Recently, I found myself without a radio in my car for three weeks. This meant no news-talk radio, traffic alerts, or Keertan (hymns). Not a problem, I thought. This would be a great time for introspection.
While I would start out great at the beginning of drives, I found myself more and more finding other things to do, from reciting and singing hymns (great) to doing play-by-play commentary for the drive (fun) to reading signs aloud in an announcers voice (great fun and practical).
About a week into it, I got some kind of virus/bacteria and nearly lost my voice. Actually, before losing it, it went down to nearly Barry White levels of bass, which was a lot of fun. My announcer voice practice came to a halt, and there was finally silence.
Perhaps, I thought, now I wouldn’t be able to distract myself. I decided that I would practice meditation on driving instead of introspection. It wasn’t easy, and still isn’t, but practice was paying off. The mind easily wanders, but the idea is to catch yourself drifting and gently bring yourself back to focus. With driving, it’s about focusing on all the things that are now second nature to us. It’s just like when we were learning: being aware of every signal given, every shoulder check, every push of the brake, only now it’s without the stress.
What’s the point? We concentrate on these things in the beginning so that we don’t have to later, don’t we? The answer is that it’s simply practice. It doesn’t have to be meditation while driving. It can be while you’re doing reasonably anything: washing dishes, sweeping the floor, anything. The idea is that you’re single-tasking. That’s all meditation really is. When you practice single-tasking on everyday things, then sitting down (or not) to clear your mind first thing in the morning (or whenever) becomes easier. The idea is to take it small step by small step. Silence really helps when starting out. Even though my car radio was replaced, I still turn it off sometimes to enjoy the silence.