Mindful Driving

In Chapter 9 ("Living Practice and the Divine Abodes") of their book Beginner's Guide to Insight Meditation Arianna Weisman and Jean Smith tell of a humorous-serious approach to practicing metta (lovingkindness) in heavy traffic:

I used to be at my worst driving a car. I was my nastiest, my least generous. When I saw someone waiting to make a turn from a side street, I would not stop but would continue to go on ahead. If there was someone on the sidewalk waiting to cross, my first impulse was to keep on driving through. If someone cut me off or was slow in front of me so that I missed a green light, I started to feel very nasty things about the people in that car. Quite simply, I was a horrible driver. So I took it as my challenge to become less horrible. I tried to practice being kind by saying the following phrases over and over again: "I give thanks for the gift that the Earth has given me in the form of fuel to go to where I need to go. I give thanks to the sky for being an umbrella for me. I hope that all these cars and all the people in front of me are free from danger. May the slow driver in front of me be free from harm. May our use of transportation come into balance. May my little car have a long life." I sent a lot of appreciation to my car for taking me where I needed to go. At the same time I connected to these phrases of kindness, I also reconnected with my body and my understanding that I was sitting and driving. This practice was hugely transforming. — AW

^z - 2012-03-30