Road Kindness: A Spiritual Manifesto
New York is a tough town to drive in. Last night, someone was jaywalking on 42nd Street and rather than allowing him to pass in front of me I sped past him. Maybe I was wrong. He certainly thought so. He approached my car and told me what bodily part I was. I calmly considered exiting my car to lecture him on etiquette but decided to let it go.
And, in a sense, he was right: I sincerely hope I am not a “***ing ***k” but I certainly could have been more considerate, and, hence, made the world a little better.
I believe there are spiritual principles of commuting, and I have been insufficiently attentive to them. I plan to reverse that thanks to my dark angel’s admonishment, and I invite you to join me.
Just Be Kinder. Everyone on the road has it tough. It’s sounder from ethical and karmic perspectives to give way, give in, slow down, and give humanity a break. It’s what I should’ve done. And will do.
Recite a Rosary. I am radically ecumenical. I say every kind of prayer, and draw no barriers around any practice. Memorize the Rosary prayer. It can be done without any kind of device. It is a meaningful way to pass 20 minutes in traffic.
Chant. I have a Buddhist friend who is overcoming an eating disorder. She is dedicated to the practice of chanting the first line of the Lotus Sutra, nam myoho renge kyo. This is a reformed Japanese version of the original Sanskrit. It translates loosely as: “I align myself to the cosmic law of cause and effect.” This chant is a very powerful practice. I chanted a half-hour in traffic for her victory. It meant something to me — and to her.
Prayer. A prayer can be said at any time, and for any length of time. The art of contemplative or unceasing prayer is a wonderful way to dedicate your commute.
Visualizing. Without taking your eyes and ears off the road, it is possible to dedicate your attention to the emotive mental and aural contemplation of a desired outcome. This is a potentially powerful practice that I expand on in my forthcoming book The Miracle Club.
Lectures. Audio books are always worthwhile but I take a special interest in listening to the lectures of Neville Goddard, Vernon Howard, and other modern mystical thinkers while on the road. You’re less likely to listen to a lecture at home or at work. The car is the perfect time for it.
Smile. When you make eye contact with other drivers, given them a nod, smile, or bit of encouragement. One time I saw a group of teenagers in car with a big chrome plate on it that said: “LOYALTY.” I gave them a thumb’s up; they were ecstatic.
Driving is wasted time if it doesn’t make us better. Carpe via.