Mindfulness Wrecked My Road Rage

From The Cushion To The Car Seat

Michael Ken

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*No bad drivers were (physically) harmed during the writing of this article.

It’s A Jungle Out There

While driving to work, I was listening to an Audible audio book by renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron. At the beginning of the lecture, she asked listeners to choose one area of their lives to focus on improving through meditation. At least that’s what I think she said. While her lecture was blaring on my car speakers, I had to slam on the brakes, abruptly slowing from 85 to 65 miles per hour, to avoid hitting some jackass who cut in front of me. About a year ago, I moved to a small rural town on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. Along with the relaxing benefits of living in a small town came a daily 45 minute commute into the city for work. Road rage. That’s what I need to work on, Pema.

The term “road rage” seems a little too aggressive to describe my driving. To me, rage denotes purposely smashing into someone’s car, running them off the road, and then getting out and showing them the business end of whatever makeshift weapon can be found. I never did that, however, to say I didn’t think about these things while running my mouth, yelling obscenities at the top of my lungs, and flailing my arms about the cabin of the car, well, that might have happened regularly.

Bad drivers come in all varieties, and honestly, I hated them all.

There are those drivers who tailgate you, even when you’re doing 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. Assholes. There are ones driving 45 in a 70. Assholes. Basically, anyone moving faster or slower than you is driving the wrong speed. Then, there are those drivers who change lanes with the sharpness of a Blue Angel demonstration pilot. Really? Oh, and those who weave in and out of lanes 15 times only to find themselves two cars in front of you at the next red light. Why?

My biggest road irritation problem is taking the exit to my workplace. It’s a popular exit, and every morning, there’s a long line of cars backed up waiting to move off the highway and onto the service road. Nobody wants to wait in this line, but we all do it because we are decent human beings…

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Michael Ken

My journal about life in the woods. Visit intothewoods.blog to see my complete journal, photographs, and articles.