Is it ok to meditate while driving? Driving is already an exercise in frustration, annoyance, and sometimes rage—but it doesn’t have to be. During a trip, though, you can pause and ponder where you’ve been and where you’re going, both literally and figuratively.
But where can you find the time to reflect meditate while driving, and how can you relax enough to do so? Read on to learn how to keep peace of mind while you travel.
Driving Meditation For A Safer and Happier Commuter…
Be Prepared To Meditate While Driving
You can’t have perfect peace of mind if you’re worrying about whether the car will make it to your destination and wondering where you can find toothpaste at 2 a.m. to replace the tube you forgot to pack. That’s why preparing your vehicle and route ahead of time is an essential safety tip for solo road trips. Make a list of supplies and pack accordingly, plan your itinerary (leaving room for relaxation breaks), make sure the car is ready for a long-distance drive, and then stop worrying. You’ve handled whatever life can throw at you before it’s even thrown it.
Accept Delays and Change During The Unexpected Events
One of the great things about understanding simple techniques to meditate while driving is the sense of the unexpected. It’s also one of the more nerve-wracking things about travel. You’re in a new environment, perhaps following a different schedule and certainly experiencing unfamiliar people, places, things, and ideas.
Embrace the novelty of it all rather than fretting about it. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, let it pass and discover instead how you can enrich yourself with the experience. Make little adjustments to offset potential obstacles. If you’re worried about traffic, leave earlier. If you’re stuck in traffic, see it as a time to contemplate your surroundings.
Make Rest Stops Meditation Breaks On Long Trips
Wherever you’re going, you’re sure to see plenty of natural wonders, or at least lovely parks and other public places that are conducive to meditation. Scope out safe areas to meditate in, then find a quiet, but not too out-of-the-way, spot to sit, close your eyes, and focus on the natural flow of your breathing. If you already have a process in place, use it. Then, after 15 minutes, go back to your car and drive refreshed.
So, Can You Meditate While Driving?
The answer is no and yes. Can you drive with your eyes closed, in a particular yoga stance, while barreling down the highway? No, people would frown upon that. It’s also dangerous. But can you practice and learn how to meditate using mindfulness behind the wheel? Absolutely. Driving is a meditative act where you’re already aware of your surroundings.
A driving meditation brings us to the present moment and allows us to experience life as it is, it makes us aware of what’s happening around us. How many times have you arrived home from work and not remembered the drive, autopilot kicks in and we just do? Our minds are somewhere else and our body just does what it’s used to doing. I would argue that driving on autopilot might be the unsafest form of transport known to man.
Practice your breathing and extend that awareness to different aspects of the journey. For example, you could focus on the sounds of the road, the feeling of the air rushing by, or the motions of the car. Are you still wondering how to keep peace of mind while you travel? You’ve already started.
The daily commute is a great opportunity to train the mind. And mindfulness, in essence, is just mind training. Learning how to focus your mind on driving, housework, you’ll enjoy “being in the zone” and feel much better no matter what you are trying to accomplish.
By using specific techniques, repeatedly, we train the mind in three specific areas:
1. To be more focused and better able to concentrate effectively with those around us at all times.
2. To experience more clarity in our thinking, problem-solving, and decision making, benefitting from better judgment; and to approach all of life with equanimity and much more peace, which results in a state of balance, then, we are able to “go with the flow” when a situation requires our full attention.
3.When your mind wanders, gently bring it back. Nobody masters mindfulness in a day: your mind WILL wander, but that’s ok. When it does, gently bring it back using the steps mentioned above.
Practicing simple mindful methods to meditate while driving can be a powerful antidote to different driving-related problems when they arise. As with any activity, being mindful while driving means first of all focusing attention on what we’re doing right now in each moment of concentration on a task.
There are many experiences that can anchor our attention using simple mindfulness techniques when we drive, such as:
- understanding and noticing what we see in front of us at all times
- feeling the small movements of the car as we drive
- being aware of physical sensations, like the feel of the steering wheel in our hands, the sound of the engine as you work your way through traffic
- sensing the movements we make to steer our car whether turning or just staying in our own lane
- hearing the sound of the tires on the road and the wind moving through the car as you drive
Present-focused attention in mindful driving is coupled with an attitude of nonjudgmental openness to the experience, just as it is. This openness while driving includes practicing acceptance of the things we can’t control, like the volume of traffic, whether we make a green light, the actions of other drivers, and so forth.
By practicing mindfulness throughout your commute, you can develop focus and create calm and relaxation, arriving at the office refreshed and ready for the day, and at the end of the day, arriving at home ready to enjoy the evening. Since we commute twice a day, it’s a powerful opportunity to form new habits.
To be clear, I’m not talking about “emptying your mind” or focusing on a single fixed point – both popular meditation techniques – while learning how to meditate while driving. I’m talking about mindfulness, which is all about being in the present moment. That, in fact, is the safest way to drive.