Mindful Driver | Distractions need not be so distracting
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Distractions need not be so distracting

Moving into the winter months in the UK it’s likely we’ll have some wet and windy weather. This may not make for the most ideal driving conditions as it becomes harder to see and adds more things to think about, sometimes in an already busy situation. The wipers wave about like an impatient child trying to get your attention and the wind buffers the car and hurries people across the road in front of you at the last moment. It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas shopping in the city centre where people are darting around and there is so much to see and take in! It can be overwhelming at times. What’s more, the busier things appear to get, the more inclined we are to rush. Like a vicious circle we feed off the rushing and breed more rushing. We can be so intent on getting to the other side, home for example, we, to some degree, forget that we’re responsible for this car, this drive, this moment.

So how do we filter through all these stimuli, trying their best to distract us from driving? How do we remain focused and present?

Distraction lives in the mind, and to access the mind we can focus on the body. This is not a new idea. Meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and the martial arts have all used the idea of body awareness to quiet and focus the mind for thousands of years, and we can do the same with driving. By becoming more aware of what we’re doing and how we drive we learn to focus more on controlling the car, an extension of our own body, and less on a future beyond this drive. This cultivates present moment awareness which bleeds into our observations of the ever changing situation outside the car. We begin to notice more softly, naturally filtering through the risks and taking things in our stride. We drive more slowly as we no longer need to be anywhere and realise that we are already where we want to be – in our car, in this moment. By shifting our attention into the present we realise that distractions need not be so distracting. They simply become part of our wonderfully diverse and dynamic World. A World that is happening around you, for you, because nobody, and I mean nobody, sees what you see.

Enjoy and embrace it.

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