For most of my driving life I have not been driving with presence. I have found that I do not enjoy driving at all, yet when I was behind the wheel of a car for the first time I found it fun. When I was first learning to drive, I remember being totally in the moment, present with my driving and aware of everything that was going on around me. My focus was always with what I was doing and there was a simplicity and a humbling joy of feeling the gentle movements of driving the car.
I remember that when I first started driving I never had any need to seek a ‘thrill’ while driving. I never needed (or wanted) to drive excessively fast or in an unsafe way (the standard speed limit of 50km/h was fast enough for me, let alone driving at 100 or 110km/h!).
Yet, over time, I have found that my driving has changed and I have not felt quite the same joy – and that my driving ethic had changed from when I first started to drive. I have been pondering what is behind this feeling and I realised:
- I am often not present with myself when I drive. I am usually thinking about the time or about what I need to do when I get there, but very rarely am I in the moment thinking about what I am doing. Sometimes I have been so distracted or checked out that when I arrive to my destination I hardly recall turning on the car, much less braking, accelerating and all the other things we do when we drive. At these times I would feel like a driving zombie!
- When I am not present when driving, it is actually very dangerous; not just for me but for other drivers as well. I have found that when driving over the many bumps and abrasions in the road, I often never even notice them until I actually feel myself driving over them! I then feel a pulse of anxiousness through my body as I feel that I was not prepared for driving over bumps. At times, I have found my driving seemingly very reckless with no real care for myself or my car at all!
- When I drive, it is seems easy at times to go over 100km/h without noticing. Have I detached so much from myself that now I am unaware of how fast I am driving? I have found that when I am needing to get somewhere, I have a feeling of enjoyment from being reckless and driving for the ‘thrill’ of going fast. Why do I now need this thrill when I didn’t before?
- I often reach for the stereo and listen to something. This was typically music but it could have been the radio, too. I can feel when I do this sometimes I am so away from the moment that the radio or music is just another way to escape when I am feeling stress or anxiety.
What if I could drive differently and be more present as I drive, and therefore actually enjoy being with myself while I am driving?
I have found that driving with presence is actually extremely fun and very nourishing for me and my body. By being with me in the moment (as I did when I was 15 and learning to drive), I have found that:
- Time and space seem to expand. There is a humble feeling of not needing to get anywhere. I am learning that if I do need to get somewhere on time, I need to make time, as a support for myself and my driving.
- I am no longer a zombie on the road but instead a lovely man who is totally enjoying the ride. It is surprising how much fun it can be to be with my body as I did when I was 15 and learning to drive. Now I want to be present in all of my driving so I am completely aware and remember all of the journey. I am going to drive me there and not the zombie! There is also no feeling of anxiety for driving too fast or driving over bumps, but instead one of joy as I am with my body and my car when I approach a bump… I am ready for it.
- The space and connection with myself I am creating as I drive is one that totally supports me for my day and what is ahead. There is no need to escape any more, for what could prepare me more for my day than being in my joy when I arrive?
- The space in the car is so still when I drive with conscious presence that I can feel the gentleness of my breath throughout my body. It becomes an amazing time to remind me of the gentle tender man I am and that the support and joy I need is found in that space.
The seemingly simple power of being in the moment and driving with presence for me is one of the best tools to enjoy life again. I have been inspired to live this connection again by the students of Universal Medicine and the forever inspiring work of Serge Benhayon, who have highlighted to me from their lives what simple joy can come from just being.
By Joshua Campbell (21), Living in Christchurch, NZ