So you want to know how to meditate? What do you think about when you hear the word meditation? Monks sitting in full lotus? A calm spot where you are sitting with a cup of tea, the breeze light and warm, the Sun just coming over the horizon. Or, what about floating comfortably in an isolation tank–your mind the only landscape you see? All likely possibilities–but I bet you never thought you’d read the words rush hour traffic and meditation in the same sentence, did you?
Probably not, but today you will learn how to take your meditation practice to another level. You will learn how to meditate in traffic. Yes, I said it–in traffic.
What about the infamous road rage? A valid question. First realize that frustration and anger happen to you, they are not produced by you. These are emotions that cloud your mind; your emotions are not you. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are your anger, your frustration. They are emotions that you can control. When they arise in you, be alert, you must recognize their appearance. This will allow you to observe the emotion. Simply observe it. How is it affecting you? How are you different under anger’s influence? How is it affecting those around you?
By observing the emotion, you realize that it is not you, and you reject its power over you. It is also important that you realize that you create your own anger and frustration. Keep in mind that when you get angry, it is not someone else or something that makes you get angry–it is you.
You decide to become angry, frustrated, fearful, worried, then place the blame for your clouded mental state on something which you perceive as external to you. Something or someone made you angry. You think this relieves you of responsibility for your actions when you are angry or frustrated, but this is not true.
So first, you must banish your tendency to fall into road rage. Try this during your drive: decide that no one can provoke you into anger or frustration. No one. And decide that no matter what happens, you will see the other person’s view of it. Haven’t you ever done something ridiculous on the road? We all have.
So why single out the person who does something ridiculous on the road just because it happens to be in front of you? Don’t take it personally, that is all. Pretend that you are that person and that you just did that. How would you feel?
Okay, once you’re able to consistently keep yourself in a balanced state of mind throughout your drive, the next step is to imagine that you and your life are somehow interconnected with the people in the cars that are around you. You don’t have to imagine that all of you are journeying through life together—it’s true! No one is actually separate from everybody else. All the divisions we feel between ourselves and others—we create them, our mind imagines them. They are not real.
How to meditate in traffic: when you want to meditate during your drive, begin by relaxing your body, now I’m not talking about relaxing to the point where your body is unresponsive. I’m talking about the type of relaxation that actually allows your body to react quicker to things—where your muscles are relaxed, yet ready to contract at a moment’s notice if needed.
Now, start with the top of your head and feel the relaxation move through you all the way down to your toes. Sense each muscle relaxing as you work your way down. Relax your grip on the wheel. Your arms are not tense, nor your legs.
You should be fully aware and not the least bit dull, or sleepy. Your goal here is to clear your mind, to relax your body, so that you are aware of everything around you. Now, once you are able to do this reliably each time you try, the next thing is to perform a visualization that will help you realize the interconnectedness of everyone around you.
How to meditate by using Light meditation: Breathe in and as you do so, imagine that the Universal Energy is filling you up. See this Energy as Light. You are becoming brighter the more you inhale, bringing more and more Universal Energy into your being.
Now–as you exhale, imagine that this Light is streaming from your midsection, your navel, to one of the persons in the cars surrounding you as you drive. Visualize how it has a calming, beneficial, and healing effect on this person. Think: I wish this person the best, I sincerely hope they learn what they came to learn in this lifetime. Maintain the stream of Light in your mind’s eye. It doesn’t matter that you do not know this person. You actually do. They are You. You are Them. Everything is Interconnected, remember?
Once you’re able to hold this one stream of Light coming from you and going to this other driver, you can practice sending another stream of Light to another driver. Now hold both streams of Light in your mind. Your goal is to include everyone, all the drivers you can see, in your meditation. You will get to the point where in your mind’s eye you will actually see all the streams of Light you are sending out to all the drivers around you.
Now you know how to meditate in traffic, in theory. Try this meditation technique today (or tomorrow if rush hour is already over). It will change the way you experience driving in traffic–really, it will.
So you want to know