it is – but not for the reasons you might think. More on that subject later.

Whatever happened to leaving home in plenty of time to get to where you want to go on time? Zigzagging and driving like your hair is on fire might get you to your destination a couple of minute faster – tops.  Is a minute or two worth stressing out like that? I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not. So if you’re one of the obstacle course drivers and you’re willing to consider alternatives to stressing out, I’d like to make you a few suggestions that can help you get to your destination in a more relaxed – if not Zen – state.

Let other drivers merge into your lane or go ahead of you (it won’t make you late for work, I promise). Give it a try. You’ll be surprised at how good that simple gesture of generosity will make you feel.

Stop arguing with the situation. Shouting or honking won’t make the traffic jam go away; it’ll only get you worked up even more. Just let go of the situation – you have no control over it anyway – and focus on your breath. Being able to breathe and be calm behind the wheel is a huge accomplishment. You will feel something shift inside you. Just watch what happens then!

Have compassion for other drivers. People who cut you off or give you the finger are in a worst state than you are. Think about it – if they were happy and content with their life, they wouldn’t act this way. And please don’t take it personally. They don’t even know you. They are just unhappy or miserable or maybe they didn’t get enough love when they were young. They need your compassion. See other drivers from this perspective and notice how it impacts your mood.

Next time you’re driving, try out my suggestions. And let me know what happened. I’d love to hear about it!

Sylvie Grégoire