Zen and the art of car trippingPosted: 2011/10/03
When I am driving I am often mentally transported. I don’t know if this overworked inner mind of mine is natural to everyone, or a product of my personality and repeated summers spent grounded to my room unable to leave it except for meals and to shower to pee for weeks and a weeks and weeks on end while my friends and people I would of liked to be my friends got to play and enjoy themselves. But I was lucky enough to have a bedroom that also served as the family library. It was wall to wall, floor to ceiling shelves of books along one whole wall. And that wasn’t the full extent of the books in our home. I was pretty much rendered unable to do anything but read and daydream. So I did just that.. a lot… It may also explain why sometimes I can be so easily deluded. But I do know it gave me a very rich imagination and a large ( and sometimes misused) vocabulary as well as the need for copious amounts of alone time. It’s funny the things that shape us and how isn’t it?
I love driving alone, specifically driving with the sunroof open, windows down, wind in my hair, music up loud. I’m blessed to live in a state I could choose to drive that way about 7-8 months out of the year. And so very lucky that after a cold and nasty spell that today was a PERFECT fall day for driving. When I get in the car and close the doors, choose the music and then back out of the garage, I am not just driving to work or to MNO or BGC. I am giving my mind a chance to relax and process. In order to actively work through things of the day, plans of the future, problems to solve. I need my mind to check out, go on a journey if you will, take a trip. I little mind trip. I have found that if I want the best answers and ideas then I need to stop ACTIVELY thinking about the topic and just allow myself to listen to God and/ or all the parts of me while waiting for the answer or a new perspective that changes the question or erases the need for it altogether to pop into my head. It’s kind of like the mental state I often achieve on a run, doing my best thinking and non-thinking all at once. If there was a closeness to God or meditation state of mind for me it would be in the Zen of my car, left to my own thoughts, only the music and the air and the scenery to guide me. There is something about the feel of the air swirling around my skin and whipping my curls all over the place. How the light is hitting the air and the trees, where the sun is in the sky or the moon and clouds in the night. It’s my own little mind trip. I have often felt God there in those spaces, places in between memories or overlaid onto the drive and the problem itself.
Sometimes while ensconced in that Zen state of pure driving joy and thoughtfulness a song will come on, or the air and light will be hitting me a certain way and it transports me to someplace else, some other time. It is always away from the problem or issue at hand. These memories weave me all over my past, spanning memories from early childhood to this mornings shower. I get to have a few minutes with my memory before I’m lead to the next one. If I’m really lucky I land on something that proves useful to the intent of my musings and allows for some gentle or vigorous untangling of the issue. But if not then I just enjoyed a really kick-ass drive and it still feels like a win to me. Just like the one I took today on the way home from work.