A rushed lifestyle

18 Apr 2012

If you could have seen me in the past, walking in a busy shopping street, I was the type of person who wormed my way through the crowds, trying to overtake everyone at all costs. On my bike I would invariably ride through every red light, shouting at the tourists walking on the bike path, while in the car I would step on the accelerator when the traffic lights turned orange. I had the persistent and annoying habit of wanting to cycle, walk and drive (too) fast.

I have often asked myself how it was possible that a fairly peaceable person like myself could turn in an instant into someone with a road rage problem!

Slowly but surely I realised that my haste was partly caused by the fact that I always left too late to arrive somewhere on time. But the main problem was that I was only concerned with reaching my destination as quickly as possible. Even worse, I inwardly and whole-heartedly cursed at anyone who dared to get in my way during my journey. So I was not ‘aware of the present moment’, did not actually see where I was or notice my surroundings, I did not really feel my body and was only interested in getting from A to B.

Nowadays I mostly leave on time, but even if I am a little on the late side, I usually manage to walk, cycle or drive calmly, courteously and with enjoyment (although I sometimes still have difficulty with this when driving, to be totally honest!). I feel the bike tyres touching the road, I see the houses passing from out of the corner of my eye and I let pedestrians cross first when I approach a zebra crossing. I don’t think about where I have to go, instead I am conscious of where I am in the present moment. When I succeed in doing this, I am suddenly and instantly free of the need to hurry, the worry about arriving too late and any other inner stress. As a result I let go of excessive muscular tension and my breathing becomes deeper. And actually this feels absolutely terrific!