This week as I was out and about it seemed as though everyone on the road was experiencing chaos. I started thinking that as we go about our days, maintaining a calm attitude while driving is very often one of our most challenging activities ~ especially for those of us attempting to maintain inner peace in our lives.
The experience brought to mind a report I saw on television a few weeks ago indicating that research has proven that human beings in the grip of negative (and sometimes positive) emotions have exhibited a distraction level even more serious than those experienced by cell phone users or texting drivers. The report went on to say that such emotions can cause otherwise excellent drivers to: Experience impaired observation and reaction times, lose the ability to perform driving skills that require precise timing or other subtle skills, fail to recognize situations, such as an abrupt slowing of traffic or debris in the road, make risky maneuvers and changes, such as cutting across several lanes of traffic to take an off-ramp.
I’ve continued thinking about this and realize we drivers must create our own peace of mind to counteract the potential effects of reacting to the outside stimulus of our fellow travelers.
The place to start is before we get in our vehicles and onto the road ~ perhaps making a list of the things which irritate us as we drive. When we have written those things down and given them some rational thought, I think we will find that many of them lose their importance and some even make us feel a little foolish.
An example: Do we get upset when the light turns yellow just as approach the intersection? If so, maybe we could think of those lights as a part of the order of the Universe ~ there is a time to sleep, a time to eat, a time to work, and a time to play. There is also a time to stop and a time to go! Just think for a moment what chaos would reign if there were no stoplights! Play a little game with yourself and consider that you are a musician. The light is the director and together you create harmony at that corner.
Oops! You’re already ten minutes late, huh? Missing that green light is going to cost you another two minutes! I think we’ve all been in that situation, just as I think we all recognize the best solution is to start our journey early enough to allow for a few delays. The calm, organized person learns to avoid being late especially when considering all the ramifications it might create – losing a sale, missing a child’s important recital, making a poor impression at an interview. The report mentioned above also stressed that drivers who weave through traffic, lane to lane and back again, racing through yellow lights, careening around corners actually saves very little time for all those antics and … arrives at the destination nervous and exhausted. It makes perfectly good sense that if we start our journey ten minutes late we should expect to arrive ten minutes late!
And how about that slow moving truck? Most people become very anxious to pass the truck and if that isn’t a solution, their choice is to become upset. Remember, the truck driver is not a villain ~ s(he) is very likely hauling lumber to build a family’s home, delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to the market for you to enjoy, pulling a load of shiny new cars for people to enjoy. When we are able to rationalize the truck’s reason for being on “our” road it is much easier to release our resentment and have a feeling of friendliness toward the truck and driver.
And, of course, a tremendous obstacle to our peace of mind is the erratic behavior of other drivers. If we have to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a collision, it is easy to become angry. Guess what … now we have two irrational drivers on the road! With training, practice and determination we can mentally make peace with these encounters.
I have a dear friend who may have the best solution of all. She will tell everyone who rides with her that her car is “safe” and that it has been blessed. Each time she gets behind the wheel she asks everyone in the car for silence as she shares a prayer for Divine Guidance, the safety and enjoyable experience of all her passengers, for her ability to appropriately respond to any driving challenges encountered. In essence she allows herself to tap into her Source for peace, calmness and Divine Guidance to get everyone safely to the destination. A very wise woman, indeed!
Happy and Safe Travels to You!