On 23 October 2019, late in the evening, I was in a front passenger seat while my 17-year-old daughter on her learner licence took on a driver seat. I sit with my eyes wide open, breathing rhythmically through my nose, focused on anchoring my mind in the present moment. Silently, cognizing breath comes and leaves, fully aware of surroundings and route.
As we began to negotiate a right turn on the green light, halfway through the intersection, my eyes snap wide open. White colour small compact car storming at us head-on at 70km/h with less than milliseconds to respond. I first scrambled to gather my senses and in split second, I made some choices. Such as I squeeze my right-hand palm between my daughter’s head and steering, embracing my foot on the floor and left hand on the dashboard firmly, thinking of passengers in the other car, making a necessary call to ambulance, police, home, and office and most importantly help my daughter deal with her first accident just before the sound of collision that shook us and left other drivers, visibly shaken.
The white small compact car was beyond recognition, thankfully we had very little damage to our 4-wheel drive. immediately I attended my daughter, stepped out of the car to help other drivers, check on injuries, and made a call to authority. To my surprise, or a coincidence a tow truck arrived well before the ambulance and police. Immediately took responsibility and apologised generously for what has happened, exchanged licence details and fortunately no one was seriously hurt.
Thankfully my 25 plus years of meditation practice had finally proved to me that we can learn to stay calm during unexpected raging situations. At first, it may seem impossible but by training yourself to remain in the present moment, you train yourself to avoid unconscious thinking. This frees up a great deal of energy, in other words by anchoring the mind in the present moment I was able to avoid having unwanted clutter, allowing the brain to execute several thoughts in that moment with absolute clarity becoming more creative and effective to have more mental firepower left for planning, figuring out next steps, and solving problems.
It’s as if time and space for me to execute those important decisions in split-second had expanded or in other words, everything was unfolding in slow motion while the brain was functioning at normal speed. By being fully in the present moment, you can tap into a deeper intelligence within yourself.
Whether your commute is 15 minutes or hours, every day presents us with fulfilling experiences you can tap into along the way:
- We all share equal responsibility while driving on road so practice compassion.
- Good sitting posture can help you be more alert.
- Have you ever counted your breaths – the whole way.
- Leave a little early and avoid the stress of running late. Make it a habit.
- Scan your mirrors and road ahead for any hazards.
- Remember to smile.
- Exercise compassion toward other drivers – Avoid confrontation.
- Notice one detail you’ve never noticed before. Every day.
- Take 3 deep breaths, leave your problems behind the doors before you hit the driver’s seat.
- Practice being mindful of the present moment. Enjoy each second.
Enjoy Safe Driving!