In an effort to spend more time in a day being MINDFUL of my emotions and stress levels I found the idea of Meditative Driving interesting.
Source: Solan McClean is a driving meditation practitioner, teacher, and the author of “Learning to Drive into the Now: PRND,” www.solanmcclean.com.
When I first started developing my driving practice I noticed that as soon as I sat in the driver’s seat, right in front of my face was a great tool to remind me of my practice and the important keys to staying on track. It is PRND. This usually stands for park, reverse, neutral, and drive, and is found on your dashboard, steering column, or perhaps on your center console gearshift.
I use it to remind myself of the some of the keys to action of my practice, and refer to it several times a trip—sometimes more! Here is my breakdown:
P is for PRACTICE
When I first sit down in the driver’s seat, I make it a point to look at the PRND on my dash. I focus on “P” for a moment and move my attention to awareness of my intention to practice mindful driving. In this way, I set my intention for the trip. I know from experience that I will have to reset this intention several times (if not more) on my drive.
R is for RELAX
After my intention is mentally set, I then move onto the next reminder on the dash console.”R” for relax. I scan my body for any tension points, and consciously release them. I take a deep breath and rescan until I am pretty sure I am as relaxed as I can get at the moment.
N is for NOW
Once I have focused my intention and relaxed my body, I bring my attention into the now. I observe my surroundings visually without mentally narrating what I see. I feel my hands on the steering wheel, and I hear the starting of the engine as I feel the turn of the key. I smell the air and feel its temperature on my nostrils. I do all of this while remaining relaxed, and keeping my focus on the unfolding moment.
D is for Drive
Everything we have done up to this point has been leading up to this moment—the moment when we put the car and our practice into drive. As your vehicle moves through space in the present moment, so do you. This is your time to focus all of your attention on the experience of driving and experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tactile sensations, smells, movements, stillness, and freedom of driving in the now.
Now, simply exists in the moment, like you are riding a wave. Don’t try to hang onto the space you’re in. Just surrender to the moment and drive. If thoughts arise, notice them and then bring your attention back to the present moment, and let the thoughts fade. Keep your attention in the now. It is this process of noticing distractions and letting them go, then returning to the present moment that is your practice.
If you start and restart, and restart again, you are developing a present moment mindfulness driving practice! Stick with it and you will see the results.